The Need to Retreat

By Shauna Pilgreen

I need a break from all of you and all of it! Or maybe everything needs a break from me!

I recently retreated for some solitude and re-centering. It was just as glamorous and as quiet as it sounds. And I was only 2 hours away for 2 nights and 2 determinations:

To seek solitude {to be quiet for a while and let God}

To re-center on what’s important.

Heavenly, right? You’re already seeing the roadblock.

And yes, the hardest part is carrying it out.

But like a kindred spirit speaks to me, you CAN get away for a retreat. Don’t tell me you can’t. I know. It requires husband or friend keeping the kids. It requires money. It requires calendaring. Do a kid swap for a friend who can retreat as well. Save that coffee money, or mani/pedi money, or birthday money, or bonus check. My kindred spirit is telling you the same thing…you can retreat.

Here’s how I retreated:

Make a plan for your time away and tell someone the plan.

He Restores My Soul by Jennifer Kennedy Dean is a favorite of mine and has a retreat plan in the back of the book.

Pack comfort things: pillow, Bible, your note-taking devices, songs, headphones.

Tell your favorite people when you will be accessible by phone.

Say “see you later” to all social media. This retreat is not instagrammable or facebookish or tweetable or pintresty.

I love this quote and use it often, “Change of place + Change of pace = Change of perspective.”

Choose a place that looks different from home and keep the day clear.

God alone knows what your heart is longing for and how deep the hurts are.

I promise you, you honor Him with this time, He will meet you and teach you.

Hands open literally and demonstratively.

Ask the question, “How much of Jesus do I want?”

Write down the obstacles, frustrations, jealousies, wounds that consume you, but you haven’t fully surrendered to Him.

Out loud, let God know what you’re wanting and who your heart is heavy for.

Worship Him freely and liberally.

Mine involves twirling and spinning around. Arms extended and a smile ever so grand in His presence.

Mine also involves a box of kleenex and face to the ground.

Mine begins before the sun with several cups of coffee. It’s as if it’s just the two of us before the world awakes.

Some of us feel restrained where we gather corporately to worship freely. Others of us haven’t taken time in our spiritual journeys to be open and free before our Maker. Retreating is all about being unveiled and authentic.

Record what God says to you in the solitude.

Record specifically how He re-centers you and what needs to change.

Come home with a theme for your life or season of life you are in.

I came home with two words and one phrase that I believe God gave me.

Dwell. {this is all about our home being a dwelling place and being right where He has me}

Restore. {I must come often and with open hands for restoration that He wants to do in me continually}

It’s me in Him. Not me and them. {Oh, my reasons for acceptance must die}

Tell that special person what God revealed to you in your time away.

Then have them calendar a retreat time.

Then calendar your next retreat.

So when will you retreat?

We’d love to know you’ve got one planned! The ripple effects for your family, your church community, and circle of influence will receive from your time of solitude and re-centering with God.

Published December 12, 2014

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Shauna Pilgreen

Shauna is married to Ben Pilgreen, pastor of Epic Church in San Francisco, CA. They have busy 3 boys and are in process of adopting a precious girl from India. Shauna loves exploring her city, engaging in her community, and encouraging women. Join her on her blog at where she shares how their family lives out the Gospel in the place they call home.