For a decade, I lived as a pastor’s wife.
The blessed but non-stop grind of the pastoral life is not for the faint of heart. The late night runs to the hospital, the sixty hour work weeks, the speaking engagements that take you away from your family, and the continual demand of something is a present reality for those who hold the sacred position of ministry leadership.
When we hear and talk about spiritual renewal and creating intentional time to retreat, it is often something envied but not necessarily prioritized. We know that it’s not only important for ourselves, it’s vital for the community that we have been called to shepherd (yes, this means church AND family).
Learning to renew and find ways to cultivate internal restoration was a lesson my husband and I learned the hard way. A fall from the pulpit changed the course and direction of our lives in ways that still ripple to this day.
Family vacations were an annual part of our calendar, but I observed how the constant demand of work completely stripped our lives bare and prohibited our ability to nurture our family relationships. Those vacations weren’t filled with recognizable memories or still-small moments for our family to enjoy; rather, they were a week of hibernation; seven days focused on exhaling the breath that was held diving into the daily challenges of ministry. I was solely responsible for providing emotional connection for our children while my husband recovered physically and juggled anxiety about what he described as the “real world.”
The stark reality was this: the pace of life he was operating at was not sustainable. I watched the days turn into weeks, the week turn into months, and eventually months fade into years of weariness and exhaustion. There wasn’t enough time for a pause or retreat, or so said the mindset that ministry was approached with.
Those moments can be met with empathy and the abundance of grace because he was trying to survive the best way he knew how. But perhaps, it was an awakening to the truth that we are our best selves when we are intentional with spiritual renewal outside and away from the walls of our daily routine.
I encourage you, from my own personal experience of the consequences of neglecting rest, that you find the time in your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule to step back and schedule a retreat. Maya Angolou wisely said “the price is high, but the reward is great.” To be an effective leader, pastor, husband, wife, CEO, mother or whatever variety of roles you find yourself in currently, retreat is necessary. The concept of retreat is not a selfish one; rather, it is essential for personal and professional growth and the overall health of your relationships and your ministry.
What we at The Retreat at Center Hill Lake want to offer is just that: a safe place to step back out the daily demands to find a shred of peace amid kingdom business. The Retreat provides churches, families and any organization the opportunity to renew what has been stripped away, restore an intimate communion with self and God, and refresh a sense of purpose within ourselves on a deeper level. It is a place cascaded with lake-side views, a warm and welcoming staff, and a backdrop that allows those still-small moments, so that you may revel in the Creator and His creation. We hope that ourRetreat Center can be a part of a shift in personal perspective as you gain a newfound awareness for who you were created and designed to be in life.
If you are a Church Staff member, we have a Church Leadership Program that offers you many opportunities to rest. Find the rest you need below.