Times of Retreat

Perhaps it is because we are fast approaching the end of the calendar year? I don’t know about you, but I have a sudden urge to start planning ahead for next year. I have lists of personal goals for 2013, events that we need to schedule for church and stuff that I want to achieve before 2012 ends.

What has really struck me over the past couple of days, partly due to a blog I read by author, Sally Clarkson, is that God is really pressing me to have a time of personal retreat at the beginning of the year. A day to spend with Him and get His wisdom for the year ahead. Someone my husband listens to has been talking to him about planning times of daily, weekly, monthly and annual retreat recently.

Actually we are quite good (deliberate) about taking time for marriage retreat. We like to get away for two nights 2 or three times a year to be able to rest and receive from God, and also to be a blessing to each other. As church leaders there is always another legitimate demand on our time that we can surrender to on top of our own family life and goals, so getting some ‘away time’ to remind each other that they are still the most important person in the world to us, is vital. When we celebrate anniversaries that end in a 5 or a zero we do something extra special. 5 was Coombe Abbey Hotel; 10 we went to Tuscany, Italy for the first time and; 15 we had a week to ourselves in a Portuguese villa with a private pool.

We also have a habit of praying on New Year’s Eve about the year ahead. Giving God those first few minutes of the new year is an attempt to set our priorities right. We want to hear from Him first and foremost and He is faithful to speak to us in those times, often words, the significance of which, we don’t realise until much further into the year. Jesus comes first, all else is subservient to His will for our lives (well, that’s our objective anyway!)

But when it comes to personal times of retreat I’m not so deliberate, and that is what the Lord is encouraging me in. He wants me to be the best person I can be, and that only comes from receiving His blueprint, and building accordingly. So today I’m thinking about where to go for a day at the beginning of the year, not too far away, private & comfortable to hear words of wisdom from my Father.

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