Dacha is one of my favorite words.
It’s Russian and I was introduced to it in the town of Istra, Russia in January 2012 while speaking on the topics of rest and retreat at a conference for Christian camp leaders.
Dacha is a ‘getaway’ cottage—a place of retreat. The use of this word makes faces light up and eyes dance.
What word makes your eyes dance? Lightens your load?
I pray it might become the word retreat.
Here’s a Few Things I’ve Learned
- Retreat is the pursuit of God off the beaten path. It can take place in a single, solitary hour. Or it can span many hours, many days. Many miss the glorious gift of retreat because they fail to recognize the value of a single, solitary hour. Good things come in small packages.
- Retreat can take place while coursing down the highway at 70 mph. It can take place sitting on a park bench, in public or in private, on the beach, in a coffee shop, in the woods, on a roof, in a boat, in your favorite chair at home.
- You can “retreat” with a friend or a small group. The solitary nature of retreat prevents many people from engaging, but it’s an unnecessary roadblock. Jesus’ retreat time often included others (Matthew 17:1, Luke 22:39-41). Enjoy the camaraderie of traveling together and shared meals, but go your separate ways for times of rest, reflection, prayer, exploration, study.
- Retreat will include things that allow you to tap into the deep resources of God. But recognize the value of rest and recreation. Take time to unwind. For some that may require many hours. Most of us are wound tighter than a top. Feast. Nap. Hike. If you’re at a retreat center take time to boat, read, fish, star gaze or shoot some hoops. Allow it to be a day of delight.
- Retreat demands an open heart. Don’t come with great expectations. You might leave disappointed. Come with a surrendered heart intent on the desire, “Find rest, O, my soul in God alone.” (Psalm 62:5) Your cup will overflow.
Food For Thought
- When planning a personal retreat, ask a friend to join you. As the day draws near and the stress of life mounts, it is easy to renege, but much harder if you’ve invited a friend. Enjoy your time together, but prioritize a significant portion of your time for God.
- If you’re looking for a retreat center, check out Christian Camp and Conference Association. Many camps and retreat centers don’t have a formal personal retreat ministry, but most will open their doors and put out the welcome mat. www.ccca.org
- Allow ‘retreat’ to become an intentional rhythm, an offensive, strategic priority in your life. Commit to a time of retreat once a year, once a season, once a month. Tie your retreat experience to a yearly event: your birthday, your favorite month of the year, Labor Day, New Year’s Day.
Pick a date and a manageable time frame.
Consider a favorite place.
Childcare? Tag team or divide and conquer!
Finally? Listen well to the One who calls to your heart.
“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31
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God’s richest blessings.