7 Habits That Promote Soul Rest: Personal Retreat

Jesus invites you- Come away by yourself. Get away from the busyness. Spend time in My presence and rest in my care.

I could hardly wait to get there. My bag was packed with my Bible, journal, and pen. I placed it in the trunk of my car along with a lawn chair and a water bottle.

I drove to a park near my home. After setting up my chair in a spot under a shady tree with a view of the lake, I opened my Bible to read and opened my heart to receive God’s Word.

It was my morning for a personal spiritual retreat.

When my soul is worn thin and my spirit feels overwhelmed, I know it’s time to take a break with God. To sit quietly in His presence. To sink deep into His Word. To pour out my soul and receive His peace and rest.

7 HABITS #7Too often I ignore my heart’s cries for rest. I push through soul weariness, meeting my obligations, accomplishing necessary tasks. Taking time for a spiritual retreat seems to go against our culture’s value of accomplishment and achievement. Sitting quietly with the Savior doesn’t produce anything I can write on a resume.

But a personal retreat opens my heart to the Father’s care. The Spirit renews my soul. I come away refreshed. I can come back to my real world with its schedules and obligations with renewed strength and peace.

Jesus told His disciples, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). He knew they needed to get away from the crowds, the noise, the responsibilities.

Jesus offers us the same invitation to us, “Come away by yourself. Get away from the busyness, the hurry, the pressing obligations. Spend time in My presence. Rest in my care.”

Jesus says: Come away by yourself. Get away from the busyness. Spend time in My presence and rest in my care. Click To Tweet

You might be wondering: What do you do during a personal spiritual retreat?

Here’s my process. I read God’s Word and journal what I hear God speaking to me. I pour out my struggles, asking God to make sense out of everything. I get out my schedule and to-do list and pray for God to give me His perspective, His priorities. I spend time resting in God’s love for me.

Here are a couple more ideas for your spiritual retreat:

  • Meditate on the Bible story in John 8:1–11. Imagine yourself in the story. Hear the sounds, smell the smells. Look at Jesus. What does your heart experience in meeting Jesus in this story?
  • Dream. Write down your most extravagant dreams for your life. Ask God to show you if they are in line with His will.
  • Create a photo journal. Take a walk in nature and snap photos of things that remind you of God. Later, create a slide show or photo book of the photos with captions of prayers of thanksgiving.

If you would like more ideas like these, sign up to receive my Soul Spa Kit. Just enter your email address and name in the form in the upper right-hand corner.

May God bless you as You seek Him and rest in His love.

Next step: Look at your calendar and pick a three-hour block of time (or more) for a spiritual retreat. Pack up your Bible and journal and enjoy an extended time with the Savior.

7 Habits That Promote Soul Rest: Prayer Journaling

in the morning I lay my requests before and wait expectantly.

When my mind is filled with confusion and agitation, when my heart is filled with anxiety or disappointment, there is one habit that I turn to again and again: prayer journaling. Pouring out my soul to God on paper untangles my thoughts and connects with the Father who calms my soul. Why journal my prayers […]

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7 Habits That Promote Soul Rest: Sabbath

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For years, I struggled with the idea of Sabbath. I knew the commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). But as a pastor’s wife and church musician remembering the Sabbath day meant getting up early, going to church, playing the piano or organ, and rehearsing with the praise team or choir. […]

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7 Habits That Promote Soul Rest: One Thing

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I have long suffered from the syndrome of TTDIA–Trying To Do It All. My calendar is filled with activities. My planner is stuffed with unmet goals. I try to pack more and more into each day only to realize when it’s time to go to bed that I haven’t accomplished even half of what I […]

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7 Habits That Promote Soul Rest: Perpetual Prayer

7 HABITS #3

This post is part 4 in my series on 7 Habits that Promote Soul Rest. Click to read Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3. Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 The first time I read Paul’s command in 1 Thessalonians I was incredulous. I mean, how could you possible pray all the time? Life […]

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7 Habits That Promote Soul Rest: Gratitude

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A few years ago I was part of women’s Bible study group in another church. As part of the study book we were doing, we were all encouraged to keep a gratitude journal. Every day for a week we were instructed to write down at least three things we were thankful for. One of the […]

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7 Habits That Promote Soul Rest: Daily Meeting with God

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My dad loved meetings. And that was a good thing because he needed to attend a lot of them. After retiring from his job as a radio station sales manager, he ran for city council and won. In the city he lived in, it wasn’t a full-time job, but it involved a lot of council […]

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7 Habits That Promote Soul Rest

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I started a new habit this week: brushing my teeth while standing on one leg. It looks silly, but the idea is to improve my balance. I heard about this practice from the book Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, by Gretchen Rubin. Rubin is one of my favorite secular authors […]

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Three Things I Wish I’d Known When I Was Waiting

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Are you sitting in one of life’s waiting rooms? Waiting for Mr. Right? For a child? For a new job? I’ve been there too. And I have to admit, I didn’t wait well. I complained. I griped. I made sure God knew that I didn’t like the way things were going. But I’ve been learning […]

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Maundy Thursday: The Dark Before the Dawn

Easter is almost here. But before we get to the joyful celebration of Resurrection Sunday, we need to go through the darkness of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. One of my favorite passages in the Bible tells us what Jesus talked about to His disciples on the night before He went to the cross. John’s […]

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