I've had the opportunity to experience a few different types of Christian retreats; mostly 3-4 day weekends. I've also experienced mission work. The reward I received from each of these experiences has been different; but after each experience, for the most part, my spirit has been renewed and the presence of the Holy Spirit very noticeable to me.
Recently I spent the weekend at a retreat that I have the opportunity to attend about 3 times per year - Cursillo. (Cursillo is a "short course in Christian living" and has also been known as Walk to Emmaus, Via deCristo, and other names depending on the denominational affiliation). It's a time of worship, praying, sharing and among other things, a personal renewal of faith.
Many times throughout a weekend like this, I hear people say "I love the [spiritual] 'high' I get [from coming to this weekend]" or having a "mountain top experience." Spending a weekend focused on serving and worshipping God will do that to a person; a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit is what is needed occasionally.
I have had many times of personal renewal and an anointing of the Holy Spirit outside of experiences like this as well; in a earlier post ("I Spy...God") I talked about an experience when I felt the presence of God in my chest and He was so big in me that I had to breathe in -LITERALLY breathe in- to make more room for him. Incidences like that for me are spiritual highs or mountain top experiences. I'm trying to be more aware of the ways in which God wants to bless me like that - intentionally looking for him in my every day life!
My most recent weekend retreat didn't result in a spiritual "high" or mountain top experience. Did I miss something? Was my heart not in the right place? What is wrong with me? How do I make sense out of this?
Earlier in my Christian walk, this would throw me off; I would lose heart and it would take weeks and months, at times, to get back to a point where I felt secure in my relationship with Christ. I based so much of my personal walk with God on a "feeling."
At this moment, I am dry. Feeling empty. But I am not discouraged.
I have come to understand that along with the "highs" come the "lows." That my relationship, my growth, my security in Christ is not based on a feeling.
One of my favorite new songs right now is called "The Motions" by Matthew West; the lyrics inspire me to continue to persevere and seek God right now - even when I can't feel him. He sings: "...Cause I don't wanna go through the motions! I don't wanna go one more day without Your all consuming passion inside of me...No regrets, not this time, I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind! Let Your love make me whole, I think I'm finally feeling something', Cause just okay is not enough. Help me fight through the nothingness of this life..."
"Be strong. Take courage. Don't be intimidated. Don't give...a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down; he won't leave you." Deuteronomy 31:6 THE MESSAGE.
I feel that!