No Retreat, FULL Surrender
Whenever I hear the “no retreat” the image of the Spartans in the movie 300 pops into my head. Armed with nothing more than shields and spears, the army of a measly 300 soldiers hold their ground against the mightiest of opponents.
Naturally, “no retreat” is typically followed by “no surrender” which I feel needs an asterisk.
The Spartans certainly would never consider surrendering to the Persians, but they did surrender well before any battle began. Their commitment, their loyalty could never have been so steadfast if left to their own will. No, they surely surrendered - to Sparta.
To look at it from a different perspective, consider prisons for a moment. Who do you think the most powerful people in prisons are? It’s not the guards or wardens. It’s not necessarily even the most violent criminals serving time.
The most powerful people in the prison are always those serving life sentences. There is no retreat, not because they refuse to surrender but because they’ve been forced to surrender. They are out of options, so they surrender to the life of a man spending his remaining years in prison.
Oddly enough, our lives align with this as well.
Why Should We Care?
See, we all surrender.
It’s just a matter of what, or whom, it’s to.
Some people surrender to greed. They work hours upon hours in an effort to get ahead, provide more for their family, take the next great vacation, buy a nicer house, impress their co-workers, … They chase their dream of wealth with no consideration of retreating. But, they’ve definitely surrendered to their pursuit of more.
Some people surrender to their desires to be liked. They morph their words, actions, and eventually thoughts to match whatever they think other people want from them. Their pursuit of popularity and acceptance never draws back. These people have not only surrendered, they’ve laid down their own identity in hopes of being accepted as a cheap imitation of someone else. They’ve surrendered their true self.
Some people surrender to mediocrity. They become so in love with their own ego that anything causing imbalance to their ideal self is a threat. This fear paralyzes growth, yet the comfort of safety keeps beckoning. They won’t retreat for fear of being discovered as the fraud they suspect they are. But, the white flag of surrender is clear to see. They surrender their potential.
Of course, there’s many, many more things we surrender to.
Surrendering isn’t really an option in life.
We’re going to surrender to something.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
Why not intentionally give ourselves to something worthy of the one life we get to live? We may not realize it, but the decision is ours to make. It need not be left up to chance. Here are a few areas of life worth a full surrender and no retreat.
I read a phrase many years ago that’s always stuck with me: “a man praying on his knees never has to retreat”. Fully surrendered and accepting of his fate, retreating becomes unnecessary. Rather than chasing his will, he embraces the will set forth for him. We should all pray from our knees.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.