Retreats Aren’t For Me

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Photo by Gretchen E.K. Engel

The enamel cross is my daughter’s she bought it earlier this year with her AWANA bucks. She told me that she was putting it on her coin purse so she could show everyone at school that she loved Jesus. Oh my sweet little public school missionary. I pray that I’m doing the same thing.

Last weekend I was on a retreat and wrote about stamping the reference to Matthew 7:14 into a key. I reflected on how a life of following Christ is a narrow road.

This week I reflected on why I go to retreats and realized it’s not about me.


Purpose Number One – Meeting new people

This year I rode up with a friend and her friend. We’d never even met before. I’m an extrovert (or much of one as a writer-engineer can be) so the thought of meeting someone new was exciting. My friend’s friend didn’t know anyone else on the trip, and I wanted to make sure that at least she would get to know me. It didn’t hurt that I knew enough about her that I knew we’d get along. The ride up was geeking out over superhero, science fiction, and fantasy shows. “Doctor Who” or “Supernatural” anyone?

Purpose Number Two – Bonding with my Sisters in Christ

We were a small group this year, which made it even easier to bond with the attendees. Growing closer took many different forms: zip-lining, trying out the giant swing (backwards too!), small group question time, playing games, working a really hard jigsaw puzzle, and meals. A few were close friends. Others were new to me, or we’d only met a couple of times before. In the middle were the ones I knew but got to know on a deeper level.

Purpose Number Three – Learning from the Familiar

This post was spawned by my thoughts on retreat messages. I’ve heard it all before. There’s almost a formula.God loves you. Love yourself. Love others. What deeper introspection showed me was that this message may be simple, basic even. But even a mature believer can grow from it. And our speaker was excellent. She was hilarious, and it was impossible not to learn from her. Better yet, there were those who heard the message for the first time. God loves you. Learn to love yourself so you can show God’s love to others. That never grows old even if it seems familiar. And those lessons will be new to someone.

And there is something in retreats for me. Girlfriend time. Time with God. And I’m a sucker for good food and zip lines.


About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

2 comments on “Retreats Aren’t For Me

  1. Good point, Gretchen. 🙂 As an introvert, I enjoy nature and quiet times on retreat. We’re there for each other. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the busyness at retreats. Maybe God puts me there to provide quiet space for the other introvets! 🙂

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