Renovare' Retreat-Part 1

I recently went on a 5-day retreat put on by Renovare' (if you don't know what Renovare' is, check out It was AMAZING--from the gorgeous oceanside location to the hours of quiet reflection to the simple yet profound teaching of Richard Foster, Chris Webb and others, every element of the retreat drew me into a state of peace, rest and relaxation. Well, maybe not so much the plastic mattress cover (lodging was in dorms at Point Loma University), though it did quell any anxiety I might have about wetting the bed. And I must say I had to visit Target and purchase a tiny clip-on booklight in order to avoid dangerous mood swings induced by the San Quentin-like fluorescent lighting overhead. Other than that, all was peace and rest. I'll share just a blog at a time in hopes that something I write may be an encouragement to you. One of the first "aha" moments I had was when I was stewing over the fact that somehow my registration hadn't gone through online so they hadn't assigned me a spiritual director for the retreat (someone who listens well to God and people and speaks with wisdom regarding matters of the soul). I was certain there was just no way my retreat experience could be complete without meeting with a spiritual director that God had picked just for me, into whom He had poured all the answers for my life's dilemmas.

I sat on my waterproof bunkbed with my retreat handbook perusing the various options available for me during the time many people would be meeting with their spiritual directors. I was feeling sorry for myself. And the perfectionist in me began to agonize over choosing just the right activities at the right time. Should I do the Prayer Experience or the contemplative beach walk? the small group discusson or the Guided Movement to Scripture group. OR should I just take a nap? What is the perfect path God has for me here at this retreat?

Then I had a clear sense that God was speaking to my heart---"it really doesn't matter what you do or don't do. I just want to hang out with you." The angst melted away into feelings of relief, freedom and joy. The Creator of everything just wanted to hang out with me.

That moment has spilled over into my quiet times at home. I realize now that there is no perfect path for my devotions. God just wants to hang out with me. He will guide my prayer, my reading, my meditation on His Word. Or he may just want me to sit still for a bit.

So maybe this can bring some freedom to you as well...especially if you are a perfectionist or a striver. God just wants to hang out with you. He will have things for you to do with Him along the way, but first He just wants to spend some time with you.

Retreat Learnings-Part 2/The Prodigal

Words for the Weary