It's something I've thought about over and again but I've never actually done: a personal retreat day. In the business of life I often realize how much I need to slow down and take some time to remember why I'm doing what I'm doing, re-prioritize, and refocus on the things that matter most. With my mother-in-law on spring break from school and more than willing to watch Willow for the day, I took the opportunity to plan it out - and oh am I so grateful that I did!
As I thought about the day, I knew I needed a solid plan. If I had at least a rough schedule I would be far more productive than if I just went to sit outside and think or pray. With that in mind, I wrote down what I thought my day would look like...
9:00am - Drive to Norfolk
9:30-10:30am - Walk, pray, etc.
10:30-11:00am - Sit in silence (no phone, journaling, or anything else)
11:00-11:30am - Journaling
11:30am-12:30pm - Lunch
12:30-1:30pm - Business Brainstorming + Goals
1:30-2:30pm - Wrap up, pray, etc.
Integral to my day was where I would have it. I so rarely get to visit the Ghent area of Norfolk that I knew it would be the perfect excuse to go there. Plus, their coffee is the BEST! I hit a minor hiccup on my way (oh, the bridge/tunnel traffic!) but had built in plenty of buffer time, so arriving 'late' really did not make a difference.
Before I left I downloaded several worksheets from Val Marie Paper (a new favorite blogger/Instagrammer!) so I would have some structure to my prayer and brainstorming time. These were immensely helpful as I thought through my life and business and where I want it to be. The BEST thing I did was write down all the major things that take my time throughout the day, then ranked them (Best, Good, Least). This was truly eye-opening. There were several things I treat as if they are Best, but in reality are only Good or Least items. I thought and prayed through that list a lot, and my mind is set on re-prioritizing what takes up my time and how I view it.
Besides that, I set several business and personal goals for the month of April, talked to God a lot and heard from Him as I finally sat in silence for the first time in awhile, and (most importantly) have a list of actionable items to change what I need to. I knew that, just as much as if my day was completely unstructured, anything I did not know how to change would not actually be changed over the long term. I might leave my retreat day with all the best of intentions but without a way to actually change these, then change would never happen.
It was the perfect day. The weather was beautiful, I got to drink copious amounts of coffee (thanks, Jolly Roasters!) and lunch was divine (from Town Center Cold Pressed). I got time to think, listen, be quiet, reflect, and figure out where I need to go from here. I didn't have any giant lightning bolts of a new venture or a completely different direction, but this in itself was comforting - I am doing what I love, I am obedient to God, and I am working to keep my priorities in order as I live each day.
Have you ever done a retreat day? I'd love to hear about it because I'm already planning my next one!
PS I thought I would include pictures but I intentionally did NOT bring my camera, so enjoy my iPhone handiwork!