Retreat makes me think of running a way…in fear…because the enemy is winning. Sometimes, retreat does mean that exactly. It’s a last resort before defeat is final. You retreat to fight another day with hopes to win the battle.
I am a fan of dictionaries. One, because I love learning and understanding words (strange, I know). Two, because I am a poor speller, and yet I don’t always believe the red squiggly lines under words I have typed. Here are parts of the dictionary definition with some thoughts thrown in:
retreat |riˈtrēt|– verb [ intrans. ]
#1-21. (of an army) withdraw from enemy forces as a result of their superior power or after a defeat. 2. move back or withdraw, esp. so as to remove oneself from a difficult or uncomfortable situation.
There are times we are overwhelmed by a “superior power” as well as times of “defeat.” Time to retreat. I need to retreat with my kids. I can be sucked into a power play of a 2-, 7-, or 9-year old. My relationship with my 13-year-old is morphing into something else. But, I can think of many of times I should have retreated. I need to back off, tap out, get a break. If I don’t, I am sure to let out all my ugly. I can be ugly…real ugly. Personal time out, even for a few minutes, is a necessary ally to make it without coming to ultimate defeat.
#44. (of an expanse of ice or water) become smaller in size or extent : a series of trenches which filled with water when the ice retreated.
I’m going to get a little symbolic with this one. Other than certain parts of my body I wish would retreat, I don’t advocate becoming smaller as a goal. But, there is a lot of room for me making life a lot less about me. Sometimes the “about me” is too big. The stress rises because the water all over the floor is about me having to clean it up. The food I need to make (or buy) because someone only ate two mouse bites out of their apple before pitching it. It’s about my blocked goals. Me. Me. Me. There are times I do need to take me into greater consideration. But, more often, I am too big. If I gain a smaller me perspective, the changes I make often help me win too.
#55. change one’s decisions, plans, or attitude, as a result of criticism from others : his proposals were clearly unreasonable and he was soon forced to retreat.
Retreat can be very valuable in the face of criticism. It is essential for me. I despise face-to-face criticism directed at me. I must retreat to reflect on what was said. Was it true? Was it partially true? Ok, was there anything–even tiny–I must admit? Probably. Even if I am wrongfully accused, lessons for me await my discover. In the end, I may not change my decision or plans. Attitude, hum, there’s always room for a check there. If I am in my right mind, I am open to the Maker of my soul to help me see the me I cannot readily see. There’s wisdom in retreat.
#66. (of shares of stock) decline in value : [with complement ] shares retreated 32 points to 653 points.
I actually worked for a stock brokerage firm for a little while. The gist with stocks is if the company is doing well, or believed to do well in the future, the value of the stock goes up. If news of the business is bad, or believed so, the value goes down. People want to own stock because they believe it it’s value. They sell because they want to invest somewhere else. (It can get a lot more complicated. This is not a tutorial on understanding the stock market.)
If your life doesn’t have investors, it’s sure to decline. The value of what you can offer will decline. The satisfaction you have in life declines as well. We need others to invest time, energy and resources in us. In return, we need to invest in others as well. Retreat, in this case, is something to avoid. In order to avoid retreat, active energy to pursue healthy, life-giving relationships is a must.
#7, 37. withdrawal for prayer and study and meditation. 3. withdraw to a quiet or secluded place.
I am going on a women’s retreat this weekend. This the definition I most often associate with retreat. I am not running away from danger, defeat or criticism. I am taking time to allow God to work in me. I will have the opportunity to pray, study and meditate. I will have time to be alone. And, I will have time to invest and be invested in. I fully expect to laugh and have fun too. But, more than anything, I hope to take a break from the run-run-run of my normal days and allow God to redirect my path to better align with Him.
Note: Dictionary used for definitions is Dictionary, Version 2.1.3 (80.4), Apple Inc., Copyright 2005-2009 and Terminology