Episode 30 – Life After Retreats

Episode 30 Life After Retreats

By unpacking various ways life can unfold after a retreat, Jake and Brett emphasis the importance of assumptions and interpretations and how to keep our hearts alive following a powerful experience of God.

Key Points

  • We can turn to idols as a means of emotional regulation
  • Coming out of a “mountain top” experience can be hard
  • It’s normal for everyday life to not feel much different at first
  • We can have powerful interpretations of our experiences after retreats
  • We need to interpret life well, especially after retreats
  • The enemy is offering suggestions and messages about life, often tearing down the experiences of the retreat
  • It can be valuable to examine life after a retreat and examine the messages and interpretations we’ve made
  • The enemy will try to steal, kill, and destroy the retreat experience soon after the retreat
  • The retreat experience needs time and attention to take deep root in our hearts and lives
  • The parable of the sower and seed (Luke 8) is a great way to examine how our hearts are responding to the seeds that were sown at the retreat
  • We will have to fight for the things that matter
  • The deeper rooting of the retreat experience happens after the retreat
  • Pursuing God outside of the retreat is actually the point of the retreat
  • Retreats provide great soil for new roots to grow
  • Important exercises after retreats include:
    • Prayer (keep the commitment to grow in relationship with time and attention)
    • Nurture the experience on the retreat with attention
    • Be careful about interpretations that can be made
    • Be aware that the emotions might not be the same after the retreat
    • Fight to preserve the good that God did
    • Tell your story to others and be on guard for others to not react well
  • We have to be careful about the unspoken assumptions we brought into the retreat and ones we have about life after the retreat
  • We can assume that after an encounter with Jesus that life will be easy – that’s not true…Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)
  • We can have dangerous conclusions about God after retreats if we aren’t careful like: “I’m screwing it up” or “God is far away and the retreat wasn’t true.”
  • A practical exercises after the retreat to help you get perspective is:
    • Reflect on your heart before the retreat
      • What was my heart like going into the retreat?
      • What were some of my expectations and assumptions going into the retreat?
    • Reflect on what happened during the retreat
      • Recall the good that happened (be grateful)
      • Recall what got stirred up
      • What are your summary reflections?
    • Reflect on what’s happened after you’ve returned home
      • What has happened since you’ve come home?
      • How did you interpret those experiences?
      • What messages have attempted to attack your retreat experience?
  • We can often believe without consciously being aware of it, “If God really loved me, He would…” – this can be good or damaging depending on whether or not the belief is true
  • In examining all the assumptions, expectations, interpretations, messages, we have to ask the critical question, “Are these true?”
  • Get help with interpretation from trusted friends/mentors
  • Continue to talk about the retreat experience
  • Rule 13 – “…when the enemy of human nature brings his wiles and persuasions to the just soul, he wants and desires that they be received and kept in secret; but when one reveals them to his good Confessor or to another spiritual person that knows his deceits and evil ends, it is very grievous to him, because he gathers, from his manifest deceits being discovered, that he will not be able to succeed with his wickedness begun.”
  • Engage in the Rules of Discernment
  • Rule 14 – “he [the enemy] behaves as a chief bent on conquering and robbing what he desires: for, as a captain and chief of the army, pitching his camp, and looking at the forces or defences of a stronghold, attacks it on the weakest side, in like manner the enemy of human nature, roaming about, looks in turn at all our virtues, theological, cardinal and moral; and where he finds us weakest and most in need for our eternal salvation, there he attacks us and aims at taking us.”
  • Jesus is a seeking Saviour

Discussion Questions:

  • What struck you from this episode?
  • Engage in these reflections after a retreat:
    • Before
      • What was my heart like going into the retreat?
      • What were some of my expectations and assumptions going into the retreat?
    • During
      • What good happened on the retreat? (be grateful)
      • What got stirred up in my heart?
      • What are my summary reflections?
    • After
      • What has happened since you’ve come home?
      • How did you interpret those experiences?
      • What messages have attempted to attack your retreat experience?
  • What is something that’s bugging you that might be good to share with a trusted friend instead of keeping silent?
  • What are some of the weak points in your life that the enemy is likely to attack?