I’m back from a retreat for ministry leaders and assistant leaders. I thought that it would be about leadership, planning, building the community, serving… but I was gladly surprised to find that the retreat taught me so much about life.
I know, that sounds super vague. Hmm… The most important thing I learned was about discernment: seeking God’s plan and trusting 100% rather than asking God for direction just to get confirmation on what I want (and am already set on) or for a decision I’m still struggling to make because I’m still fixated on what I want instead of being open to whatever God’s answer may be.
The retreat allowed for a lot of quiet time with the Lord – in adoration, in reflection, in meditation, in prayer.
In another post, I will share more about what I learned.
But for now (since it’s already 11:04pm), I will talk about this….
The Action after The Retreat
In order for the retreat to effectively transform my life, I found that it is good to go through the retreat notes (either on the last day of the retreat or the day after), and write down:
- What struck you?
It could be bible verse or passage / a point that was mentioned / part of your reflections / song or hymn lyrics / Word received / something you want to work on. If you need more time to reflect deeper about it, remember to set an exact date and time, as close to the end of the retreat so that it is still fresh in your mind. Do not take longer than a day!
- What is God calling you to do?
- How will you implement it in your life?
Write the big goal then break it in gradual steps (it will be less daunting!)
Goal – To evangelise by sharing my testimony to non-Catholic colleagues
Steps – 1. Speak more often to non-Catholic colleagues every week
2. Invite them out for lunch or tea-break
3. Share what happened over the weekend (including church)
4. Share about situations where God has helped me
Goal – To read more of the bible, and more often
Steps – 1. Read the daily readings for 15 mins every morning.
2. Read the lauds for 15 mins every morning and evening.
3. Read and pray a psalm every day after lunch.
4. Read and reflect on 1 gospel passage for 30 mins every day.
- When will you check on your progress?
Set a weekly deadline. Make sure that the steps you’ve decided on are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Specific), and that you have the steps in a place where you will see it every day – like your fridge, wardrobe doors, phone reminders, sticky notes – this will remind you to check your progress. The best is to have a friend be your progress-checker. Share with a friend what your goals are and what you’ll be doing to reach that goal. Tell them your deadline. Having someone to journey with you beats the inanimate sticky note on your desk.
I’ve found that by doing this, I truly benefited from retreats / workshops / programmes because I’m turning the information received into action.
[MATT 17:4] As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters — one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.
Being at a retreat feels nice; there’s plenty of time to dwell in God’s presence. Peter, John and James went up the mountain with Jesus, who went there to pray. Likewise, we journey to a quiet place with Jesus to pray. But do not stay remain permanently at the retreat… We can’t stay here forever.
Instead, we should take the Word with us as we go out to share and proclaim. We are not to make permanent homes where everything is perfect, but to bring hope and joy to others through the Word we’ve received.