There is something both amazingly peaceful and supremely frightening about that word. Part of me thinks that giving up responsibility would be amazing. How much time in the day do I use up just making choices and decisions? How wonderful would it be to give that up? Part of me thinks that giving over control is the most horrifying thing a person could ever do. How many times have our role models or heroes shouted, “Never give up! Never Surrender!”? There is a fear of surrendering because surrendering to another, being vulnerable to someone else opens us up to the possibility of being hurt or taken advantage of.
Surrendering to God’s control is much more peaceful and just as frightening, but for different reasons. The fear comes from a place that tells us we are not worthy. We fear completely opening ourselves to God in case He hadn’t noticed before this secret inadequacy of character and drive we have so carefully buried deep inside. We have been hiding from ourselves the places of brokenness and to lay them open before God means that we must also confront them, and there is the real fear. Saying we don’t feel a certain way anymore, or won’t be a certain way anymore has no power unless we ask for God’s help. And I don’t mean in the way of surrendering every responsibility and decision to God. God won’t start making your choices for you after you have surrendered the reins of your life to him. Surrendering your whole self to God allows for you to be guided in the path He has set out for you. The choices (to no longer surrender, to ignore His guidance, or to follow His will) are still ours to make. God desires for us, His children, to reach the full potential and to use the gifts that he has given us to be lights of Christ in the world. And while we cannot accomplish that on our own, we need God’s help, so too does God need us to open ourselves completely to Him for the goal to be attained. The Peace comes from the relationship with Jesus, the peace comes from the knowledge that we are God’s children, loved and cared for completely. Enveloped in His caring once we surrender all that we are into His hands.
But HOW? I hear those words echo as I write. Is it only my heart that calls out these words, do others feel the same? How do I overcome my fear and trepidation and surrender wholly and completely to God? Where do I even begin?
Begin where everything begins. A prayer. Pray, wonder, ask for God’s help, then remember. Remember the things that you forgot you knew... That there is no inadequacy of character or drive, there is no brokenness that is too much for the cross to bear. For that is where surrender begins. With the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross so that we might give over our burdens and brokenness, and live open and surrendered to the love and control of God. I don’t mean that we have to die, literally. But that we must die to the life we are living now, die to the brokenness that holds us separate from God and rise in surrender to His great Majesty and love. (We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. Romans 14: 7-9) It is not what I have done, it is not what I will do that makes me worthy. But simply that I am Yours and you have made me in your image.
And so we pray,
You have created us all with great things in mind. You have given us many gifts and much of yourself so that we might live a meaningful life. But we find it hard to surrender our lives to you. We fear the vulnerability and brokenness in our hearts, and so we fear surrendering to you. But in your immense wisdom you have shown us the way to you. You sent Jesus to us, so that He might be a guide for us. So now we need only courage and strength. Courage to open ourselves to you, knowing we will confront our brokenness, and the strength to lay it at the foot of the cross so we might rise again as messengers of your love to this world. Help us to keep Jesus and His sacrifice in our hearts, to keep that knowledge and guide with us every day. Help us to know that this is a journey, not a destination to see and forget. We are a new creation, we leave the old behind, the brokenness, the fear, and we embrace You, surrender to Your will knowing you will care and guide with infinite love.
This next part is the part I did not share on Saturday:
I speak of this all as if it wasn’t an epiphany that struck me only today, a remembering of something my soul already knew, but that my mind had yet to understand. But to be honest I haven’t quite reached that place of surrender. The fear, the vulnerability and brokenness still grip me as I wrestle with imagined and well rooted inadequacies. Like Jeremiah, when the Lord called on him to begin his work as a prophet I say; “Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a girl.” But the Lord created me. He knew every one of my days before I was born, and he has bestowed his gifts upon me. As it says in the Psalm, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”, and His works are wonderful. I have to remember to lay my fears at the foot of the cross, I have to remember that even though it is scary, in the end there is nothing but peace in surrendering. I know the fear that I have comes from a fear of failing, a fear that I will not be able to accomplish the task that God will ask of me. I know this, and yet I fear letting these go just as much as keeping them. They have become so much a part of who I am, who will I be if I lay them down? Who am I becoming as I walk this path? Only God has the answers, and I must open myself to them. Would you pray with me?
Everything you have made is glorious. I am one of those creations. Hold me close, Lord. I open my heart and life to your direction. Whisper your orders into my heart, and help me find the strength to listen well. I lay at the cross my fears. Fear of being laughed at, fear of missteps, fear of losing, fear of not achieving that which you have planned for me, fear of the unknown and fear that in the end I will fail and will be a disappointment. Take these from me, and pour into me your spirit. Amen.