Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Potential Dangers of Women's Retreats - Bloom Where You're Planted

"Argh, I don’t want to even really talk about the weekend. The praying part was very good. The alone time with the Lord was very good. And the service on Sunday was a very good message. And the time I had to get to know, and do a little preaching myself to, the ladies that I went with was also good. But the rest, *sigh*. The ladies all seemed to be working, and hating their jobs, those who stayed at home were miserable at home and unhappy with their husbands."
I am NOT, nor have I ever been, "into" the ladies retreats or getaways. For the most part, they are superficial, if you ask me. Even if the goals of the retreat are well intentioned, the down times usually lead to self-vindication about the way you feel about your less-than-perfect life. The funny thing is that women in the Church these days are programmed into thinking that we need time away from our families in order to find God and draw near to Him. If that is so, how did women in Bible times found God within their own daily walks in life? Was God's plan for those women insufficient?

"But if **from there** you seek the LORD your God, you will find
him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul."
Deuteronomy 4:29

We do not NEED to go somewhere else to find God or to get closer to Him. He's always with us and available to us, but we need to take the time to seek Him! The mountain-top spiritual experience of retreats is not enough to propel us through until the next scheduled spiritual event. Daily time with God is necessary for the happiness we all want in life.

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your
Jeremiah 29:13

The "happiness is found in me-time" is a myth. Those who fall for that myth (whether disguised as a "Bible study" retreat or not) are either be searching for true time with God, are self-centered or just plain misdirected. The women looking for "me-time" will be just as unhappy when they get home as they were when they left, if they don't understand and embrace their true callings as a Christian woman. They have no idea how good it could be, if they just followed the Biblical role clearly laid out before them in Scripture. Overall, Christian women don't know what they are yearning for, and that's the problem. We all have what we need and desire right here within our four walls of our home. It's when we go out of those walls (either via the phone, the internet, TV, pop-culture, etc.) that we start believing that we are deprived and in need of being revived. Yes, a weekly date with hubby or daily Bible reading time is nice and needed. BUT I think that the Church has bought into the worldly reasoning of this "me-time" thing; they have marketed it to women and peppered their events with speakers, prayer time and such. These can be good events, but not always the best.

"Good is often the enemy of the best." Oswald Chambers

Another problem is that at those retreats and getaways is that women are left in the off-time with idle hands and chattering lips. The dominant ones take over the conversations, indoctrinating the other women on what's good and bad in the life of a stay at home mom. The women stop exhorting, and start gossiping or complaining. Where did that Titus 2 way of thinking go? Where are the older ones consistently mentoring the younger ones in sound doctrine? I just don't see that, in general, in the Church these days...in any denomination.
Women's retreats can be good, but often the spiritual is traded for complaining about the life that God has given you. Be sure to bloom where you've been planted by God! Be the shining example of what a godly woman should be at your next women's retreat! And be sure to SEEK God every day, and not to depend upon spiritual retreats to move closer to your Father!

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your idea about that subject. I have been invited to those but have not gone because something inside me doesn't see the fairness in leaving my family to go off and sing, shop and pray without my family.Since my goal is so headstrong in making memories for our 12 yr old son and teaching him.My idea of being on a beach at sunset would be with my husband or child,Not a lady sitting beside me.So even if all the ladies were focused on being thankful and prayer warriors,it would still be inside of me that my Family was missing from the picture.My way of thinking is I don't have a life to try and run away from.

Serene in Singapore said...

You wrote, "The funny thing is that women in the Church these days are programmed into thinking that we need time away from our families in order to find God and draw near to Him".

Exactly what I told dh who told me that I had to get away to get close to God! I asked him - what about Mary? What about Jochebed? :P

Jamie said...

I SO agree with you. We had a speaker at our church talk about the importance of going on a retreat to spend time with God. I want to be with my husband and children not with other ladies.

Heather said...

I've never thought of that way. But I've never been on a retreat either. I would love to go hear Beth Moore,not so much with a group just by myself. Thank you for your thoughts!

I have some questions I'd like to ask you, is there a way I can email you?

Lisa Metzger said...

Heather...sure! carolinametzgers@earthlink.net

~ Lisa

Nancy said...

Wonderful post and confirmed my own thought process about the topic. I have been invited to several, but like your first commenter (anonymous)felt uneasy about leaving my family to "get closer to God." I am generally uneasy about the segregating of family that goes on in the church. I am uneasy about the attitudes about children that I am seeing in the church as well. Thanks for wonderful and thoughtful post!

Karen Pruneau said...

I was given the opportunity to go to a retreat, paid for, so I went. I really needed it. I did not realize how much until the second day. I had been working 10 hour days, bussing the children around, trying to care for my husband who was ill and do everything that was necessary. Even years later I still see that i was headed for a breakdown, but God knew I needed a rest and provided it for me. That being said. I have gone on a couple since and have been dissapointed for the reasons given. The last time my mother asked if I would like to go I turned her down. So there is a place for such times but possibly we should be providing for others to go. I find the family camp or Campmeeting to be a wonderful time, spiritually and for the family.