Once a season I try to get away for a spiritual retreat day. No writing, no texting, no meetings, no people around at all. Sometimes it is to a place of solace like the beach, other times it is just holing up in a coffee shop out of the church’s reach. Sometimes it involves music, sometimes (rarely if I’m honest) does it involve solitude and silence.

Here’s the thing – I’m no good at retreats! I like people. I love busy places, packed schedules and the pace of ministry and life. I’m sure there’s deep insecurity and vulnerability I’m trying to hide in all of that … but I’m also smart enough to know that everything has it’s place. So last Friday I dropped off the grid for a little while. To help us disconnect, my friend Jessica wrote and adapted some really great exercises for this day of retreat. I loved her guiding words at the top of the guide, and thought I would share them with you, too:

• Take your time. There isn’t a lot of ‘content’ because taking your time with each prompt is important.

• Try not to find immediate meaning in your experience. Simply present yourself before God asking Him to help you be open to whatever He desires to give you during (and beyond) this time.

• Distractions. If you find you are distracted by other thoughts or priorities, attend to those first and then begin this portion of the retreat. Attending to the concerns of your heart before entering into this material will allow you to truly focus on this portion of your retreat, rather than continually being drawn to other things in your heart.

• Consider the definition of retreat. The definition of retreat is: the setting aside of an extra-ordinary amount of time to do something for the sake of your soul at an intensity and duration that your ordinary lifestyle doesn’t permit. Remember this definition (repeat it if you must) as you retreat with God.

• Enjoy the presence of God!

Have you ever taken a spiritual retreat? Was it helpful?