Retreating Should Be A Lifestyle

Life can easily get insane before we know it. Work piles up, homework piles up, housework is staring you in the face wondering “when are you going to clean me?” And yet, you are still trying to make sure you have time to take care of yourself and rest and recharge so you have the energy to keep up with life that sometimes feels like a runaway train. Been there, done that. Experienced that is more like it.

At a point in my life, I was attempting to go to school full time, work part time nights at the hospital, coach two separate soccer teams, and try to have time to take care of myself, which was nearly impossible. I ran myself into the ground quicker than I ever thought was possible. I felt like a failure. I had to drop some classes and give up my head coaching position. I was trying to do it all because hey, I was young, healthy, and should be able to function on little to no sleep right? I couldn’t have been more wrong about anything, no matter how much my grandparents would say it. 😂

I had always viewed self care as selfish as I have said before. Because who am I to take care of myself when so many people have it way worse than me. But then I realized that as much as that is true, I can be of no help to others if I don’t put on my oxygen mask first. To be able to help others, I had to realize and be okay with that fact, that taking care of myself was necessary.

Now, you might be wondering where I am going with all this. Last weekend, my discipleship group headed out on our winter retreat after being off for two weeks due to the holidays. We headed to a cottage on a lake of a family that was kind enough to host us for the weekend. I wasn’t entirely sure what the weekend would hold but that didn’t matter. I was with my family, my friends who I know have my back in more ways than one, and people I can count on. We have fun regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.

This retreat was a weekend to connect, worship, and just be with each other which I will never take for granted again (thanks 2020). A weekend to rest, recharge, and relax which I realize now is so important for not just physical health; but mental, spiritual, and emotional health.

Once we got there, we unloaded and found our sleeping arrangements for the weekend. Girls upstairs, guys downstairs. We settled into the common area/living room for a minute and then decided to head out for a walk around the lake. Thankfully it had warmed up considerably so it wasn’t as bad to be outside. To give you an idea, my face didn’t hurt when I walked outside. Michiganders will get my drift. 😉 We took some fun photos, held on for dear life so we didn’t slip and die on the sheets of pure ice, and soaked up some vitamin D as it was FINALLY sunny out! Once we got back, we had a little impromptu worship session (thanks Jake, Kyme, and Andy for having the musical talent when I have none!) while dinner was prepared by some pretty stellar women.

After we ate and watched our daily 7@7 prayer time, we broke off in gender groups and had great conversation on identity for 3 hours. A time which I would have been okay with if it had lasted all night. Before going to bed, we ended in prayer and hit the hay, tired but immensely at peace and satisfied.

On Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early for another 7@7 time of prayer, and a little worship session, before breakfast. That day held a lot of indoor activities as it was mighty cold. 9 degrees at 9am to be exact. My face really did hurt at that point. 😉 We played multiple rounds of card games, laughed, talked, made memories, and I even curled up on the floor in front of the heater to take a nap. Felt the most cat-like in my life. We played some ping pong as well before we decided to take a road trip to get lunch and adventure to M37 Meat Shack. It had warmed up a little bit, but man, is it colder the father you head up north. 🥶❄️☃️

Lunch was delicious at a little shop called Mr. Bibs. And of course, it couldn’t be complete without me dropping my lunch on the ground. 5 second rule is my life everyone. We took some more photos to commemorate the event, and then headed to the Meat Shack. I didn’t come home with any meat, and my husband probably shames me for that, but what a fun little adventure. ☺️

Once we got back, we just relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. We had a community nap time, where most of us slept for at least two hours. That might seem like a long time, but it was a good indicator that our bodies needed that time to rest up. Even on a retreat, it’s good to listen to your body. After we all groggily started waking up, we spent the rest of evening making and eating dinner, watching our 7@7, and then we had a scavenger hunt that our leaders so graciously put together for us. What a fun time of team work, laughs, and memories. Man, those things are stressful, but they are one of my favorite things to do. ☺️ Needless to say, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who slept well that night.

When we woke up in the morning, we had our 7@7 prayer time, ate some breakfast, and began cleaning up the cabin, and putting our stuff together to get loaded up. Our second retreat of the program, slowly came to an end. We worked together to get loaded up, but left the actual loading to the director of the program. We call him the Tetris master. He makes things fit in spaces that leaves me dumbfounded. 😂 After everything was loaded, we left to head back to church to make it to the second service of the morning. I rode back with the director’s wife and it was such a special time of connection. I gain so much inspiration and wisdom from her. We stopped for coffee (thanks Wildroast!), before making it back to the church.

This retreat was incredible. It was time to be together, in unity, worshipping the Lord in many different ways. It was a place where friends felt like family. A place where unity was normal. A place where laughter echoed more than tears.

Together is truly a beautiful word. In a world that lives off of destruction and opposing views where agreeing to disagree isn’t enough, we could come together and be unified as one body. One body surrendered to Christ, because at the end of the day, it is all about Him and not about us. Taking this time to relax and recharge with a unified body of believers, got me so fired up. Taking that time to rest and put the Lord above everything else, gives me so much more energy than if I tried to do everything on my own strength.

This time was beautiful. This time was sacred. It was a much needed reset as we begin 2021.

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