Off the Beaten Path

Think you don't have the time or ability to get quiet and alone? According to personal retreat director Brenda Jank, your life and faith depend on it.

Silence and solitude don't seem to fit with our busy lives as we juggle family, church, work, friends, and school responsibilities. Brenda Jank says otherwise. In fact, silence and solitude are deeply embedded in her life in the form of personal retreat. Brenda, along with her husband, Tim, run Camp Lutherhaven, a year-round outdoor ministry center in northeast Indiana that offers personal retreats. Brenda also directs Run Hard, Rest Well, a ministry dedicated to bringing personal retreat to people of all ages and stages in life. She knows the spiritual, emotional, and physical benefits of practicing silence and solitude amid her busy life as wife, mother of five, and ministry leader.

TCW: How did you first discover the importance of silence and solitude?

Brenda: I'd been working at a church in Chicago in the early 1990s when the senior pastor mandated that each staff member had to take a personal retreat day once a month for the next six months.

I was so relieved because I was exhausted and aware of how much was going out of my life and how little was coming in. But I was also panicked because I couldn't pray for more than five minutes at a time.

I figured I'd work on a youth Bible study while on my retreat, but the senior pastor saw my bulging briefcase on my way out and told me three things: rest well, listen carefully, and produce absolutely nothing. I left my briefcase behind. I had permission to get away, and God did a work in me on that quiet day.

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Ann Byle
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Listening; Retreat; Silence; Solitude; Spiritual disciplines
Today's Christian Woman, October , 2010
Posted October 1, 2010

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