The act of surrender is much more than willing yourself to think you’ve done it. I used to live like that was enough. It didn’t feel like I was holding on to anything in my life, it didn’t feel like I was trying to guard things or circumstances myself instead of giving them up to God. Meanwhile, my fists were clenched, stubborn, and relentless in wanting to maintain this ‘control’. Control that I never actually had.
I look back on one particular season of my life where God did a total 180 with everything I had known to be my normal. It felt like everything was shaking, like things just kept on crashing down. And through that, I thought that everything had pushed me to a point of surrender. I thought that God’s purpose behind all of the hard stuff I went through was to remind me that he’s in control. And without necessarily thinking or praying too much about it, I drew that conclusion because it made sense to me. Why else would God make me go through these things?
I started to think to myself, “okay, God. You can do whatever you want with my life because I’m clearly not in control. This is what you wanted, right?”. I assumed that God just wanted to hear me say that. And I was genuinely convinced that would suffice as far as surrender was concerned. If I could say out loud that I would accept whatever happened in my life, God was happy. The thing is, I didn’t feel different saying these things. I may have been shallowly ‘trusting’ God – but that’s much different than laying everything you’ve ever known down at the feet of Jesus and having a joyful heart while doing so.
I recently finished reading “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis. I’m pretty sure that my next 50 blog posts will be on one of his many impactful and thought-provoking quotes. I’m always amazed at how gifted he was at stringing together words in such beautifully convicting ways. With that being said, the ending of the book was particularly powerful for me to read:
“Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” – C.S. Lewis
Surrender is not picking and choosing what aspects of your life God can have. It’s not saying out loud that you don’t care what God does with this part of your life, as long as you still get to do what you want with that other part. It’s total, complete, everything given up, relinquished, beautiful, freeing, burden-lifting loss. It’s losing yourself to find your real self. It’s submitting to death your own desires, your dreams, your wants and ambitions. Trusting completely and fully that God knows your heart better than you do, and loving him so much that even if he doesn’t bring about what you wish he would, that you will still serve and worship him with all you have within you. It’s giving every single ounce of your being to Jesus.
‘Losing’ something never felt so good, so full of joy and peace. The moment I genuinely just gave up the battle of trying to hold onto what I didn’t trust God with was the moment I’ve never trusted him more. The dreams I have for the future that I thought I could make happen, I’ve let it go and God can do with them what he may. No matter where I end up, I will praise him for his faithfulness. The relationships in my life that I can’t create, control, or fix no longer cause me stress or worry. I have joy knowing that the people in my life are here for a reason, and the people who aren’t, aren’t for a reason. There are endless other elements of surrender I could mention, but think about how extensive that list would be. Every little detail of your life laid down to an almighty God. It’s a cool feeling to surrender what you don’t even know you’re surrendering.
There’s a new and refreshed feeling of life within me. I never related to the end of that quote until recently. “But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in”. For me, looking for him meant putting in more effort that I was too lazy to before. It meant opening His word more, praying more, reflecting more, consciously being aware of what He was and is showing me and directing me towards. And trust me, when you do that, you will find Him.
And with Him, a glorious, overwhelming, beautiful, amazing, indescribable amount of ‘everything else’.