Things I Learned on my Retreat

Quiet. Rest. Contemplation. Uninterrupted work. Meals prepared for me by others. Evenings curled up by the fire. If this was the Pyramid game, the answer would have to be: Things I Rarely Experience in my Everyday Life.

pyramid

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have spent this week on a writing retreat at a friend’s cottage. While the focus for the three of us is always writing, we manage to find time, here where our regular duties, responsibilities, and activities do not rudely insinuate themselves into our “me” time, for other things as well. Eating, of course. Long walks out in frigid temperatures made bearable by the breath-taking beauty of our surroundings.

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And contemplating all aspects of life. Here is what I have learned in each:

Spiritually: I’ve been more conscious and intentional than usual about starting my day in the Word, praying, and just being still and listening for God’s voice and leading. When I do that, I worry less, I am more at peace, and I remember that I don’t have to do it all myself. God is with me every moment of every day, no matter where I am or what I am doing, and he will provide me with the strength, resources, and wisdom to do the work that he has called me to do.

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Physically: long walks, good, relatively healthy meals, and more sleep than usual have left me feeling refreshed and strengthened to return to regular life. A good reminder to take care of myself whether I am on a retreat or not, so that I can take care of others.

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Mentally: I’ve been able to focus this week, more than I have in a long time, on what I am doing with my life and my writing career, and where I want to take both of those from here. With time and discussions with my friends, clarity has come. If I’m serious about my writing, I need to give it a place of more importance in my life. I need to devote more time, effort, and energy, not only to writing, but to promoting and marketing (ugh) my work. So I have devised a plan to cut back on certain other responsibilities and carve out more time to focus on my passion, calling, and ministry.

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Emotionally: having the time to make headway on my lengthy to-do list, even to cross several projects off of it, has lightened my load, relieved my stress, and helped me to lift my head from my feet, trudging along one step at a time, to take in the panoramic view of the future spread out before me. 

I’m sad the week is nearly over. But, newly equipped for what lies ahead, I am excited to return home too, to the people and the life I love and am so grateful for. And that’s one of the best and most beneficial rewards of going away – realizing how much you appreciate what–and whom–you have to return to at the end of your journey.

Press on, my friends.

Press on,

Sara

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