Recently I had a conversation with my supervisor and one of the questions she asked me was, had I planned a ‘Retreat’ for myself. The dictionary’s definition of retreat is for one to find a quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax for a period, for the purpose of prayer and meditation. In other words, to have a break and time for oneself. I had to laugh because my first reaction was No, because I don’t have time. That, of course, is the whole point.
How do you like to relax and have time for yourself? We can get too busy at times, and I know I do, but it is important to have some self-time. If we lead busy lives, it is good for us to have some ‘time out’ and not feel guilty about it.
In the beginning of the Bible, we read of the Creation story and how God made the world, starting with light and darkness (Day and Night), the sky, land and seas, trees, and plants. Then he made the sun and the moon and the stars, followed by birds, fish and other creatures. God looked at what he had done and saw that it was good.
Finally, God decided to make man and woman in his own image. This does not mean God created us to be exactly like him because God has no physical body. Instead, we are reflections of his glory. We will never be completely like God because God is our supreme Creator, but we do have the ability to reflect his character in our love, patience, forgiveness, kindness, and faithfulness.
Knowing that we are made in God’s image and therefore share in many of his characteristics, should give us self-worth. Human worth does not depend on possessions, achievements, power, influence, or physical appearance, but rather being made in the image of God. Because God has made us and we bear his image, we should feel positive about ourselves. Afterall if we look down on ourselves, we are criticising what God has made. Whereas if we remember God has made each one of us, we will know that we are of worth and special in His sight. We are all different, totally unique individuals and valued for who we are. Each of us has special gifts and abilities and need to believe in ourselves.
God made us and longs for us to have a personal relationship with him. If at times you feel worthless or of little value, remember God made you for a purpose. He loves you and you are of value to him.
Well, after all this creating, God was tired! He looked at everything he had made and again saw that it was very good, so then he rested.
We live in a society which demands a lot from us. If we are not careful, there always seems to be a lot to do, not enough time to do it, and no time to rest. If God needed to rest, then so do we. Jesus at times needed to rest also. We read how he and his disciples went out in a boat to a solitary place, a quiet place so that they could rest. (Mark 6 v 31). By resting we are refreshed and can do our work better.
So, we come back to the point about having a retreat. Since the meeting with my Supervisor, I have now booked myself in for two upcoming ‘Retreats’ this Summer – no doubt I will tell you about them at some point in the future.
We need to remember it is important to have time, not just for ourselves, but also for God. For us to grow closer to him we need to spend time with him. Praying, and talking to him, reading and meditating on his Word the Bible, will help us to know God better.
Forgive me for referring once again to the Call the Midwife drama on BBC television but in an episode recently, some very poignant words were spoken. Pastor Cyril and his wife, midwife Lucille had lost their first baby through a miscarriage. They were both struggling with their loss, but Lucille was shutting her husband out, not wanting to talk about the pain and hurt they were going through. When Cyril tried to talk about it, Lucille refused. He gently said, “When you’re ready I’ll be here”.
Sometime later, we see the two of them holding hands, Lucille is crying and begins to share how she feels. As they talk together, Cyril says to his wife, “I’ve missed you. I don’t know where you went, but I’m glad you’re back with me now”. She replies, “I was trying to be strong. I didn’t want to burden you. I knew your heart was broken too”. Cyril gently asks, “How can we be strong if we are not together? We’ve both been through pain. Sharing that pain is where we’ll find healing”.
It does make me wonder if God sometimes feels ‘shut out’. When we are too busy, or we think we can manage on our own, instead of turning to him and sharing our lives with him. God made us to have a relationship with him. Only by drawing close to him can that relationship remain strong.
Is God saying to us, “When you’re ready, I’ll be here?”
As we approach this coming period of Lent, let us make time for ourselves and for Him.
God bless you