Retreating seems like a strange way to make progress in life, doesn’t it? We usually associate the following with making progress: doing research on the topic, analyzing the problem, making decisions, setting new goals and trying harder. Or perhaps we pay someone else as in: going to therapy, taking classes, reading self-help books or using a life coach. Do you know what would happen if you do the exact opposite and just stop?
I grew up thinking there would be a point in my life where everything automatically started to settle down, leveling off into a nice ‘adult’ existence that made sense and felt wonderful. Never happened. When it didn’t happen, I started to numb myself every day and eventually was drinking myself into blackouts to escape the life that wasn’t working out automatically.
Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did. ~AA p 52
It was during a retreat that God stirred me and first called me to rethink my wine-in-the-hand existence. It was during a retreat that my friend (not an addict) realized she could no longer live with an abuser. Before the retreat I didn’t know I was an alcoholic. Before the retreat she didn’t know she was in an abusive relationship. Both of us shared one awesome discovery during retreats–God cares. Debbie found at the end of her 4 day forced retreat that she needed to slow down. It’s clear, we didn’t have the same issues but we found the same solution. We had a deep spiritual experience with a God who created us for more than merely getting by.
Of course you have reasons to hesitate going on retreat. People need you. It’s a dumb idea anyway. You’re too busy. It’s a self-indulgent expense. Other people won’t understand and may even get upset. Maybe you won’t like it. You’re perfectly happy with your life and don’t want one thing different.
Do you think it’s selfish to explore your relationship with God? Does your life allow time for uninterrupted contemplation? Can you take a whole day or even an afternoon and just sit quietly before Him? For me, I had to learn that skill on retreat. I was too distracted by all my usual chores, issues and habits–and I lived alone!
OK. Here’s the challenge. Write down your best answer to the following question: Why can’t I take a weekend away to be alone with God? Now put that in your billfold for a week. Let me know what happens.
God will constantly disclose more to us. ~ AA p 164.