Last time we talked about running away for some quality alone time with Jesus. Any of these ideas can be adapted to fit your schedule, whether you manage to carve out three days, one day, or only a few hours…
“Past, Present, and Future” Retreat
Break up your time into three segments. During the first segment, think about your childhood or recent past. Are there people you need to forgive? Are there people you need to ask forgiveness of? Take time to write letters to those people, clearing your conscience and speaking a blessing over them. Next, examine your present. Make a list of how you spend your time each day and see if you are investing in your true priorities or simply putting out fires day by day. Ask God to show you how to restructure your time each day to accomplish those things and invest in those relationships most important to you. Finally, focus on your future. What are your ultimate goals in life spiritually, relationally, professionally and/or financially? Ask God to show you how to meet those goals and how to become the best steward possible of the precious time He’s blessed us with here on earth.
What do you enjoy doing most? Painting? Reading? Writing? Make some time to do just that alone with God. Whatever it is, pack up your tools or books or whatever you’ll need and run away. Paint with passion, dedicating your masterpiece to the glory of God. Take a good Christian living or Christian fiction book and read voraciously without apology. Take a huge stack of index cards to jot down ideas and a laptop computer. Seek His direction and brainstorm things you could creatively write about that would glorify God.
“Prayer, Praise, and Pampering” Retreat
Too often we try to sit in His presence at 6 A.M., half-awake in our nightgowns, feeling anything but glamorous and passionate. Remember the painstaking process of getting ready for a hot date with that someone special? A process that we only wish we had time for in these “got to get myself and everyone else ready in forty-five minutes or less” days? Make time for a spiritual spa weekend. Take all of your favorite bath-and-beauty products and pamper yourself to go before the King. You’ll be amazed at how, when you feel pretty on the outside, passion flows freely from the inside. Your heart of worship will soar and you won’t want to stop talking with God, just like you
could have conversed all night with that special date long ago. Although God certainly loves us even with unshaven legs, no makeup, and a bed-head hairdo, He also deserves to occasionally have His princess sit at His feet while she is looking and feeling her best.
Many women have such a burden for others, but the burden of a busy schedule keeps us from praying until we feel a peace for those individuals. Take your Bible, your address book, some pretty stationery, and a pen and run away for an extended time of intercession. Pray for those you are closest to and anyone else that God lays on your heart. Ask God to give you a special scripture to pass on to those individuals that you care so much about and write it in a sweet note to them. Whether I am struggling, striving, surviving, or succeeding, it feels so good to get a note from a friend or family member saying, “You’ve been on my heart and I am praying for you.” It feels even better to be the one to brighten someone else’s day with such a note.
“Thanks for the Memories” Retreat
Of all the gifts God gives us in life, are there any we cherish more than fond memories of special occasions with family and friends? I’ve often thought, “Even if my house burns to the ground and I lose everything, I’ll still have my memories.” My next thought is usually, “And if I ever smell smoke, I’m grabbing my photo albums first!” Invest in a nice scrapbook, some creative-patterned scissors, and some colorful, acid-free paper and pens. Gather up all those pictures you have tossed into a box over the years and go on this “Thanks for the Memories” retreat with a grateful heart for all the wonderful people in your life and for all the fond moments you’ve shared. Give thanks to God for each and every photo in your album and pray a special blessing on each face that adorns your pages.
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Excerpted from Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved. Published by WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.