Our prayer is that “On Retreat” will help you break from habituated patterns of mind and frantic activity, make more space for God, and step into a new way of seeing, believing, and abiding. Each retreat will focus on a healthy body, a serene mind, and a powerful spirit. Your devoted guide will be modern day Christian mystic, Betty Skinner.
Affirming the Hope Hidden Within You,
~Cathy and Kitty
A Healthy Body
Hydrate: Drink a little water with lemon or green tea to begin.
Move: Do a few simple stretching exercises to energize your body.
Rest: Silently integrate the inner peace of your stretching practice for a few minutes.
A Serene Mind
Begin this portion of your time with God by sitting with a warm cup of coffee or tea or water in a comfortable chair in a quiet place with your Bible close. Light a candle as a symbol of God’s presence with you.
A Reflection from Betty
Nothing is as debilitating to our spiritual life as fear. It imprisons us, paralyzing our potential to receive the love God so longs to give us. Everyone has fear, but the good news is that we do not have to stay trapped in it. We have a promise: “Perfect love drives out fear.” We have an invitation: “Don’t be afraid.” Our work is to believe the promise and be faithful to choose the invitation.
We were created with the capacity to move against the negative energy of fear and the need to control or compete. We all have places of fear inside us but we have other places: deeper places of strength, of beauty, of faith and trust and love. As we dare to step out into those places, offering up our fear and opening to receive God’s light, trusting that He will meet us, our inborn fear becomes a gift that slowly leads us from its negativity to a new place of freedom and a new kind of fear—a reverent fear that leads to deeper trust in the awesome power of God to heal us. The Hidden Life Awakened
For Further Reflection
What is this perfect love that drives out fear? Of course we all know it is God. This sweet thought sits in our brains as an article of genuine faith but has no reality in our day to day lives. How many times have you heard the phrase, “I’m just a worrier”? How often do you feel fear over a medical diagnosis or not enough money or not being able to sleep or your child’s tough situation or your disintegrating marriage?
We have been taught to think that fear is a natural emotion we can’t control; but the scriptures and now science tell us that just isn’t true. It is simply your brain’s conditioned response to what your culture has told you is frightening. Over and over in the scripture, do not fear is a simple command with an assumed power of choice. Isaiah 35:4 “Be strong, do not fear.” John 14:27 ” Let not your hearts be troubled.” Psalm 32:4 “I will fear no evil.” Psalm 118:6 “I will not be afraid.” Matthew 6:34 “Do not worry about tomorrow.” And on and on.
This is your work. To believe God and do what it takes to recognize and control these stressful illusions, so your brain can literally rewire itself to hold more and more of God’s love. It takes practice. When you feel the stress of a fearful thought, practice hesitating long enough to look at it, name it as fear, and without any judgement whatsoever, ask yourself where it might be coming from. Then simply let it go and breath in the wonderful little taste of freedom until it comes again. Refuse it again and again, until finally your faith frees up enough space in your heart and mind for the Spirit of Perfect Love to fill.
A Powerful Spirit
Spend a little time now, letting the Living Word speak to your heart.
Rest Quietly with God
Use your imagination to visualize Jesus sitting there with you or in any other setting that brings you peace. Will you tell Him about your fear?
Journal whatever thought arises without filtering or censoring just as a child would. This is the indwelling Spirit speaking truth to you. Trust this for now.