Come Away with Me

The day was a busy one, I had a lot to finish up at work, I had a doctor’s appointment, and I didn’t take time to eat lunch (which was a huge mistake). In fact, the last few months had been extremely busy and difficult.

The drive to my destination was beautiful as the colors of fall were still very present in the beautiful mountains of East Tennessee. Is there a more beautiful place than East Tennessee in the fall?  I don’t think so. The drive gave me time to decompress from such a busy day and start to prepare my heart for my two-night personal retreat with just me and God.

This was the second time I had been to Fairhaven Ministries for a personal retreat.  The first was in 2017, so I was long overdue. Fairhaven is a beautiful Christian retreat center in Roan Mountain that offers a quiet, peaceful place to be alone with God. The cabins and chalets are comfortable and free of normal distractions such as television and the internet.

Even as an introvert who loves being alone, it takes a while to adjust to being quiet and alone for an extended period of time. In Mark, 6:3, after an intense time of ministry, Jesus said to his disciples “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” We know from Scripture that Jesus often withdrew to be alone with God. Jesus perfectly modeled these “times of solitude” with the Father in preparation for ministry, after seasons of intense or draining ministry, in times of grief, before making a major decision, or to gain perspective in the midst of conflict.1

I had three goals for my time away. First, I wanted to rest…cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength. The last few months had been intense for sure, and my body and my soul needed rest and time to be refreshed.

Second, I wanted to work on my assignments for Re:generation, a recovery program that GFC offers every Monday night for those who are dealing with hurts, habits, and hang-ups. I started the program in January, and I was currently on Step 8: Forgiveness. Whew!

Third, I wanted to be quiet and still before the Lord and listen for His voice because I was learning that I had a lot of unforgiveness in my heart which had turned into a lot of resentment that I needed to address.

Solitude is a spiritual discipline that should be practiced every day for some amount of time. We usually refer to it as our “quiet time” with the Lord.  Some days are easier to do this than others. We are so easily distracted, aren’t we? But it’s also good to be intentional about planning extended times to get away with the Lord to be still and quiet before Him. He will use this time to speak, to restore, and to refresh our souls. I hope you will be encouraged to “get away with the Lord.”  It is well worth it!

Donna Simmons

1Matthew 4:1-11, Matthew 14: 13, Matthew 14:23, Matthew 17: 1-9, Matthew 26:36-40, Mark 6:31, Luke 5:16, Luke 6:12, John 7:53-8:1.  The Use of Solitude for Renewal by Denny Howard, Director of Vitality Care Institute, Ft. Wayne, IN.