We Do Not Retreat

We Do Not Retreat

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for humans, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” – Colossians 3:23-24

Over the past week, The H is For… has gone dark in order to take the time necessary to listen, learn, and reevaluate the way we work, as well as to amplify the voices of those crying to be heard in the wake of generations of racial injustice in our country and around the world. The week was hard, for me especially. The work to be done was a deep-rooted heart-work, turning inward and upward and pushing past the pain of conviction. After pursuing God’s word on the matter, I learned that good intentions aren’t enough to lean on, and that the gospel (the life and words of Jesus) urge us to speak for the voiceless and stand up for those in need (and the oppressed) everywhere. This past week forced me to look at the world for what it really is – broken, dirty, and far from what God designed this it to be when He created Eden.

When the rose colored glasses came off, the grief set in. I genuinely grieved for God’s children – those I know and those I don’t know – in ways I haven’t before. I prayed that He would break my heart for what breaks His, but I’ll admit… I wasn’t prepared for Him to actually do it. Needless to say, this last week was eye opening, convicting, full of pruning, and just plain hard.

In a conversation with my friend, I told her I was exhausted and that the heaviness of it all was taking its toll. She responded with words that have changed my response… I want to share her words with you too, if you’re feeling tired and heavy like me:

She said, “Yes… But we do not retreat, Chandler. We do not retreat.”

She’s right. We do not retreat.

No matter what it is you’re facing – a health issue, a lost job, a broken relationship, a global pandemic, or the work of racial reconciliation within your own heart and life, you must fight the urge to retreat… even when it feels like you can’t go on. Here’s why:

As women of God, we were created with power, love and discipline… not fear (2 Timothy 1:7),
and as followers of Jesus, we’ve been empowered by the Holy Spirit (John 6:36).

If we know the gospel, we know that there’s an answer for this broken world (John 14:6),
and that God wants us to bravely seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with Him (Micah 6:8).

We know He gives strength and endurance to the weary (Matthew 11:28),
and that He will fight on our behalf when rest in Him (Exodus 14:14).

… so rest up, sister, but do not retreat.

What does retreating look like?
It looks like going back to normal, unchanged.
It looks like leaning into ignorance because it’s more comfortable than learning the truth.
It looks like living a mediocre version of faith in order to focus on the benefits of Jesus without having to truly pick up your cross and walk through the muck and mire.

It all comes back to the gospel. As Christians, we do not retreat because Jesus did not retreat from the cross. He did not retreat from this broken world, and He does not retreat from His broken people.

We decide to move forward, changed, because we ourselves have been changed by Jesus. We first do the work in our hearts, turning to Him, then share His love in the world around us. Once that’s solidified in our hearts, our lives transform… and the fruits are love, patience, kindness, peace, joy, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Yes, it’s hard and heavy. Sanctification is hard and heavy.
Yes, we’re exhausted. So let’s turn to Him and find rest.
Yes, it seems impossible. But with God nothing is impossible.

When things get heavy and hard, we do not retreat.

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