Surrender. It’s been my word of the year. A word so prayerfully chosen at the end of 2014. A word sent straight from God because He knew how much I would need it in 2015, He knew the struggle I would have with it this year. It’s no coincidence, either, that my verse of the year was Zechariah 4:6, “‘Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord.”
Reflecting on 2015, I failed a lot with this word and this verse, but looking back I did learn and can see God’s unending grace in those places I didn’t surrender or allow His Spirit to help me.
Surrender: to cease resistance and submit to God’s authority (yield); to abandon myself entirely, give into Christ, to submit
It’s very easy for me to surrender when the house is quiet and everyone is asleep, whether it’s 2 am or 6 am…but what happens to my surrendering when my littles are up and the rush of the day starts? It often goes out the window with the first (or second or third) confrontation or cross word from a family member, or even a frustrating inanimate object (anyone else know what I’m talking about!?). Ugh. How I wish I could stay in a sacred spot of sweet surrender instead of letting life’s chaos, circumstances, and my to-do list sweep me out from that place, but as the Bible tells us, “…the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 26:41b) Oh yes it is.
Surrender is a constant redirecting of our wills to align with God’s. My will is pretty strong so this isn’t always natural, easy or consistent, but I know so many good things come out of a surrendered heart. Surrender gives me the ability to love, forgive and give grace in the most difficult circumstances. Surrender is love, it is forgiveness, it is grace. It keeps me in the place and position to love and not criticize, to forgive and not grow bitter or angry, to give grace and not judgment. Surrender is freedom. It’s life, victory, peace, joy, purpose, etc…It’s so many good, good things from a good, good God.
In surrender we trust God. It’s sanctification at it’s best and in it we are under the complete authority of our Creator and are greatly guided by Him. He doesn’t force us to surrender, although sometimes I wish He would. He leaves it up to us, it’s our choice; a deliberate commitment necessary to live the life He has called us to live. A life in tune with Him, a life devoted to Him, a life made abundantly full, whole and complete by Him and through Him.
Surrender: to give control to someone else, to allow something to influence me, to give myself over to Christ
Surrender is taking everything I hold on to so tightly and laying it at my Savior’s feet, giving it to Him- my children, my husband, my marriage, this pregnancy, my fears, strongholds and insecurities. It’s trusting Him with my prayers and dreams and believing He will answer them according to His plans, not mine. It’s letting Him have me. It’s choosing to breathe and ask Him for help when my kids are not listening and driving me crazy and all I want to do is yell at them. It’s doing what God has called me to do, even if it goes against the flow; seeking His approval above all else (agh, a tough one for this trying-to-be-ex-people-pleaser). It’s letting go and letting God; saying “YES” to Him and knowing that He has equipped me for whatever He is calling me to do. It’s slowing down and being in the moment, each moment and breath a gift from God to be used for His glory, not my fleshly desires.
Surrender: to agree to stop fighting, hiding or resisting because I know I will not win or succeed
Surrender is choosing to stop and think before responding to someone, because a lot of the time what I really want to say doesn’t line up with what the Lord would have me say. It’s choosing to pause before reacting in a harsh manner towards someone who has offended or misunderstood me and letting God give me the words to say- or not say. It’s letting Him guide me, knowing He is always fighting for me, I just need to be still. It’s giving Him my thoughts and emotions and allowing Him to drive my actions, not my fickle feelings, keeping my eyes on Him, not on what’s going on around me. It’s knowing this life is fleeting, just a vapor, and we are only here a short time. Bottom line, surrender is allowing God to not only be Lord of my life as I claim but to be Lord, King, Ruler, Decision-Maker of my day, my to-do list, my schedule, my relationships, my words, my thoughts, my all.
A friend recently asked when Jesus became real to us, and for me, Jesus becomes real when I surrender. Not that He isn’t real when I’m not surrendering but His awesomness and power are extremely evident in my heart, soul and life when I get out of the way and let Him move and work and mold and do His job.
“Then Jesus said to His followers, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang onto your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” Matthew 16:24-25
As I end this year, I am hopeful. Hopeful that the lessons learned on surrender throughout 2015 will be stored in my heart with gratefulness, knowing how perfect and strong our God is and how imperfect and weak I am. Never forgetting that God can bring good from any situation, even the worst of them, and committing to staying surrendered even if this good might not look exactly like I thought it would. I do pray for my mind, heart and soul to surrender more consistently and deliberately in 2016. Knowing my prideful independent self will at some point resist Him, I am grateful that He will guide me and my strong will back to the spot of sweet surrender never ceasing to give me abundant grace along the way.
A prayer for today~
Dear sweet, sweet Jesus…You made the ultimate surrender when You came to earth, lived, died and rose again for us. You came to do your Father’s will…oh that we may do the same! Your will, not our own. Our lives are Yours! Use us, guide us, direct us and keep redirecting us as we find this place of surrender to You, the One who knows us better than we know ourselves and has a plan of our lives that is far greater than anything we could ever imagine. May we surrender it all, not just the places that are easy or comfortable. We are thankful for Your grace, Your kindness and Your love. How can we ever repay you but to live wholly for You and You alone. Help us get out of the way, help us to only hear and heed YOUR voice and no one else’s. We thank You for the freedom and fulfillment you bring in surrender. In Your Holy name, Amen.
~Do you do a Word of the Year? My friend, Heather Patterson, first gave me this idea and I’m so grateful! Click here to read her blog series about a Word of the Year!
~If you enjoy music, Touch the Sky by Hillsong United is a beautiful song about what happens when we surrender …I found my life when I laid it down…I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground… 🙂
Beautiful message, Sarah. I read an old Jewish proverb the other day: “Do you want to make God chuckle? Make plans.” Fits with your message God has plans for us; we just need to maintain a close relationship with Him so we can discern them! Love, Dad