THREE TYPES OF WITHDRAWAL - with Annual Life Plan Retreat tools

This past weekend I taught on three types of withdrawal that we can build into our lives in order to hear from God.  The first two are pretty obvious and are taught on regularly in the church, but the third is one that I've seldom heard taught. 1. Daily Withdrawal

This usually takes the form of starting your day with a dedicated time of solitude, prayer, scripture, and reflection.  For me it means getting up between 5am - 5:30am and spending the first 30-45 minutes of my day reading from scripture, sitting in silence, listening to worship music, and prayer.  My pattern looks something like this:

5 minutes of silence (I'm working on building this to longer times, but I'm seriously ADD)

5 minutes of listening to worship music

10 minutes of scripture reading and meditation (I follow a bible reading plan using the YouVersion app on my iPad)

5-10 minutes of reflection and journaling (I use the DayOne app on my iPad or MacBook)

10 minutes of prayer (both listening and talking with God)

2.  Weekly Withdrawal

Just like it sounds, this is taking time to withdraw from everyday activities and to focus on hearing from God for a time of worship every weekend.  I love what Psalm 73:16-17 in the Message paraphrase:

When I tried to figure it out, all I got was a splitting headache . . . 17 Until I entered the sanctuary of God. Then I saw the whole picture.

If you don't already worship with a local church weekly, give it a shot for the next three months and see if God doesn't begin speaking to you in new ways.

3. Annual Withdrawal

No listening activity has helped me to hear from God and follow God's direction for my life more than taking a 2 day Annual Life Action Planning Retreat.  Each year (usually between Christmas and New Year) I get away for 2 days to reflect on the past year, review my Life Plan, hear from God, and set goals for the next year.

The tool I use for this is based on Michael Hyatt's "Creating Your Personal Life Plan" e-book.

You can download the e-book here.

The basic schedule for my retreat is:

Day 1: Reflection & Review

Morning: Scripture, Silence, and Prayer (2 hours)

Mid-Morning: Hike (2 hours)

Lunch (1 hour)

Early-Afternoon: Review of Prior Year Highs/Lows & Goals (2 hours)

Mid-Afternoon: Prayer Walking (30 minutes)

Late-Afternoon: AS/IS Evaluation of Life Plan (2 hours)

Evening: With family

Day 2: Reflection & Planning

Morning: Scripture, Silence, and Prayer (2 hours)

Mid-Morning: Hike (2 hours)

Lunch: 1 hour

Early-Afternoon: Goal Setting for 2014 in each area of my Life Action Plan (2 hours)

Mid-Afternoon: Prayer Walking (30 minutes)

Late-Afternoon: Bucket List Review, Evaluation, and Goal Setting for 2014 (2 hours)

Evening: With family

Typically, I'll do this retreat as a part of a family vacation while we visit extended family in Michigan over the holiday break.

This process has revolutionized my self-leadership.  I'm a healthier person, better husband, father, and follower of Christ because of this process.

I hope you'll consider giving it a shot for yourself.