Where Do You Find Your Refreshment?

Susan Narjala   |   January 10, 2024 

Checking into a hotel by myself can be a rather unnerving experience for me. Having been a stay-at-home mom for almost 16 years, I’ve never really taken business trips alone. And while we’ve stayed at hotels multiple times as a family, solo trips have never really been part of my calendar.

But a few years ago, I found myself walking up to the front desk at a hotel and checking myself in. It wasn’t exactly a “solo trip” as the hotel was a few miles from our house. It wasn't like I was out looking for adventure or attempting to "discover" myself. Instead, it was what I’ve come to call my “Getaway with God.”

For the last few years, I’ve been retreating to a quiet place every six months or so. Most often, the “quiet place” is my kid’s bedroom as I banish my teen from his space for 24 hours so I can “hang out” with the Lord surrounded by Legos and Marvel comics. At other times, I’ve gone to retreat centers where the bed (if one can call it that) has been a block of cement with a barely visible mattress pad that would have made Oliver Twist’s orphanage seem luxurious. And then there have been those times, I’ve checked into a fancy-ish hotel with fluffy white comforters and plush carpeting.

But the point of the retreats has always been the same: to spend uninterrupted, unhurried, and undistracted time with the Lord. Beyond that, there is no real “agenda” to the getaways. It’s not to spend more time with the Lord, so He answers my prayers. It’s not to spend more time with the Lord so He helps me with my sermon prep or my article writing. It’s just to spend more time with the Lord. And when we do that, there are always streams of refreshing that flow from Him and into our battle-weary lives.

We all know what it’s like to be bogged down by the daily schedule. And while “quiet times” may be part of our routines, perhaps we also experience this soul ache to simply rest in God’s presence and lavish in His love for just a bit longer. To linger in that secret place. To lie down in green pastures and walk ever so slowly by still waters. To worship Him till we truly catch a greater glimpse of His glory. For me, the answer to that has been these little getaways with God.

Maybe you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “I would love to do that, but lady, you should see my crazy life.” Maybe your work schedule is too hectic. Or your kids are too little. Or the demands on you are too much. Most likely, it's all of the above.

But, friend, the thing that counts is our hearts and our desire to seek the Lord. It’s not really how far you can travel away from home or for how long you can retreat. Maybe there’ll come a season in your life when you can get away for days on end to simply bask in God’s presence. (A girl can dream and pray, right? He is the God who makes all things possible, after all!).

But for now, could I encourage us to simply look for pockets of time that may be more extended than our regular devotionals with God? Yes, there’ll always be emails that clutter our inboxes, phone calls from the client who wanted the project yesterday, children who need to be dropped off for Taekwondo, and another thing to buy on Amazon Prime before the sale is over. But when we set our hearts on cherishing this time with our Creator, we can trust Him with those “urgent” things so we focus on the truly important things.

I’ve often had to compromise my longer “getaways” for more abridged versions of them. When my soul feels desperately parched, and I’m running on fumes (and my kids bear the brunt of raging hormones and unreasonable outbursts from me), I know it’s time to retreat. So, I ask my dear, obliging husband for help, surrender my phone to him for a few hours or a day, grab my Bible and journal, and lock myself in my kid’s bedroom. And here’s a little secret: there have been times I’ve said, “Lord, I’d like to just rest a bit” and I’ve taken a nice nap. And that’s fine, too. But when I wake up I know He’s waiting to speak to me. He’s waiting to tend to my soul. He's waiting to satisfy me with His love. And there's no sweeter, richer, or more beautiful place to be than on my knees in His presence.

Could I challenge us to find our own versions of “Getaways with God” this year? In this coming season, may we be more intentional about carving out extended time with Him. May we seek out that secret place of intimacy with God where we hear His voice over the noise of the world. May we retreat from the hustle of our lives to be refreshed and renewed in His presence.

As the Psalmist cries out, may we too declare,

One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.



Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


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When she's not smuggling chocolate past her kids or drinking gallons of coffee, Susan Narjala can be found writing, baking and (thinking about) working out. She grew up in Chennai, lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last ten years and is now back in India with her family. She finds nuggets of humour in the everyday, and writes about it on on her blog, www.susannarjala.com

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