The Summer Retreat You Really Needed All Along
It’s that time of year again when everyone seems to be on vacation and enjoying some much needed rest and relaxation. But God offers us something that no vacation could ever achieve.
You’re my place of quiet retreat, and your wrap-around presence becomes my shield as I wrap myself in your word! Psalm 119:114 The Passion Translation (TPT)
I love a good summer vacation. Even more, I love a good restful vacation. Not the go, go, go trips filled with packed agendas, but the trips where you find that much needed space and time to reset, breathe in a little deeper, and truly unwind. There’s something sweet about allowing ourselves the space to be restored. We may not all have the opportunity to experience a vacation getaway this summer, but God offers himself to us as a place of rest and rejuvenation, exactly where we are. Right smack-dab in the middle of the chaos, the mundane, and the everyday hustle, we have access to a private oasis, a quiet retreat.
I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet. That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, the perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic.
Psalm 27:4-5 The Message (MSG)
Retreat to God’s Presence
It’s easy to become buried under the debris of worldly stress. Worry can feel toxic, and daily tensions are a pro at hijacking peace. If we don’t have a safe place to unload our emotions, they tend to leak out sideways. I love the example King David leaves us. He was truly a man familiar with great stress and difficult circumstances, but he continually poured himself out before God and found a way back to the Lord’s presence, whether he was in a desert or a palace. He was persevering and passionate when it came to seeking God’s presence. Why? He knew the value of a safe retreat and the immense rest found in his maker’s presence. Because of Christ, we have full access to God’s presence—and actually even better access than King David. No sacrifices needed, no priest to intervene; God has made himself fully available to everyone through the new covenant established in Christ. Just come.
Retreat to God’s word
It’s easy to get off-kilter when the world is constantly selling false truths. Steeping ourselves in God’s word is an antidote for all the lies the enemy is asking us to buy each day. His word is a light that is always faithful to point us back to true north. Studying God’s word does not need to be a dry, dogmatic practice. We can approach the Bible with hopeful expectation because this book is actually alive, unlike any other book ever written in the history of the world. His book has real power to change our life and give us that fresh vantage point we truly need.
Retreat to gratitude
Gratitude may be the most underestimated weapon we have. It is a powerful tool on the battleground of worry and anxiety. It not only operates defensively against negativity, but offensively as well. Through daily practice, we can learn to walk to the rhythm of thankfulness. Just as complaining can become a habit, so can giving thanks. Scientists are continually confirming that the happiest people are also the most thankful. This should be no surprise, because God has hardwired us to operate best when we focus on what is good (Philippians 4:8).
We don’t have to live our lives held hostage by work and stress, counting down the days until our next getaway. Vacations are a wonderful thing, and often very needed, but God’s presence offers a ready escape, a safe harbor of rest, and—best of all—all expenses have been paid in full! There’s no wait time or travel involved. We have full access to the one who is fully at rest and asks us to come and receive just as we are.
You draw near to those who call out to you,
listening closely, especially when their hearts are true.
Every one of your godly lovers receives
even more than what they ask for.
For you hear what their hearts really long for
and you bring them your saving strength.
Psalm 145:18-19 The Passion Translation (TPT)
Be Still- Hillsong Worship
I’ll Give Thanks- (live) Housefires/ feat. Kirby Kaple
Raise a Hallelujah- Bethel Music
Thank you, Jesus, that you are seated and at rest and offer me a place in your arms. I can rest with you because you have made me a new creation and call me yours. Thank you that I can come to you any time, anywhere, just as I am. You are my place of quiet retreat. Amen.