Posted by: Justin Wallace | December 30, 2009

Have you taken time to retreat?

We were given full permission by The Transforming Center and Ruth Haley Barton to use the following material. The following material is taken from a series of writing by Ruth called e-reflections.  You can sign up to receive e-reflections for free on the front page of the website. Ruth has written several books, the most recent being Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership.

As I prepared to leave for a recent speaking engagement, I realized how tired I was, how I longed for my own experience of intimacy with God, and how much I needed the very things I would be guiding others into on that day.  After twenty five years of life in ministry, I had learned to pay attention to such inner dynamics and knew better than to wait for a better time. I packed a simple bag, made overnight arrangements as I drove to the retreat I was leading, and left right from the speaking engagement to enter into twenty four hours of silent retreat. That choice changed the tenor of the whole week and the whole month that followed. It brought me back from the brink of dangerous exhaustion. It enlivened me with a renewed sense of intimacy with God. And it gave me the opportunity to reconnect with God’s call on my life and to discern very specific ways of staying faithful to that call.

One of the most important rhythms of a leader’s life is a constant back and forth motion between times when we are engaged in the battle–giving our best energy to taking the next hill–and times of retreat when we are not “on” and we do not have to be any particular way for anyone. Times when we can be in God’s presence for our own souls’ sake.

A sobering truth about life in leadership is that we can be very busy and look very important, yet be out of touch with that place in the center of our being where we know who we are in God and what he has called us to do–that place where we are responsive to the voice of God above all others.  When this happens we are at the mercy of all manner of external and internal forces, tossed and turned by others’ expectations and our own inner compulsions.

This inner emptiness then becomes the source of…..

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