“Back to the drawing board” … my heart is grateful for this concept as I think about those times we need to go before the Lord and ask him to help us focus and prioritize. In the midst of much to-do, I stopped in my tracks realizing there was a small window of time, I listened to what I needed. I knew then I needed a “stay-cation”, right in our home. Simply a time to pause and a time to recharge.
A regular mini-retreat alone is a necessity in my life whether it’s a couple of hours or a couple of days … my room doesn’t even need to be tidy to enjoy it. Not worrying about the mess, intentionally letting all that I am reset and stepping away from task-lists and busyness. Taking time to be alone for an extended period of rest to sync up with the Lord’s heart and let his Spirit align me. Remembering that before anyone or anything else, Jesus is my first true love.
As women, we often ask and think about what others need. So, we lovingly serve in a variety of ways with the strength and joy of the Lord. Lately, the Lord is teaching me more and more through others what it means to have an integrated soul. It’s just as important to ask, “What do I need”? Let’s not be overcome with fatigue. Rest is just as essential as work and play.
These retreats by myself are not out of depression, anxiety, selfishness, laziness or being anti-social. The Lord has brought much healing in regards to those tendencies. Rather, it comes from a place of faith and trust that God is the one taking care of everyone. It’s a time to be by myself with my Maker and bare my soul to my Creator. It is a time to be known and nurtured; to be content and at peace. My deepest need is the Lord’s unfailing love.
During this time I pause, reflect, pray, dream, praise him, be present, read, dance, sleep, write, paint, color, engage with cinematic arts, make music or create a beautiful summer salad with some chilaquiles on the side, or whatever else as I celebrate the essence of who I am with the multi-faceted gifts and talents I’ve been given. Also, I let Him hold and comfort me in times of grief. These retreats are an integral part of healing, resiliency, vulnerability, trust, remaining authentic, part of the pruning process and abiding in the goodness of the Lord.
Unfortunately, I use to live without seeing my value. Thankfully, understanding has grown over the years helping me to see the worth that the Lord gives each one of us. He calls us beautiful one, greatly loved forgiven and cherished. We know how to love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19), this verse holds great depth and power. It is the canvas to my story and yours. *Friends, we can have a healthy love for our Lord and ourselves that turns into a natural overflow of loving others heroically.
“He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” Psalms 23:2-3 NLT
He is closely beside each one of us, in every season of our lives. We can call out to him for protection and comfort. We can trust the process. “He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss. That’s where he restores and revives my life. He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to his name.” Psalm 23:2-3 TPT
The overflow that comes after a short time of solitude and rest is astounding. I am a better friend and sister when I take these unrushed moments to hibernate. It’s one of the places the Lord refreshes my soul.
When and where do you go to meet with the Lord to be cared for and nurtured? Do you think we can be better friends and sisters when we take extended times of respite? My encouragement is to love yourself and others with a heroic friendship because it’s the same love and model Jesus has shown us. Do we need to take a risk to love “an old or new amiga”?
Throughout my life there have been numerous moves and its remarkable how the Lord brings together a sisterhood at various intervals of my journey that can be there for one another during the triumphs and sorrows. At the same time, it’s natural to experience ebbs and flows in life and friendships. During my alone time, I did not have a fear of missing out or a fear of not being there for someone else. I trust the Lord to direct my steps. As I reflect on the countless friendships in mine and my families lives, we thank God tremendously for the reciprocity and the “iron sharpens iron” produced by each interaction to help build and mature one another.
Despite the miles whether near or far, we understand that we’re all sojourners and our lives are interconnected for a greater purpose. God’s creativity is vast and extensive passed on to us for a wide array of situations. Love and live in courage and wholeheartedness.
“Ready, Set, Jump!” “Take the plunge!” Dive in and swim into the deep end … step away from the shallow waters that only go below the knees.
*Drink deeply from living waters. It’s a gift Jesus has given each one of us, “for those who believe in him, rivers of living waters will burst out from within and flow from our innermost being”. My heroic friends, we can offer this living water to one another and this world. Take time alone to be filled up and then burst forth like a geyser and overflow like a waterfall with the unfailing love of the Lord.
*John 15:1-17; *Luke 10:25-42 and *John 7:37-39
Photo Credit: Quang Nguyen Vinh