It is a must*. (*dictionary definition: to be urged, ought, by all means to, to be compelled, or necessary...)
I know it isn't politically correct to say "this or that" is good for everyone. And, yes, I know and believe with my whole heart that we are all unique and very different. I know that any time we make a blanket statement or paint with a wide brush we run into trouble... I know. But, I am convinced--- deeply convinced--- that all of us, yes each and everyone of us, needs to take significant time away to be alone with God.
We need solitude. We need silence. We need to get away. ...to slip away and take time, a good amount of time, to spend with the Father.
We need time to sit still. We need to listen. We need to ponder and pray. We need to ask and wrestle, to read and learn, to study and worship. We need time to relax and just sit with God.
It is a must. And, honestly, if I were forced to pick just one spiritual practice that has had the biggest impact on my life it would be this... spiritual retreats, my get-aways with God.
Now, how you do it---the timing, the place, the surrounding--- will vary, of course. Creativity is key! And, what you do while you are away with Him will indeed vary from person to person. This is where the uniqueness and individuality is so apparent and beautiful. In fact, through the years, the time allotted to this has changed and shifted. And, each time I get away with Him, it looks a bit different. But, the need for solitude and silence, I am certain, is a must.
I just got away with Him. Scheduled months in advance and set apart as sacred on the calendar, I had a long, lingering "date" with God. Was it hard to find time? Yes!! Was it hard to go? Yes, absolutely. Every time there are 16 or 20 reasons why I shouldn't go away.
And, was it sweet? Yes, a thousand times yes! And, challenging. And, tender. And, encouraging. And, convicting. And, difficult. And, refreshing... And, definitely a must for me.
"Our religious activities should be ordered in such a way as to have plenty of time for the cultivation of the fruits of solitude and silence." ~A.W. Tozer
"Solitude begins with a time and a place for God, and God alone. If we really believe not only that God exists but also that God is actively present in our lives--healing, teaching, and guiding--we need to set aside time and space to give God our undivided attention. (Matt. 6:6)" ~Henri Nouwen