The call came unexpectedly. Did I want to take a ride out to a local state park and scout out the area with my photographer daughter-in-law Hilary and granddaughter Amelia?
Like most days, I had a plan. It was already thought through and written down, and changing lanes isn’t my specialty. But I knew what was really worthwhile here, and that day I chose it.
And I didn’t look back.
Whether it’s for a day, a weekend, or even a week, our minds, souls, and bodies need to occasionally scrap the plan and say yes to the invitation to play or rest or to just be still. I’ve yet to regret this kind of yes.
You may have heard that I’m planning a retreat to accomplish all the above. It’s called Be Still: A Guided Retreat, and it’s happening this September 19/20-22. You can read all about it here!
I hope you’ll check it out and consider joining me and my friends. But whether you do or not, I’d love to share three reasons why I retreat and why I think you should too! They’re focus, food, and friendship. I’ll talk about the food and friendship in the coming weeks, but today I want to focus on focus 😉
Today is my writing day. I’ve been up since six AM, it’s well past noon now, and these are the first words I’ve written.
I normally try to leave my house on writing days, because I’ve found, for all my willpower, I cannot resist the distractions of my home.
Writing is my passion (second only to reading), but writing is hard work And my home readily supplies countless “necessary” options to distract me from the difficult task of writing. Like dishes, sweeping the porch, straightening random stacks of papers, and . . . you get the idea. There’s something about leaving the house and going to a neutral spot that quiets my mind and allows me to focus.
This is one of the reasons why I retreat.
My soul regularly needs attention, often some hard work, and always rest. There’s nothing like scrapping the plan and the planner, pulling away for a few days to a quiet place, and focusing my thoughts on the quiet murmurings of my soul and the even quieter longings of my heart.
In her book, Invitation to Retreat: The Gift and Necessity of Time Away with God, author Ruth Haley Barton writes of retreats:
We are invited to enter into something so good for us–body, mind, and soul
–that once we recognize it as the winsome opportunity it really is,
everything in us will leap to say yes.
Your turn . . .
- What areas of your life could use some focused attention?
- How can you pull away and take a small retreat today or tomorrow to give that place the focus it needs?
- When you listen closely to your soul and heart, what do you hear?
Photo credit: Hilary Hyland Photography
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