I have recently been on a spiritual retreat—a week where I have been away from routine. Although I missed my husband and the bulldog in that order, I would not miss this for anything. The time with God and I was incredible!

Every day, I listened to different speakers. In the morning, a Rabbi poured into us and explained the scriptures’ original meanings. Then I had an hour of silence to reflect and respond to some questions. In the afternoon, we heard from a fantastic African Pastor that is powerful and looks at scriptures in ways I never have before. I then had another hour of silence to reflect and respond to some questions.

We worshiped three times a day. Morning worship follows over 10 hours of silence, seven of which I was sleeping. In the midst of all of this, I was renewed. Do you need a renewal moment? A week may not be possible for you, but is it a day, a few days? As I reflected on the teachings, the meanings and the words replenished me. I gave myself time to digest.

I think this is a key to the Christian faith.

Are you taking time to listen for the Lord...silently? Are you taking time to reflect after you have read or studied...silently?

My life feels like I am moving from one thing to the next. I am here, and then I have to be there, and I have to have a list of items necessary for the week and day done. You too? I tumble into bed tired and wondering why I did not accomplish what I wanted to. You too?

But not when I was on retreat! I laid down and realized that I was content.

Contentment didn’t come from tasks needing to be accomplished. My desk was piling up with what I needed to do when I got back. My contentment was not from a vacation with my love; in fact, I had trouble talking to him that week because my moments of free time did not align with his day. No, my contentment was in that I was doing exactly what my soul was longing for, longer than I realized before the retreat.

You might be thinking, well, this is just for pastors! Well, when I read in Genesis that God rested on the seventh day, I saw that He created what we need.

Genesis 2: 2-3 “He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”

All of creation is about God creating just what we would need. Lights for day and night, the beauty of the sun and moon with purpose. I am trying to rest a part of my day in His presence and not just waiting to rest when I plan to attend a retreat. I plan on looking for moments every day to leave silence for Him to speak and not just have a conversation where I am listing what I want His attention on for that day.

Read His Word, pray and leave space for Him to speak to you. Sit in His creation and see all that He has done and is still doing in the world. Take time to make a joyful noise and sing to Him daily.

All of this helps your rest to be so complete that you, too, will feel refreshed and ready to tackle what lies ahead!

The Rev. Tracey Zimmerman serves at Fremont United Methodist Church and Nevada Mills United Methodist Church.

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