One Question to Ask Yourself


I make it a point to get away from my daily grind periodically throughout the year. I need it. I thrive on it. I get my batteries recharged by it. It’s necessary for me to rest and gain clarity. I generally don’t ask one question. But the theme, one question to ask yourself showed up for me.

My favorite retreat center Saint Mary’s Sewanee. is about an hour from my home. It’s awesome to experience the breathtaking view and sacredness overlooking the Tennessee hills of the Cumberland Plateau.

My choice to disconnect from e-mail, cell phone notifications, and Google is intentional. With my journal and an open attitude, I pray a simple prayer, “Here I am, Lord, and I’m ready to listen.”

Preparation for one question to ask yourself

I had a set of seven prepared questions to ask myself and God. It was time to evaluate the year since my birthday was coming up soon. This season of my life was different than previous ones. Much drama and intensity filled the year. I needed to make sense of it in order to move on with uncluttered direction.

I prayerfully reflected. I wrote. I was transparent. I took time to answer all my questions. There. . . I did it!  Yet I didn’t get the peace I longed for.

I slept, because that’s what you do on an individual soul-searching retreat. I woke up the next day with more questions on my mind. I assumed the need to apply those same questions to other areas of my life, not just the past year.

Other Questions 

I began the process again, answering those questions from other angles. I noticed my weariness and became anxious.

I asked God why I needed to ask such questions.

  • Am I being overly analytical?
  • Am I trying too hard to let go of the past?
  • Do I need to figure it out?
  • Can’t I just live in the present without worries of the future?

Other “what” and “why” questions popped into my head.  I tried to avoid the “would’a, could’a, should’a” thoughts that lead to regret and frustration.

The Moments

Some might believe an individual retreat with God would be either mentally tormenting or extremely boring. Although I felt occasional mental torment or boredom, I allowed myself to move through those experiences. I didn’t mind soul-wrestling thoughts and feelings. I’ve come to embrace that as part of the process.

Allowing tension-filled moments have been liberating for me. I’ve never regretted taking a three or four day solitude retreat in the past. I’ve always been glad I did. God has met me there many times and I’ve changed along the way.

The Meditation

I needed a break from the soul-searching stuff. I decided to join a small group of women for their weekly yoga class there on the retreat campus. I liked stretching my body into various poses. I was instructed to pay attention to my breathing and balance.

I felt peaceful during the meditation with my eyes closed lying flat on my back taking in deep breaths. I heard the tender voice of the instructor who seemed to join with God to help quiet my internal world. Silence honored. . . relaxation. . . safety. . . attention to my soul and to God’s voice.

After the meditation, I walked outside to spread out my blanket and take in the moment. I entered into the art of God’s creation overlooking miles of stillness from the bluff view. As I soaked in the beauty, one question became clear.

The Question

“If this day were my last, how would I live it right now in this moment?”

I felt divine love attached to this question as if Jesus were saying to me, “Come over here, Judy. I have something to show you.”

I experienced deep acceptance and worthiness from the Holy Spirit in writing out my answers. I felt peace, and joy, and motivation!

My retreat was a process just as my life’s journey was.

How clear each of our lives would be to ponder questions in the context of a spiritual retreat? To intentionally plan time away from the noisy clutter of daily life. . . to move through the anxiety or boredom. What peace awaits us in the silence of our souls?

May you be encouraged with these thoughts:

  • Embrace the questions you have at this stage in your life.
  • Allow the process and ponder. Move through the emotions.
  • It’s OK to make sense of the past. It’s OK to live in the moment.
  • Make space in your life to quiet the noisy clutter of daily responsibilities.
  • Your life deserves meaning. You are worthy. You are deeply loved.

Here’s the one question to ask yourself,

“If this day were my last, how would I live it right now in this moment?”

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