Sometimes we just need a breakaway to refocus for the season ahead and reenergise body and mind. By Tamsyn Cornelius
It is nearing that time of year when we find ourselves motoring towards Christmas with 2018 almost on its way out the door. In a blink of an eye, time ticks away, leaving many of us feeling overwhelmed, drained and possibly stuck in that not-quite-the-end-of-the-year slump.
If you feel caught up in the mundane routine of everyday life – perhaps battered and worn by your current occupation, ministry or family life – it may be time for a much-needed getaway or spiritual retreat to refuel you for the rest of the year. Whether alone, with friends, or with family, a holiday or retreat offers so much to revive and restore your strength.
The Lord Himself rested on the seventh day of creation. In turn, we may need to follow His lead and know when the time is right for us to take a seat and enjoy a well-deserved rest.
Technology has many amazing benefits. In an instant, we can connect with people from around the world; attend meetings without ever leaving our homes; or with a click of a button, source information about any topic under the sun.
In a world of instantaneous connectivity, it is a sad reality when more people are dealing with issues of loneliness and depression in our modern age than ever before.
We may have hundreds of social network contacts, but lack genuine relationships. It is possible to feel overconnected yet not connected to anything of substance.
Every now and then it is important to unplug from the world of electronics, gadgets and social media. A vacation or planned time out in nature may be the perfect solution in which to disconnect your devices and invest in your own wellbeing and real relationships.
The wonders of nature
Something amazing happens when we spend time in nature. As if containing God’s hidden mysteries, nature is a constant reminder that we are not infinite and that He is God. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands,” (Psalm 19:1).
Time spent in nature is often soul-searching; a season of refreshing and restoration. In nature, we can block out the noise of our everyday lives and enjoy the soothing calm of the Lord’s creation. In South Africa, we are spoilt for choice in terms of our beautiful natural landscapes and picturesque vistas, from amazing coastlines to breath-taking mountain tops. Get outdoors and experience it for yourself – and who knows, the fresh air may offer a fresh, new perspective for the year ahead.
Bond with your loved ones
Re-establish your connections with your loved ones during a planned family retreat. Away from the regular routine of your life, you can find rest to unwind and enjoy the simple pleasure of being together with those most important to you.
Here you can work on your relationships, listen without distractions, and create memorable moments with your loved ones. Such planned trips may be important to focus on your marriage, important friendships and the bonds you may strengthen with your spouse or children.
You may feel overwhelmed by work or ministry – a timeout with your family may be refreshing for the soul.
A spiritual retreat
“He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake,” (Psalm 23:3).
A breakaway creates an opportunity for a spiritual retreat in which we can work on the intimacies of our relationship with Christ. Without any distractions, you can focus on the Word of God, meditate and pray.
Only in the presence of God can we find peace and restoration for the season ahead.
If you have not done so already, start journaling to record your spiritual journey. This is a time of reflection, prayer and spending time with your Heavenly Father.
Unite as the Body
Christian camps and group retreats are ideal opportunities to unite as fellow believers and to seek God together, in a space that is solely dedicated to the pursuit of God’s presence. Whether as a school or youth camp, or a congregational or leadership retreat, a group breakaway is a fun and interactive time to bond with others and regain spiritual focus for ourselves and our groups.
*This article was first published in the August 2017 issue of The Christian Lifestyle Magazine.