Last Saturday, the women’s ministry held a silent retreat at church. When I first heard about it, I didn’t sign up because in my head I was like, ‘It’s a whole Saturday morning and it’s time I could be spending with D, I don’t know if I want to go, et cetera…’. But then after church two weeks ago I really felt called to sign up, so I did!
Before I get to how my retreat went, let me explain what a silent retreat is. Silent retreat is essentially just like it sounds, it is a personal retreat spent in silence. The retreat I went to started with a few minutes of explaining the “rules”, i.e. try to not use electronics, it was not a time to catch up on Bible reading or studies. The purpose was to spend the silence in prayer or conversation with God, or to focus of a verse or two of scripture. We then were released to find our own spot to sit for the next three hours until we met up again at the end for some singing and sharing of our experiences.
Being silent is very difficult for me. Even when I’m not talking, my brain is working a mile a minute and the thoughts just keep flowing. I was nervous that I would not get anything out of it, afraid that my internal voice would not keep quiet enough to hear anything the Lord had to say to me. But I just prayed that I would be touched by the Spirit in some way even if it wasn’t through direct conversation, and then went to find my quiet spot. I settled down in the ‘crying babies room’ off of the sanctuary and found a nice comfy rocking chair to get cozy in.
At first I struggled to silence the thoughts in my head, I struggled to figure out what to do with my silence. I tried reading my Bible, but I didn’t know where to start… so then I thought I would just pray/talk to God but I kept interrupting my own thoughts with other thoughts… so I finally settled on just sitting and concentrating on my breathing. At some point the breathing became silent prayers and complete relaxation, and by the end of it all I felt as though it had been an incredibly productive morning.
I am really glad that I made the decision to go to the retreat, and I am even more glad that I felt afterward that it was worth my time. I didn’t get clearcut answers to many of the questions/requests/prayers, but I feel much more at peace and like I have a better direction to go in for now.
Try and take some time for yourself to spend in silence. It is amazing to take time for yourself and to just spend time not thinking and worrying about the rest of life.