In war, every great successful battle plan has an equally well planned retreat plan. The retreat plan was planned along with the battle plan. Sometimes things change in the course of the battle campaign and require changes in the battle plan as well as the retreat plan, but retreat must always be considered and planned. Only the suicide missions,(i.e. Kamikaze, etc.) have no plan for retreat or return to safety. It is a fact that all wars have included victories and defeats. The definition of the winner of the war is which side wins the final battle. In order to get to the final battle, the winner must be prepared to retreat from the defeats in such a manner that he can live and prepare to fight the next battle.
Life, marriage, family, etc. are not significantly different from war. Life in total is the ultimate personal war. We war for our very survival (food, clothing, shelter, etc.). We battle to get ahead; to provide well for ourselves, family, marriage, loved ones. In that war, there will be defeats/failures. It’s important that we prepare for the defeats by planning our retreats. It is inevitable that we will have to retreat, perhaps several times when income dries up; when illness or injury occur; or when numerous other negative conditions come about in our lives.
In a perfect world, we would have money set aside, or have insurance policies that would save us from emotional and social pain when we are defeated in one of life’s financial battles. In the real world where most of us live, those protections do not exist. In those cases it is critical that we have the mental attitude that it is ok to retreat with our emotions, health, and relationships (marriage and loved ones) healthy and in tact. That way, we can live to attack life and love again.
In these retreats, the most expendable things are possessions. It is critical that we be emotionally ready to let stuff go. The planning for this would set a priority of possessions. What are the most important thing to keep? What must we have to survive now and start again? Always the top items are spiritual, relational, health, and emotional in nature. With those strong, the physical hardware and property things can be regained. A place to live, food, and transportation are obvious physical things needed, but we can set other item/type of item in order after that. However, we alone cannot always set that priority. Sometimes lenders or others upset the priority…. payments get behind or a specific payment is not possible to make, etc.
The reality though, is that the battles never do stop in this lifetime on Earth. God is in charge, and will have His way in spite of my own shortcomings, doubt, and bad decisions. I believe God is guiding us in a different direction for the next phase of our lives here on Earth. I must remember that the old adage… “God helps those who help themselves” is not Biblical. The Bible teaches clearly that God helps those who depend on Him.
Most important though is that marriage, mental health, emotional health remain strong as we go through letting go of possessions, property, etc. Pride and shame (both are the same like hot and cold) are the things which get in the way most of the time. Humility and honesty are the greatest tools to control pride and shame. It is ok to fail. It is painful, but ok, to not be able to perform (ie pay bills on time, fulfill a promise to a friend or loved one regarding a loan, etc.) as promised or expected. It is very important that communication continue and that restitution be made if and when it is practicable (making sense, not to the destruction of recovery).
Again, above all make sure that Christ, marriage, mental, spiritual, and emotional health, family relationships, be prioritized in that order before all else, especially property and possessions. Opportunities for possessions and property will come again so long as we keep our faith in God and our spouses through our current temporary retreats.