A couple of years ago I ran a Busy Women’s Retreat… That might sound like a contradiction in terms. How can we retreat in the midst of busyness? Is it possible to be still, when nothing around you is?

Psalm 46:10 is helpful, but perhaps not in the way it is often used. “Be still and know that I am God,” is frequently the theme of retreats, of going away, leaving the city, leaving your family… to find God.

Withdrawing at times is really helpful — Jesus modelled that — however, how do we encounter God in the here and now?

Psalm 46 is written in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city. And there is plenty going on: the earth is giving way, the mountains are falling, the waters are foaming, nations are in uproar, kingdoms are falling…

In the midst of all of this we see God: sovereign, lifting his voice and capable of melting the earth.

God is present, our refuge, our strength, our fortress.

He is powerful, he can make wars cease.

He tells us in the midst of the chaos to “Be still!” and know that he is God.

The end of the year is an opportunity.

It is an opportunity to be still and reflect.

It is a time to write down the things that we are grateful for in our homes, in our jobs, in our church and spiritual life, and in our community.

I am grateful to God for:

– Family and friends who love Jesus and support me
– Work that continues to challenge, stretch and satisfy
– A church willing to takes risks to serve the community
– Broader movements signalling greater acceptance of the integration of faith and work, as well as women in leadership in all areas of life.

It is also a time to look forward, and to pray that God will help us plan in line with his plans for us.

What are we going to focus on in the different segments of our lives?

– People / Home
– Work / Finance / Education
– Community
– Personal

What are some specific goals — prompted by God — for our career, friends, spiritual wellbeing, personal growth, leisure, partner/romance, church, finance and health? (You may choose other categories.)

Here are some things I am planning for the new year:

– Career: Audit my work projects to ensure they are aligned with God’s purposes, and my particular giftings in teaching, writing and mentoring.
– Friends: Reconnect more deeply with one friend a month.
– Spiritual growth: Continue on Year 2 of my three-year plan to read the whole Bible.
– Personal growth: Continue meeting with my mentor group.
– Health: 90mins of physical activity every day.

What are you grateful to God for?

What goals does God want you to pursue?

These are the questions Seed will be asking our community at the next Coaching Night on Thursday 16th November, 7pm. It will be a time of gratitude, reflection, celebration and expectation.