“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Mt 11: 28-30 MSG
When I met Lorrie Lindgren the leader of Thrive, a nonprofit that provides mentoring and retreats for global missionary women, I was instantly struck by the staggering numbers. It’s estimated that 75,000 women from North American serve as full-time career missionaries, and 1 out of 4 are single. However, 7% leave the mission field each year, a portion of these from sheer exhaustion.
“Women see it and have a heart,” Lorrie shares. “But as women, we often have a difficult time receiving the gift of personal time to rest. We can feel guilty or unworthy to be away from ministry. We carry so much in our backpack of burdens.”
Of course, we don’t have to be in global missions work to experience exhaustion when pursuing the passion of our heart in giving.
Vitality enters our calling when we avail ourselves of care for the soul. “It can be hard to know where to get started,” Lorrie offers, speaking from experience. “Because I’m a doer, it is really hard for me too.“
Women who attend Thrive retreats talk about practical ways to take time to get away with God and recover life. Thrive shares these three steps with us.
Calendar one day a month to be completely away as a personal retreat day.
Jesus illustrated this as His habitual lifeline to God, which set the direction for all of His choices. It can be very hard to stick to this, so you may want to enlist accountability.
Choose a place that is away, out of the ordinary routine.
This ensures you’re away from the distractions and demands of life and ministry.
Use a guide to still your mind and heart.
Lorrie shares her favorite soul care books:
The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adelle Calhoun. “Instead of just giving information about spiritual disciplines, this Handbook is full of practical, accessible guidance that helps you actually do them.” She explains over 60 spiritual disciplines (each in a 4 page chapter of the book) and offers reflection questions and practical spiritual exercises to “try out” each discipline.
Sabbath Keeping by Lynne Baab. Each chapter has 3-4 questions for personal reflection. In planning a day of rest, she offers questions like:
- What enjoyable activities are you not able to do regularly? (Getting out in nature, gardening, reading poetry, drawing, writing in your journal, etc.)
- What helps you see God’s miracles? What helps you be thankful? What helps you listen to God?
Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Barton. Busyness, productivity, and success are able to wield control over your life (a condition she calls Christian fatigue syndrome). Sacred Rhythms is an introduction to spiritual disciplines. It’s about creating space and cultivating rhythms that allow you to enjoy God.
What might happen if you say yes to the gift of one day each month for a personal retreat? Would you be willing to test this out for the next six months and see if God meets you there?