It’s hard to believe that we’ve already reached the final days of January. One month ago today, I left home for hours to go on my 2nd annual one-woman, one-afternoon retreat. I do it on the last Friday afternoon of the year, but you can anytime you have at least three hours in a row and enough energy to do some deep thinking.
In the past, when I thought of retreats, I imagined driving with a van full of ladies to a rustic setting in the mountains for a weekend of fun, worship, and teaching. I have been to many retreats like this, and they required preregistration, paying around $100, packing, picking just the right time to ask my husband if he could watch the kids, and gearing up my introverted self for a lot of “together” time. Don’t get me wrong; I have enjoyed, learned from, made great memories, and even taught at some of these experiences, but I was looking for something different.
In December of 2016, I listened to a podcast by one of my favorite nonfiction authors, Sally Clarkson. She explained the benefits of getting away alone for a yearly reflection. She also referred to materials from an author whose name I had never heard before, Lara Casey. I went to both Sally and Lara’s websites and read all they had to say about this event, put their suggestions into two Microsoft Word documents, and made plans to take my retreat at ….. Starbucks. Much less money and planning!
I took the following things with me:
- My Bible
- A ton of notebook paper in a folder
- An assortment of brightly colored pens
- Inspirational stickers
- A Sharpie
I found myself experiencing the entire spectrum of emotions as I sat nestled in a booth sipping on my mocha, thinking about all the wonderful events of the past year and setting goals for the following one. Because I was alone, I could think objectively about my marriage, my children, and my own life, evaluating the good, the bad, and the ugly, and praying how to work on the difficulties. I came home refreshed and ready to implement my plans.
Do I achieve every goal I set? Definitely not, but I like having a direction I am choosing to travel in my life and page after page written in my own handwriting. I would highly recommend this activity to you and can’t wait to see what God shows you about your life!