Guest post from Jamie of From His Presence
Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Do you wish you could get away from the rat race, and get your life back on track?
I usually feel that way a few times each year. However, I have found something that makes me feel better every time — taking a personal retreat.
A personal retreat is a time you set aside when you can just be alone. It doesn’t have to be costly or adventurous; you could retreat to a local park or your spare bedroom. It doesn’t even have to be long; just a few hours alone can make a huge difference.
The key to an effective personal retreat is simply to get away from your routine. Once you’re away, amazing things can happen!
Here are three ways to get the most out of your personal retreat:
Go somewhere peaceful and beautiful. Take time to rest, and let the beauty of your surroundings wash the stress away.
If you can, I encourage you to go somewhere outdoors. There’s something about nature that will lift your spirits! Find a quiet spot at a nearby park, forest, riverbank, or beach. (If you have to stay inside, make sure you go to a clean room, so you won’t think about the work you need to do the whole time!)
In October 2012, when I was considering starting my blog, I was desperate for some time to think and pray. So, my husband and I drove to the nearby Smoky Mountains National Park for a one-night camping trip. After a good night’s sleep, he went sightseeing so I could be alone.
The first thing I did was to go for a walk around the campground. The autumn leaves were at peak color. As I soaked in the peace and quiet of the woods, nature’s beauty brought healing to my frazzled soul. I felt like a new person by the time I finished that 30-minute walk.
Whether your beautiful spot is a spare bedroom, the woods, or the beach, going to a place where you can be refreshed by your surroundings will make all the difference.
After you feel rested, use your personal retreat to honestly evaluate what’s going well in your life, and what’s not.
Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself:
- “What are some things I’ve succeeded in recently?” (Celebrate these!)
- “Do I like the way my life looks right now? If not, what needs to change?”
- “Do I have a dream I need to get started on—whether in big steps or in baby steps?”
Revamping requires an honest appraisal of where you are and where you’d like to be.
Before my personal retreat in October 2012, I felt like I was about to start a new season in life, but I didn’t know what that new season would look like. I had ideas, but no real sense of direction.
However, as I prayed, journaled, and even cried in my tent that day :), all my thoughts seemed to come together in one direction: writing and blogging. I knew that blogging would be a giant leap for me. Nevertheless, I also knew that my dream of writing and speaking would never happen if I didn’t take action. It was time to revamp some things so I could chase my dream.
You may need to revamp some things in order to chase your dream, too. So go ahead and identify the changes you need to make to get your life on track. Decide how to make those changes. You might have to be courageous, but it will be worth it!
After you refresh and revamp, use your personal retreat to pump yourself up for the future.
- Envision what you want the next 3-6 months of your life to look like. Write your vision down.
- Set specific goals. Write them down.
- Brainstorm ideas related to your vision. (Don’t critique your ideas; just let yourself dream!)
Getting specific with your dreams and goals will motivate and inspire you like nothing else can.
A personal retreat is an opportunity for you to break with your past and design your future. If you are worn out, and dream of something better, I encourage you to take a retreat as soon as you can. Get refreshed. Revamp. Re-energize. No matter how simple your retreat is, it will help you prepare for the next season of your life.
Have you ever taken a personal retreat?
Jamie Rohrbaugh is a wife, financial analyst, Sunday School teacher, musician, and unlikely worship leader from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her passion is to encourage and equip people to live powerful lives and to function in their gifts. She blogs at From His Presence about how to live ordinary life in God’s manifest presence.