Are Christian Retreats Good, or Wasteful?

I had a moment this morning.  A lovely moment when I started thinking deeply and hearing from God while I was unloading and reloading the dishwasher.

Then I sat down to write about it so I could think it through some more, and I got distracted by Facebook.

Almost an hour later, I’m almost caught up on my newsfeed, and I’ve lost my earlier train of thought.  I wonder how often I long for deeper connection with God, for understanding, and I lose all chances of that happening because I get distracted by social media.  But I will leave that thought for another day.

I have a chance to go on a retreat this weekend, and it sounds absolutely heavenly.  A weekend away, having my meals served to me, having special time set aside to hear from God — which I so desperately need — and even having quiet time being pampered.  I think I could use that, too.  This mama is overtired and under-relaxed from having a family full of sickness for the last two weeks.

I’m an introvert.  If I don’t get some quiet time to recharge, I tend to melt down eventually.

But I feel reluctant to go.  Is it okay for me to spend that money on myself instead of on orphans in China?  I feel like we North American Christians are too self indulgent, like we (I) have too many excuses for buying nice things for ourselves instead of feeding people who are starving to death.

And yet, I feel like maybe God is calling me to come away with Him.

I so desperately need to hear from Him, to reconnect.

Can’t I do that at home?  I wonder.  I don’t know.  So far, all my good intentions haven’t resulted in anything special happening.  I want to walk, day by day, with Him.  And I think that in many ways, I do.  But in many ways, I don’t.

What a shocker.  I am imperfect.

I have had most of my most profound revelations on retreats.  Either that, or during long periods of quiet time and thinking time.  (I don’t get that very often lately at home; not in this busy, wonderful house full of small people.)

So, Father, I need to meet with You.  Not in a quick, surface way, but in a deeper, recharging way.  I feel this deep longing in the middle of my chest to hear from You clearly, to have myself revealed again, to be laid bare and made clean from the inside out.  To receive some indefinable “thing” from You so that I can return home renewed and flowing life.

Maybe I need to trust my finances and my two-year-old to my Father and just go.   I’ll think on it some more.

If the answer seems obvious to everyone except me, feel free to weigh in.


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