Thursday, June 12, 2014

Heart Retreat: A Slow Journal Exercise

Time for my annual retreat afternoon at my favorite place in the world. I took my Bible, a spiral bound journal I recently found at Michael's, some cute paper, scissors, glue stick, pen and my camera.

I invite you to join in with your own slow mini retreat. A quiet place, a quiet heart.

For me, making the pages artsy and creative was re-invigorating, but if it isn't for you - don't! Grab a journal that works for you and let's begin...

I usually begin my retreat by just sitting quietly sometimes even for a whole hour. It takes some time of quiet and doing almost nothing to transition from the input of life to a quiet peace.

So, I considered this slowing to listen. I wrote out Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." And, then I just sat quietly. I wrote down the sounds I heard like the breeze through the aspen leaves, birds chirping at the fountain, silverware clinking and more. This is a chorus of praise - creation praising Him, people serving, time slowing, breeze blowing, water trickling.

You can make a short list if you want to of the sounds you hear. Or, you can sit in stillness and quiet and write a list of thoughts swirling around in your head and heart. What is God laying on your heart? What are your purposes for this time of reflection? What do you want to hear from God on?

Don't be in a hurry to move past this part. Just sit, slow, savor, listen, be quiet.

I can't tell you how many times this year I've made myself take a deep breath and just think over these words to myself:





After this quiet time of listening, I think of a new "l" word possibility - listen.

At any rate, these words have been my mode of slowing this year. So this seems like a great way to spend my retreat and reflection time by meditating on these thoughts and seeing what comes from them.


Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Think for a moment - what does surrender mean to you? Write down thoughts that come to mind.
What things do I need to surrender? Write down everything you can think of.

I loved the bubbles on this paper I used because it struck me that the bubbles float up and away from me and that is such a picture of surrender and letting go.

Spend as much or as little time as suits you on this pondering of surrender. Considering what it means and what it means to you, your heart, your life and serving God.

When you are ready to move on {or even another day} begin thinking about the idea of less. What does that mean to you? What does that mean in your life?

I wrote out a series of statements that included less and more for example: less of me = more of Jesus; less quantity = more quality, etc...

Continuing in Matthew 11 - think about verse 29, "... take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

I hope you are feeling slow seep into your heart, mind and spirit as you process through this. There is no right or wrong way! Continued tomorrow!