What comes to mind when you hear the word “retreat”? For some, it might mean to surrender or withdraw from enemy forces as a result of their superior power; to fall back, pull back and sound the bugle of retreat.
If you were to talk to someone in a church setting, they might think of going on a men’s or women’s retreat. In a corporate setting, it might be a team-building retreat. Some of the girls in the office might go on a spa retreat.
The common theme here is getting away. I truly understand the retreat in a war situation; sometimes that’s your only option. The other retreats I see as getting away from the routine task or monotony of the day-to-day — potential chances to relax, hang with friends, meet new friends and have fun. Can you say, Ahhhh?
Too many times throughout the year, we fight through the hustle and bustle, project deadlines and meeting the demands of our jobs. Now, add your personal life into the equation; what’s left?
Have you ever considered the benefits of a personal planning retreat? I’m not talking about leaving everyone behind to go on your own personal vacation; I’m talking about getting away to plan, reflect, pray and be quiet. No interruptions, no TV, no radio, no internet, no phone, and no outside distractions. (Oh my gosh! I don’t know what I would do.)
Start out small
I recommend starting out with a one-day retreat. You might know someone with a cabin or RV you could use, or a room at a hotel — just someplace you can go without being distracted. Bring your bible, a journal; pack a lunch and some walking shoes. Start out with a time of prayer and reflection, and just slow down your breathing. Write down your thoughts, take a break, take a walk, and relax. The goal here isn’t to solve world hunger; the goal is to slow down and clear your head so you see more clearly.
In the hustle and bustle, we tend to see what’s right in front of us. When we clear our mind of all those other distractions, we start to use our imagination and see things differently.
Not only is this good for the mind, it’s also good for your overall health. Now, over time, you might want to expand on these retreats. You might do two days, or even up to five. Make sure you have a plan about what you want to accomplish on your extended time away. Build in the time to pray, relax, listen and journal. Draft a plan for both your personal life and work for the next 12 months. If you don’t have a plan, someone else will plan it for you.
This isn’t just a retreat; it’s a treat you need so you don’t have to retreat.
Mike Klockenbrink is chief of staff at Lakeside Church in Folsom, CA. Mike worked for W.W. Grainger Industrial Supply for 16 years in many different capacities. In January 2000, Mike quit climbing the corporate ladder and started climbing the Kingdom ladder. Klockenbrink can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.