Saturday, June 1, 2013

Finding Your Personal Retreat

I grew up in a small 2 bedroom rental house, which was fine until my twin brother and sister came along. Since I had five birthdays behind me before they were born it didn’t take too many years before I started feeling a distinct lack of privacy. I made a claim on our small dining area and did my best to make it “my room” – bed and all. The problem was that it was positioned between the kitchen and living room. Except for afterhours, I entertained all kinds of unwanted guests.

When I was a bit older and could handle a hammer and paintbrush, I did my best to refurbish an old guesthouse attached to our garage. At last I had a private space back. It was my sanctuary. My piano and I turned out lots of music without disturbing anyone. I wrote, I listened and I dreamed.

These days I have a “man-cave”.

I guess I am a bit introverted by temperament, so for me this is especially important. It contains some stuff I like. It isn’t fussy, and it is usually cool and quiet. I can listen to music there, watch movies, do my devotional reading, praying or play my Rhodes piano. It is somewhere I can renew my attitude and charge my batteries.

Everyone needs a private space to find solace. Do you?

Not everyone is as blessed as I am to have a whole separate space (Nan has one, too). But for mental health reasons, known as self care, everyone should have a place to retreat to that calms and inspires them. For some it might be a bedroom or a private bathroom. For others it could be a garage or workshop. Is there a garden area or an unused alcove that is separated from the maddening crowd? Can you build or repurpose something?

Apartment dwellers may have to get creative and even find an offsite refuge. Sometimes libraries, parks or school campuses work. As a last resort there is always the local coffee bar. Nan has an annual pass to a local botanical garden.

I know that husbands and wives will often have to share the same safe haven. So decorate it together, letting it reflect both of you. Moms and dads will probably have to take turns giving each other a break. But who needs a quiet retreat more than parents of young children!

We cannot adequately connect with God in the midst of chaos and confusion. It takes some intentional disconnection from our often overwhelming busyness. I find it so much easier when I have a designated place.

Mark 6:31 (NLT)

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.

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