Life is too hectic, and you need a break from it all. You know the only way to get that much needed break is to spend time with the Lord, but you can’t seem to fit Him into your busy schedule. Your church youth group schedules retreats throughout the year, but they never seem to work with your schedule. You want to do the summer mission trip, but you have another commitment. You’re able to make it to church every Sunday, but youth group and Bible Study are hit and miss.
How do you get away from it all when you know you need to stay home and take care of other responsibilities? Create your own retreat! It’s not too hard to make your own spiritual retreat, it only takes a little bit of planning and organization. It’s something you can do whenever you need a little rest from the demands of the world, so the timing is flexible and can work entirely around your schedule. Here are nine tips to help you generate a relaxing and effective spiritual retreat:
Designate a Significant Time
Give yourself at least one full day for a retreat. A weekend is even better, but a full week isn’t always necessary. Mark your retreat in your calendar and work your schedule around that time; otherwise you won’t gain the necessary benefits.
Clear Your Schedule
Don’t let a last-minute text to go to the movies with your friends distract you from your intentions to take a break. Get your homework done before your retreat starts so you don’t feel the temptation or pressure to work on school assignments instead of spending time with God.
Turn off your phone, don’t check social media or email, put away your computer and refrain from watching TV. The world will continue on without you, but you can catch up after you’ve spent time with God. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by trivial information, there’s freedom in NOT knowing. God’s wisdom surpasses all knowledge of the world.
Dig into the Word Morning, Noon and Night
Read scripture, then feel free to dig into a devotional, book and journal about what God is doing in your life. Do a study once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once between dinner and bedtime. Your nose doesn’t need to be in the Bible your entire retreat, but you do need to return to God’s word throughout your retreat.
In Between Bible Readings
Continue to reflect on God between Bible readings by listening to worship music, taking a nap (yes this can help you focus on God), drawing, journaling, writing, playing games, memorizing scripture, spending time in silence, praying, or taking a hike. (Physical activity connects you with your body, releases stress and clears your mind. So, do some physical activity, preferably outside where you can enjoy God’s nature and get some fresh air.)
Invite a friend
The Bible says whenever two or more are gathered, God is in the midst (Matthew 18:20). He will be there if you decide to do your retreat alone, but His presence may be more palpable if someone else is sharing in this time of rest. By having a friend available, God may speak to you through that other person. Or, you may have the opportunity to speak about God’s love to her. Either way is totally awesome!
Allow yourself to take a bath, give yourself a massage and eat some chocolate, ice cream or your favorite dessert. Really indulge. Don’t count catching up on your favorite TV show as an indulgence. Do something you rarely do as an honor to yourself and to God.
Don’t get upset if your plans are thwarted. Satan will attempt to keep you from your retreat, so be prepared to fight back. But keep in mind that a change of direction may be God expressing that He has different intentions for your time with Him. Before you start your retreat, ask God what He desires out of your time together. You may want to journal, but He may want you to simply read His Word. You may want to go through a devotional, but He may speak to you via silence. Give Him the authority to lead your retreat.
Early to Bed
Plan on an early bedtime, even if you aren’t able to sleep right away, enjoy reading in bed, praying or thanking God for the time He’s given you to do this retreat. Then simply rest in His presence.
Tell us how your retreat experience went! What tips did you use, and what advice can you share with other readers? We want to hear from you, so message us on Facebook, or hashtag #nineChristianMagazine.