Respite: An interval of rest or relief.
Retreat: A place of privacy or safety. A refuge. A period of withdrawal for prayer and meditation.
Sabbath: A time of rest
All the above definitions relate to rest. But not just any type of rest...Not a rest that you get from getting your 6, 7, or 8 hours of sleep each night. Not laying on the couch after a long hard day....But the type of rest that can only be found in the arms of our Heavenly Father.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Around my 1 year mark here, I started saying I just needed a little break, a retreat, to spend time with God. To be able to hear His voice more clearly. Some people nodded in understanding, others looked at me like I was a little crazy. "Alone?" people would ask me. "Yes, alone, but with God", was my answer. So, I kept looking for just the right place. I wanted a place where I could be safe, in nature, and alone with God. In the US, that seems to be pretty easy to find. I know a lot of retreat centers that do just this, but here, it just isn't something that people do in this manner. I kind of gave up on the whole retreat idea after realizing it didn't really exist here, but I still pursued a vacation.
But then things kept getting busier and busier here. I had decided on a location, but was so busy, I kept pushing it off. Finally, I decided to go. I booked my flight and really had no other plans except who was picking me up at the airport. The location: Arequipa, Peru. Why? Because a good friend of mine has family there who was willing to help me out and care for me. So, it was set. Once I got there, the plan was to do a little site seeing for the first part and then the second part of my vacation, I would spend in a hotel in my own little "retreat".
Can I tell you....EVERYTHING was PERFECT! Every detail of every day was perfect. Even my "retreat" hotel was perfect. It was exactly what I had envisioned I wanted. And I did not plan anything before I got there!
You may be wondering why I am telling you about my vacation? People take vacations all the time. Well, because from the moment I gave up my own agenda, gave up trying to figure it out my way how to do a retreat to spend time with Him, God provided EXACTLY what I had needed down to EVERY... LAST... DETAIL!!!
What did I gain from giving my control up to God and trusting Him? I got to REST in His perfect peace and I came home refreshed, renewed, and full.
A book I recently read called An Unhurried Life makes this statement: "It takes trust in God's faithfulness to choose to stop our work. When we choose soul rest, we are putting our trust in God's work, not our own and we then experience the gift of Sabbath."
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful that God continues to teach me new things when I am willing to listen and learn. I am thankful that I got to enter into His rest and learn how to do that more often. I'm thankful that He is not done with me yet and I look forward to continuing to learn.
Today, I challenge you to turn off your TV, or stop perusing facebook or other social media, and take a walk with God. Listen to His voice and find a way to enter into his REST. I promise, especially during this crazy holiday season that is upon us, you will not be disappointed.
Blessings and Love,