There is a difference between Rest and Retreat. Both are valuable, both help us to feel refueled, and both will bring peace. Equally important, but for different reasons and purposes.
Resting is when we shed the world, quiet our bodies, and allow them to be still. Whether it’s sitting in our favorite chair, reading a good book, or sliding into the comfort of our bed for a night of sleep; rest is something our bodies need. God, spent six days on His creation… not missing a single detail, on the seventh day He rested. Then in His wisdom, He called His people to rest on the seventh day, remembering the Sabbath and keeping it Holy. He knew that His people needed rest.
Rest is good for our bodies, it is where our bodies repair and our minds find reprieve. If I am going too hard, too fast, I can’t find moments to be still in God. When I fail to create margin in my life, I become stressed and overwhelmed. All of which affect our bodies, minds, and emotions negatively. We burn out. This is why Moses’ Father-in-Law came to him and advises him to find men who could help him with the little things, otherwise leading the nation would be too much. We were never mean to carry our burdens alone.
As ministry leaders, rest is something we need to factor into our schedule. It isn’t wise to jam pack the year full of one big activity after another. You will burn out yourself, your team, and even the women you serve. Follow larger events with something more simple, plan rest. We also want to make sure we are not stacking up highly emotional events on top of one another. We need to allow our women time to recuperate their minds and hearts. When we plan women’s retreats and conference trips, we need to make sure that we schedule in times of rest where the women can breathe and process what they have been learning. Not planning events into the late evening and then expecting the women to be up bright and early the next day. Rest is important, and we need to include it in our plan.
Rest is very passive, you are moving from action to stillness. Retreating is different because it is active… when we retreat we are moving from one thing to another. In it’s base definition, retreating is leaving danger for safety. The Scriptures refer to God as our rock, refuge, shelter, fortress, and protector. We retreat from the fallen world into the safety of God.
We may retreat into God daily through reading the Bible, praying, or doing studies. It could be stepping away from the hustle and bustle of your day, and popping by the beach or going for a hike to connect with God’s in a slower pace. Retreat is something that is reactive. When we feel pressure, or the world closing in on us, our natural response is to flee from it. But, retreat is also something that can be purposeful.
We can plan retreat time into our day, by carving out a set time that we connect with God directly and intentionally. Or, it can be particular day set aside each month where you chose to immerse yourself in Him. For some of us, we could accomplish this in our homes. However, that isn’t always possible (depending on your home circumstances) and you may find it is better to actually plan a day or weekend away. In Letitia Suk’s book, Getaways with God, she shares her own experiences of Personal Retreats and outlines various options for planning your own personal retreat.
I’ve never taken a personal retreat for myself. This past year, I was arriving to a conference a day early and trying to determine what to do with my time. Shortly before the trip, I had read Getaways with God, and decided this was a perfect opportunity to have a mini personal retreat. Once pulled away from my normal life, distraction free, I was able to really take a look at myself and life. During this time God revealed things that I was ignoring and needed to address. I was able to unload a lot of things, as I journaled and prayed. I was emptied of all the junk I had been carrying around, and that left me ready to receive and filled back up by the speakers at the conference. ~Gena McCown
As Ministry Leaders, we need to encourage our women to retreat into God on a regular basis. When planning Women’s Retreats for your church, find the balance between giving her time to rest but also intentionally retreating into God. Something to consider:
- Set the Standard: Model for the women in your church the importance of scheduling both rest and retreat into your life. Share how this benefits you, and encourage these habits in others.
- Schedule in Rest: When planning events, make sure to give your team and women rest after. When heading off to large conferences, consider adding an extra day before or after to allow the women to rest. When planning your own Women’s Retreat, be sure to not overschedule the women. Give them opportunities to have a good night of sleep and downtime throughout the weekend to rest, or pull away and spend one on one time with God.
- Team Retreats: When planning your ministry year, considering pulling away and retreating together into God. A Team Retreat that pulls our focus off the world and into the Kingdom, can help us build a ministry calendar that reflects God’s heart and vision for the ministry direction over our own or influenced by others.
The holidays are always full of activities and our schedules are jam packed with things to do. In the spirit of Rest & Retreat, and in thanks to Kregel Publications, we reserved one copy of Letitia Suk’s book for an online giveaway! Couldn’t we all use some alone time with God? Maybe we are not sure what that looks like? Getaways with God includes samples schedules for retreats, ideas on what to pack, and more.
- Comment on this article, our Facebook page, or mention us on Social Media
- Use the Hashtags: #GetawaysWithGod and #WoMinCouncil
- One entry per comment, you have unlimited opportunities to enter!
- All comments/entries must be made by 11:59pm EST on 12/4/2017
- One random entry will win a copy of Letitia Suk’s book Getaways with God, 2018 Calendar, and Journal.
- Winner announced 10am EST on 12/5/2017