One of the reasons I love leading retreats is because a retreat can provide unhurried time to be with God and with one another. We so easily get caught up in the busyness of trying to live productively, but we end up just living hurriedly instead. And a hurried existence is not productive, nor is it sustainable. Retreats–whether a personal retreat or A Day with Jesus or a weekend with a small group–give us an opportunity to set aside the hurry and enter into a greater depth of rest and relationship and worship.
Alan Fadling is a friend and mentor to my wife and I, and he–together with his wife Gem–has recently launched a new ministry called Unhurried Living. Last week Alan was interviewed in a podcast from Renovare [look for Episode 32] about this concept of an unhurried life. One point that stood out to me was the comparison he made with breathing: It is impossible physiologically to only exhale for a day (or a week!), without also inhaling. Yet spiritually we live as if “inhaling” (i.e. rest, recreation, community, worship, etc.) were optional or only needed occasionally, and all of life becomes “exhale” (i.e. activity, service, productivity, ministry, etc.). There is certainly nothing wrong with activity and ministry, however if we are to sustain those activities and ministries for the long haul, we have to learn how to “breathe” in a balanced way. We must learn how to be devoted yet unhurried.