Last blog I talked about stopping the train and taking a personal retreat. This is especially important at the natural pause points in life, like New Years. But exactly what do you do to maximize this time? 

The first perspective is that it is time away, not time off. This is not a mini holiday where you just do whatever you want.

There is definitely a place for vacations. The word means to vacate, to take an extended period of recreation. You do need this, but that’s not what we are talking about here. We are talking about being very intentional and focused around gaining perspective on your life, and that is no vacation.


Begin your time getting focused and in tune with God, in a listening and reflective mode.

I find it very important to get into the right frame of mind to gain God’s perspective on things. I do this:
  • with extended Bible reading – more than just a few verses. Get your mind and spirit into God’s perspective. It’s there, in His Word.
  • through prayer, invite the Holy Spirit to guide your thinking, shape your heart. Tune in your spiritual ears to pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit, paying attention to ideas and thoughts he may bring to you. Ask him to review the past year with you, giving his perspective.
Step back and get the bigger picture of your life
  • There are two tools to help with this — your calendar and journal
    • (If journaling is not a regular practice for you, we will help you with this in another blog series)
  • Focus initially on the positives of last year:
    • We are told to come into God’s presence with thanksgiving
    • What can you be grateful for? 
    • Note the blessings you experienced
    • Remind yourself of the evidence of God’s presence last year
    • Build a heart of gratitude and thankfulness



Any patterns you see in how you spent your time? Should anything change here?

What were the big events of the past year?

Did you take your vacation times? What happened?

Did you get away from your regular work and take any training?



Review the reflections in your journal.

What were the significant experiences of the past year?

What did God teach you?

Where have you grown?

Where do you need to grow yet?


There is always a mix of good and bad. We’re starting out looking for the good, and building a heart of gratitude. Write them down. Let it encourage your heart.

From this position of strength and trust, you can then turn your attention to the inevitable problems in your life … that’s the topic of the next blog.

Question: What do you do to keep building your faith and trust in God?