In the past, I’ve written about the importance of rest, and practically implementing that into our daily rhythyms. It can feel like laziness at times, but sometimes life calls for a break from our everyday routines. I’ve found it beneficial to take personal retreats periodically. Change up my scenery, remove the distractions, and pull my focus back where it belongs.
Several years ago, I booked an Airbnb very close to my house and spent a few days writing, thinking, praying. And before I come off as super spiritual, I also did a lot of sleeping and watching TV. Even the not-so-spiritual can help contribute to rest!
This past week I was blessed with three whole days of retreat. I packed leggings and sweatshirts, grabbed my computer and reading materials, and headed to my sis&bro-in-law’s lake house in Western KY. It’s a great place to relax, even when it’s chilly outside. (See the end of this article for a link to their Airbnb listing.)
So what does a personal retreat for Kala look like? First off, it’s just me. I love my husband and the huge personality that God uses for His glory, but this quieter introvert doesn’t mind a little break. This retreat allows for stillness, where all I hear is the refrigerator buzz. Brandon would be climbing the walls! I did bring my dog with me, though. Lyla basically sleeps all day anyway.
I had some things I want to get accomplished, but I’m careful to keep the list short. I’m a pass/fail kind of girl, so it’s important that I set realistic goals for myself.
I made some plans for the upcoming year, but it was important for me to establish a ‘mission statement’ for these goals. Otherwise, it’d just be a smattering of unrelated self improvement ideas. So I grabbed a pen and paper and started jotting things down, praying over Scripture, and trying to sense what it is that the Holy Spirit would have me focus on in 2023. I cover a little bit more of what those goals look like here.
One of my 2023 goals is to learn more about homesteading. Have you seen the price of eggs lately? I’ve started making some changes to the way we do things around the house in order to be more sustainable. But I’ve got a LOT of learning to do before I can implement more of these changes. So I did some reading and planning for my early spring garden. One perk of this lake house is that I was able to continue my new habit of hang drying all my laundry!
I’m not the brainiest girl around, so I can’t maintain this kind of mental stamina for three days. So I built in relax breaks. Meals were kept simple- pizza one night, pan seared fish another night, and a treat of Oreo ice cream! I brought along several books to mix it up. Nothing like jumping into Tolkein’s The Two Towers for a little break! And of course I peppered in some Netflix here and there. Hopefully as I continue to do these little retreats, my discipline gets better and I can maintain focus for longer chunks of time.
And God really used these three days to re-focus and rejuvenate my soul. The quiet gave me the chance to stop and hear what it is that He’s trying to teach me. Sometimes my schedule and my own head get so busy that I drown Him out. It truly was a blessing.
This is what it looks like for me. I know myself enough to know what’s helpful and what’s not. What about you? Maybe a multi-day retreat isn’t practical. Maybe you’ve got the discipline to hide out in your own house for some dedicated focus time. Kudos to you- I’ll start laundry, put something in the crock pot, and re-organize the living room furniture instead. Sometimes a few hours at the local coffee shop, park, or church can work wonders.
Just an overnighter can be refreshing. Once those travel rewards points add up, book you a complimentary night in a local hotel- just make sure it has a desk. Again, you may be much more disciplined than me- I’ll just go to sleep if I sit on the bed and do all this!
There are so many other ways to personally retreat. Know yourself, and be creative. Work within your time constraints and budget limitations. But most of all, just do it. Turn your phone off, tune out the world, and dedicate some time talking to the Lord, pouring over His Word, listening to His Spirit, and being molded more into His likeness. The world comes at us a million different ways a million different times a day. I promise you won’t regret tuning that out for a little bit and listening to your sweet Savior
If you’re interested in renting the lake house, check out the Airbnb listing below!