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retreat

August 20, 2010

re˙treat

  1. movement back: a movement away  from danger or confrontation, back along the original route
  2. withdrawal from position: a withdrawal from a position or point of view to one intended to lessen conflict
  3. quiet time: a period of quiet rest and contemplation in a secluded place
  4. quiet place: a quiet secluded place where people go for rest and privacy
  5. safe place: a place where people or animals go to avoid danger or capture

These last two weeks have been quite full…but were a retreat for me.

They have been full of walks, talks, day trips, laughter, holding hands, picking tomatoes that have been struck with blight (yes- tears were part of this retreat too), canning, thinking, cooking, viewing, eating, drinking, sewing, singing, dancing, scraping walls of old paint for new paint, sharing stories and reading stories.

What I mean by retreat here draws on all five of the above definitions provided in the Encarta Dictionary.

This retreat has been a time spent in places that have allowed me to step back and think about my actions…my words so that I can avoid divisive confrontations.

As I have reflected on before, I have a hard time interacting and respecting those who, from my perspective, are judgmental and unloving. While I know this constant struggle is rooted in my experiences as a young, naïve, developing, and reactive adolescent…it remains a plank in my eye. One experience this past week has helped me in beginning to remove this plank, hopefully with some level of permanence…

Last week I was singing in front of the church and all I wanted on my feet were flip flops. Normally I wouldn’t think twice about wearing such footwear to church, but I was going to be helping lead worship…and something made me pause as I chose what to wear. I struggled for awhile with my rebellious side who said, “If someone has a problem with what I wear…then it is THEIR problem.” Then I heard the whisper of a verse that I haven’t thought of for a long time… Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way (Romans 14:13)… My knowing that (or sensitivity to) one person might be so distracted or troubled over my footwear requires me to consider their beliefs and feelings. Yes…they are just flip flops…but to him or her…they are flip FLOPS! If it was someone close to me, I would talk with them about it…but the truth about it is that I don’t know who may or may not have a problem with flips flops on the feet of someone helping lead worship…and worshipping our LORD is what we are there for, not worrying over what people are wearing. Yes…I could make a statement…but they are flip flops…is it really worth chancing division between me and my brother or sister or worse yet…interfering with their retreat…their time of worship?

Sooo, I’ve learned that a real retreat for me was informed by allowing time and space for other people’s retreat …this discovery continues to restore who I am and who I believe God has created me to become. Growing is not easy…but possible through careful and thoughtful listening.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2010 7:30 am

    Did you know that you activated the comments? I know that at first you weren’t wanting a comments section on here. You can still delete mine and turn them off if you prefer… but, great post. I’ve thought similar things at times lately. At other times, I see opportunities to push a little, but those are usually in times of smaller community rather than on a platform. What I like most about your post is the thought that “worshipping our LORD is what we are there for, not worrying over… (Fill in the blank)”.
    Good observation. I will try to remember that next time I try to push people or make a statement in a setting that distracts from the true purpose of worship. Thanks.

    • August 31, 2010 10:15 pm

      I know…I finally feel comfortable actually talking WITH people who disagree with me or don’t understand me. So…I’m letting people comment.

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