The fear of cold can cause us to surround ourselves with man-made comforts. We shudder as the fresh air hits our face, when we roll down the window to accept our coffee at the drive-through.
We dread snowfall because it means we’ll have to spend extended time in the elements; clearing the snow off of the driveway not once, but twice because of the snow-plow. Going outside for any other reason seems unthinkable.
Should we really spend the entire winter indoors?
I believe that we should be cautious that winter doesn’t leave us spending too many days entrenched in a constant dependency on the mechanical, industrial and technological ways of life?
It can get to the point, where it’s been weeks since we’ve seen something natural; other than the cactus on the secretaries desk. Weeks since we allowed the sun to hit our faces for more than a minute, without the filter of a window or a windshield.
Don’t let sadness creep in.
Feelings of loneliness, sadness, stress or depression creep in quicker than normal, and sometimes without us realizing it. Relationships both with God and other people, can start to feel as mechanical as the winter comforts that we can’t seem to live without.
If this is our life, it’s time for us to retreat.
Yes, it might be cold, but it’s time to retreat.
Regardless of the church, ministry or community we’re a part of; my experience has shown me that there is great value in connecting with God’s creation at any time of the year. I know, I know, “But what about the cold weather?“
My answer comes from a phrase that I picked up while serving in Alaska: “There’s no such thing as bad winter weather, just bad winter gear.“
No, I’m not talking about seal-skin.
Thanks to the industrial, mechanical and technological world; there is great winter gear out there, that can keep the thinnest of us toasting during winter activity. Invest in some then start planning that retreat.
What should your retreat look like?
It may be based in personally connecting with the Lord, through a day-trip or extended solo journey to a cabin for the weekend. It might be a group outing with friends or family, for some sledding, skating or skiing; enjoying the Creator’s handiwork together.
All the while, building relationships and making memories within His winter wonderland.
It may mean taking a huge step outside of our comfort zones.
Perhaps, try embracing an ice-fishing trip or a winter hunt. Experience what it’s like to take a fish or animal right from the Creator’s hand during the harshest months of the year. Then feel the weighty blessing of God’s provision, knowing that this was daily life for many men and women before all our winter comforts were ever invented.
Whichever winter retreat plan we decide on, it will be incredibly beneficial both for our personal journey within this world, and our spiritual journey with the Creator.
Upon our return, daily tasks and responsibilities will seem trivial.
Our awareness of God’s sovereignty will be heightened. Our humility before God’s power and might will silence internal pride. Our work with others will be brought into a more eternal perspective.
Our appreciation for that cold breath of air in the drive-through line will bring about thanksgiving.
Let’s not miss the winter that God has provided for us to enjoy.
How have you been retreating into God’s creation this winter? What trips have you taken or activities have you participated in?