Most of my best ideas and thinking come when I've gotten away. I'm not talking about vacation time. I try hard not to think about leading a church when I'm on vacation (Lois, don't laugh, you know I try). But when I go to a conference or to a retreat center or on a recon mission to another church, the ideas start flowing for our small groups, for improving my preaching, for ministry strategy, for leadership development.... Too many to do and not all good, but they flow.That's why I make it a point to get away in a learning environment.
I found this to be true for my personal life as well. There is power for marriage in getting away for a marriage conference, for parenting in getting away for a family camp or father/child retreat, for walking with God in getting away for a quiet retreat, for serving God in getting away on a missions trip. It's refreshing, but it's also creatively invigorating.
A few years into our marriage, Lois and I borrowed a friend's family cabin in Vermont (we lived in MA) and read a marriage book that guided us to develop a five year plan for our marriage. It was a great experience that got us talking about everything while being one of the most beautiful settings I've ever been in (isolated, snow encased, in the mountains). Now that I think about it, we started our family shortly after that. Was that part of the plan?