Getting Away: That Line on the Hall Walls Near My Dorm Room

For my junior year of college, I was privileged to be a resident assistant for the 3rd floor of the all-girls dorm.  This meant many things including the fact that I got to “name” our floor for the year.  This is what I came up with.

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Gretchen’s Getaway.  (Yes, I still have my sweatshirt from almost 20 years ago!)

As the highest dorm at Northwestern College (the one in the Twin Cities, not Evanston!), I thought the title was fitting.  While my name happened to be a part of it, I wanted to term “getaway” to be reflected as the feel of our floor.  That when a person arrived “home,” they would truly feel like they were able to relax.  A chance to take a breather and regroup.  Almost like being at resort.  Well, that might be a poor comparison.  Our dorms were filled with mish-mashed 70’s furniture, the lingering scent of macaroni & cheese and the cloud of homework assignments. Although our top floor retreat did have its advantages, the place was not exactly Tahiti.

That must be why giving away mainly tropical vacations has to be rather intentional on behalf of “Wheel of Fortune.”  The idea of soaking in sunshine on the sand while sipping on sweet concoctions seems to bring a smile.  Minnesota winter giveaways – not so much.  (Although I have to say, I loved all of the snow.)  Vacations usually involve sunning and not shoveling for a reason.  When I think of vacation, relaxation and lounging comes to mind.  The word “retreat” is whole other story.

I have been on many retreats over the past decade (or two!)  And once I get there, I always have a great time.  But that does not mean that I do not feel a bit of anxiety beforehand.  This time is no exception.  Our church ladies are having a retreat soon, and I am signed up to go.  I even plan on going.

But I almost wish I could stay home and watch the fall premiere of my favorite show.  Or go with my family to an annual fall gathering (so this is only the 2nd year – that still makes it annual).  Or be here to clean – I am sounding a bit desperate now.  Excuses, excuses – I have plenty.  The biggest reason why I feel this why … while vacations involve relaxing, retreats involve reflecting.  And that scares me right now.  I have had some struggles lately and really do need to pray about how they are going to help me grow.  Avoidance sounds more fun than contemplation.  Even though I know I need some time with God, going away makes me hesitant.

God still seems to have to be teaching lessons that I should have learned two decades ago.  About the purpose of getting away.  The most important part of my college sweatshirt (besides the fact that it was comfortable) was the verse on the back.

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I love the way that Message Bible has paraphrased Matthew 11:28-30.

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

I am in need of real rest right now.  I need to learn his unforced rhythms of grace.  And I also need to trade in my spirit of heaviness for a garment of praise.  (Isaiah 61:3).  To really do so, I need to take time away.  So my feet might be dragging, but my heart is ready to fly away.  I know that God must have something amazing in store for us on this getaway!

P.S. So any time I think of “Get Away” this song comes to mind.  The video is slightly interesting, but I wanted you to be able to read the words.   Best part: gotta get away so you can touch my soul.  That is where I am at.  And who says it better than Toby Mac?  Maybe a few people (including the Bible), but hey, how can you not enjoy his catchy tunes?  I think now I should get away to sleep.  Obviously I am a bit delirious!

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