Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Solitude Retreats

So I was overdue for my quarterly retreat.

The small cabin I stayed in.

As missionaries of InnerCHANGE, we have to take 4 solitude retreat to rest, refocus and discern. I usually enjoy my solitude retreats, and I was looking forward to this one.

What I usually like doing in my solitude retreats is read, pray, exercise, and read some more.

I went to this beautiful place in Scotts Valley called Fasting Prayer Mountain. The place is decorated witth countless tree trunks that serve as seating, with countless gardens around you and majestic redwood trees.

I was tired. I'm tired with feeling anger towards my church and how legalism and rules often get in the way of loving people.

Stairway to one of the trails.
I'm tired of avoiding my past wounds and avoiding my inner child to get out and finally heal from all the wounds to tell him "it is okay you felt that way and it wasn't your fault".

I'm tired, and God gave me rest.

Solitude retreats aren't always easy. It is easy to go back to old habits of just being. You want to avoid the feeling of loneliness. You want to avoid the voices that spring up inside of you as noise of people and cars and civilization are minimized.

Amphitheater at Prayer Fasting Mountain.
I usually enjoy my first day. By the second day I start to miss family and friends, and almost always feel tempted to just go back. I had to fight the urges to get in my car and just leave home on the second night, but I felt the gentle whisper of God saying "stay", and I did.

Solitude retreats can be difficult, as coming to a sudden halt and rest can bring up many feelings and issues we rather leave untouched. We can become bored. We can become lonely.

As this retreat was drawing to a close I felt God calling me to take "mini-solitude retreats" to listen to Him and to myself as a way to deal with loneliness.  More on this on a future post!

What if we took some time everyday to be by ourselves, to quiet ourselves, and listen to ourselves? How will our lives change?

Why wait till we make the time to retreat into the woods and reflect?  We can have times of solitude everyday, where we make it a point to quiet ourselves to better hear ourselves, and in the process, hear God who is always calling in the silence of our hearts.

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