by Rev. Cynthia Insko,
Minister to Children & Spiritual Formation, FBC Frankfort
In Fall 2005 I was finishing up my first year in a new job. My husband and I had moved our family of three children under age 8 far away from family and friends so I could take a job as campus minister. As many folks do, I worked over 50 hours a week and after a year I was spiritually, physically and emotionally tired.
Then, at just the right time, a life- giving email found its way to my inbox! It announced that CBF was beginning a partnership with Upper Room Ministries which included a 5 Day Academy for Spiritual Formation retreat.
I had visited retreat centers for day trips before, but five consecutive days sounded like a much needed prescription for healing. I wondered how I would manage to take the time off and worried about folks who would have to cover for me at home and work. I listened to the voice inside me saying, “You are not going to make it at this pace for the long haul.”
So I made the necessary arrangements and I went. For five days I joined nearly 50 others in a refreshing rhythm modeled after Saint Benedict’s Rule of Life. I worshiped amidst other ministers and laypeople of several denominations. Several times a day we prayed the psalms. We shared the Lord’s Supper daily. I soaked up the morning lectures by experts in the fields of History of Christian Spirituality and spiritual practices. I relished the silence, hikes in the woods, and free time for naps and journaling.
After returning, I vowed to go back. The experience helped me establish healthier rhythms of work and rest. It connected me with many resources that continue to nourish me. Last May I completed the 2 Year Academy experience in which members attend a 5 day session every 3 months.
Parker Palmer says, “Self-care is never a selfish act - it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others”. Perhaps you are sensing a call, as I have, to self care at this season of your journey. If so, check out http://academy.upperroom.org/. Former KBF layperson at Midway Baptist Church, Johnny Sears, is the director and welcomes questions about the program. I too would welcome the chance to share more with those interested.