Friday, August 13, 2010

Not-So-Sweet Retreat

It is that time of year again, retreat time and I'm confronted with a decision: Do I really want to go on a retreat with 30 or 50 other women, or however many show up for these things.

Last year I had the last minute opportunity to attend my church's women's retreat so I did. And, I will admit, they do a really good job of making a memorable retreat. The speaker was way better than I expected. Everyone was friendly. The accommodations were good and the location was beautiful.

And I'm still trying to figure out why I did not "love" it. Was it my own fault? I definitely could've made an effort to be a part of things more; there were times I deliberately chose not to be involved and I think I made it clear that I separated myself. There is a part of me that thinks I made an effort. I attempted to talk to others. I had some good moments.

Yet, in retrospect, I felt like an observer instead of a participant. Indeed; I played the role of a photographer. I was an outsider, yet I feel my photos benefitted from that

I never let myself feel like I belonged there and now I'm trying to figure out if I want to go this year. The most compelling reason for me to attend is simply because I hate feeling left out. (and I do enjoy taking photos) Yet, if the reason I want to go is because I hate feeling left out, why do I make it so I still feel left out even though I'm there?

So I'm running through my list of why I don't want to go. I'm sure there are some silly, invalid reasons. I'm stubborn, I'm selfish, etc. I am scared of not fitting in; I'm scared of feeling like I'm only accepted if I pretend to be different than who I am. I know there are bad reasons for not wanting to go.

Yet..... could the reality be I simply don't love retreats? Once upon a time, I did. So what has changed?

My list of valid reasons I don't like retreats

1. I'd rather stay home away from everyone and read a few books by myself.

2. Being with others, especially a large group, is exhausting for me. I can only handle people, even really great people, in small doses.

3. I hate spending a few hundred dollars on something I don't "love." Nothing personal; I feel the same way about paying for a lift ticket to go skiing. I don't "love" skiing enough to want to pay the money.

4. I generally don't like women speakers.

5. I don't like emotional worship and I don't like songs that are centered around one's emotional response towards God instead of Who He is and what He has done.

6. At the end of the day, I'd rather just read a book. I guess I said that!

Last year I actually did have a good time. I enjoyed my roommate and we stayed up super late and she even brought diet coke for me. Though I enjoyed getting to know her more, I did not really get to spend much time with others, which probably was my fault.

In the end, retreats are really good but I don't really like them and I don't know why I am convinced I have to make myself like them! There is no rule that says I have to go........ but deep down, I really don't like being left out.

But I always feel I'm left out, if I go or if I don't go.

Do you enjoy retreats? What are your favorite parts of a retreat? What do you expect from a retreat?


  1. All the reasons you listed are exactly the reasons I don't enjoy retreats. I would add that I don't particularly enjoy the "camp high" that so suddenly fades either. If I made a side by side list, the reasons for not going would far outweigh the other. Though I have to admit that sometimes I think maybe God does want to show me something...wants me to be outside my comfort zone...or he wants to use me to help someone else. That said though, I have never felt convicted for not going. Maybe it's not a problem, maybe I'm resisting it? I don't know, but I know that I don't "love" it either and don't pursue it. I'd much rather watch a speaker on my computer or read my books. I tend to be very skeptical and not whole-heartedly listen...I audit what they are saying as they say (double checking scripture, etc.). But like you, I end up just being exhausted. Perhaps that means we just need the "exercise"? Hmm.

  2. Ah Janny! Me too. Funny about the comment of "exercise."

    I have to say that the women of TOC did a good job least year and the speaker was very good. Actually, she was a regional person for BSF so VERY knowledgeable and we knew so many of the same people because I have many friends that attend a large church that participate in BSF. So.... I actually did like her but it took me a whole day to realize it.

    I don't trust easily so I also am one to question and check scripture.... and I don't like to "fail" so I am not one to enjoy the games and icebreakers they do.

    I'm not saying that you (or I) should go, but I have a feeling you'd enjoy it and most definitely others would fall in love with you! You're fun and energetic, wise and...... I could go on and on! You're easy to like. In fact, I'd be tempted to go if you went; you just exude joy and playfulness. (But we just might get in trouble together)

    For me, the biggest hurdle is the money. I want to be assured it will be worth the amount. And usually, for the stated reasons, it isn't.

    Exercise, eh? (stop challenging me!)


  3. Wow, I wasn't fishing for compliments, but you sure gave me some goodens ;) You're right about the trouble-making though!

    I'm with you on the $$ too. I haven't even heard anything about it, price, dates, etc. Do you know?