Are you Resting or Retreating? Here’s the difference…
Your REAL life isn’t waiting for you…
While you rest, recuperate, recenter and re-energize, life is moving forward and your destiny remains unfulfilled.
And here’s the problem: too many people use resting as a cover up for retreat… and their souls know the difference.
I know because I’ve done it.
Once upon a time, I wrote a screenplay, started pre-producing the indie film and, the moment things went sideways, I called the whole thing off, insisting that it was “too much stress” and I needed to “rest and rebuild” before getting back to it. Guess what happened after that? Nothing. I never got back to it.
The Myth of Rest When Things Get Hard
When obstacles to a dream appear in our path, many of us have ‘rest’ as our default mode. We proclaim the virtues of ‘going with the flow’, being ‘patient’, ‘allowing life to unfold’ and ‘being still’ to see what presents itself. However, on the inside, we know the truth: the hard got too hard for us and, rather than face it, we treated from it, not understanding that the lessons we refuse to learn here will follow us over there… wherever ‘over there’ is.
At the end of the day, it’s not really rest but we call it that.
So what is it really?
When the setbacks become too much to bear (or so we think), many of us shrink. We go into a corner to breathe or under a tortoise shell to hide. We contort to get as small as we can, hoping that time away from the problem will give us the strength to eventually face and conquer it.
That rarely happens.
The myth of rest is this: Taking a step back will take you all the way forward.
No, not really…
When things get hard, this is not the time to play small. This is the time to use the resistance of the setback to grow big. This is the moment when the Universe throws down a gauntlet, as if to say, “How much do you believe that this is meant for you? And, given that level of belief, what will you choose to do next?” The Universe loves a stubborn heart and, yet, so many of us move into fragile mode when even the slightest bit of our journey becomes challenging.
The Habit of Grit or the Habit of Quit?
During tough times, we feed one of two habits: the habit of grit or the habit of quit. Grit is tenacity, resiliency, and the ability to, no matter what, take the next step. Grit can only be developed in a life storm. If there are no setbacks, there are no opportunities to develop grit… and grit isn’t innate. It’s not that some people are naturally more gritty than others.
No, grit is a choice.
When you’ve become accustomed to NOT choosing grit, that’s when you find yourself giving into the habit of quit.
Quitting is a habit that quickly becomes a way of life… and it only takes a few instances of quitting to develop the habit. After a while, the person who’s used to giving up when the going gets hard begins to see life as an unfriendly, problem-ridden existence where “nothing ever works out for me.”
The beliefs you hold will dictate the choices you make.
In the midst of a life storm, pay close attention to which habit you’re feeding. The habit you feed will determine the life you lead.
Rest Versus Retreat… What’s the Difference?
Rest is necessary, temporary and exists for the sole purpose of bringing your energy and focus back up to 100. It doesn’t necessarily take months to do rest (or even weeks). It’s not about isolating yourself from the problem, other people or the world. Rest allows you to be in the world, to see and experience the problems and, yet, give yourself what you need to cultivate the level of strength and focus required to overcome the obstacles you’re facing. Rest is an action and a process and you do it because you love yourself, know yourself, and have an autonomy that says “I can meet my own needs.”
Rest is proactive, not reactive.
Retreat, on the other hand, is the opposite. It’s a knee jerk reaction to life. It’s driven from a place of fear (“I can’t handle much more. I need to take a break from this or it’ll crush me”). You may never say those words to another soul but you know what you’re thinking in your head.
Retreating is the choice you make when you feel like you have no other choice.
You do it because you look at the situation as one of sink or swim, live or die and, in the moment, you believe that A- you cannot succeed, B- you are not strong enough to endure and C- the only way to remain in tact is to go away, isolate, and try to fix what is broken within you.
Can you see the problem with that perspective?
And the biggest problem is this- we’ve made rest a noble, powerful act and we reward people for ‘resting’ when what they’re actually doing is retreating- from their power, from their dreams, and from their destiny. We’re afraid to call people out because we fear what they’ll call us names- cruel, insensitive, hard-hearted, “You don’t know what I’m going through…”
And maybe all of that is true.
But here’s what is also true:
If you never go through the fire, you give yourself no opportunity to become it.
The next time you get ready to slow down or give up on a dream or goal, ask yourself, “By making this choice, am I resting or am I retreating?” And listen to your soul for the answer… and if, by chance, you find that you’re retreating, force yourself to get back into the arena and handle the obstacle.
You weren’t born with the quitting habit. You learned it along the way… and you can unlearn that habit in any moment you choose…
There’s a time for rest. There’s never a time for retreat. The obstacles you face are FOR you. They are meant to refine you, grow you, strengthen you and propel your life forward. To fulfill your destiny, you have to redefine rest, rule out retreat and say YES to the obstacles that show up on your path. Until you can do that, you’ll find yourself missing out on life, forfeiting your destiny and not answering the call of your life’s purpose.
Maybe you can live with that. But can you really live with the thousands and thousands of people who also miss out on their destiny because you didn’t live yours?
I didn’t think so…
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