Updated: Aug 18, 2021
In 2021 surrender is not a popular word. Yet I would argue this is exactly where you find happiness and contentment. Please don’t run away here. Keep reading.
The emphasis today seems to be more on personal fulfillment by doing my life my way. This appears to take top priority. Certainly submitting to, or giving yourself over to, anything or anyone is not currently recommended. Relinquishing control goes against our nature. Yet, the truth is that over the years we have indeed surrendered ourselves in many ways. Seniors may surrender their driver’s license or their life insurance policies. And every time we went on an amusement park ride, or flew in an airplane, or travelled in a bus we gave up control. When we were children we had to surrender to our parents. As students we had to surrender to our course of study. In personal or working relationships, we also learned to surrender to others, deferring at least to some extent, in order to maintain the link. Yet we’ve developed a strong distaste of surrender because when we did it, I guess we felt we lost something of ourselves.
We fight against subservience. It’s not in our wheelhouse. To surrender wars against our human nature. It would appear that selfishness may be gaining traction. But I’m not saying we have lost the battle!
During the 90’s, I tried to quit my life long addiction to cigarettes. Smoking since age 15, tobacco had both a physical and a mental hold on me. I smoked if I was happy, sad, worried, after a meal with coffee, or even as a meal substitute. I’m sure you get it. My older sons begged me to quit. One smoked and had quit, and one of them never had. So, they instilled in me a real desire to stop. Over the course of about five years or more I tried everything from behaviour modification, placing myself on timed reinforcement intervals, to hypnosis, to Nicorette gum. I even quit buying cigarettes assuming I’d be too proud to beg or borrow-wrong. My ex-husband, a heavy smoker himself, taunted me saying I’d never quit. He even left them here and there all around the house so I’d take one-sabotage. I did manage to quit one time for a whole year when I foolishly accepted one from a relative at a family picnic. I thought I was safely out of its grip but one was one too many. At that point I still hadn’t let go.
Yet I did finally quit. I quit when I fully surrendered my addiction to God. I had prayed about it countless times but a partial surrender had never worked. It had to be all or nothing. It was initially very hard and painful to completely give up my own will, accepting on faith that His plan for my life was far and beyond better than my own. My focus shifted. An hour at a time turned into a morning, then an afternoon into a whole day, then two days, then I had prayed my way through a whole week. I had to become less so that He could become more…and I have always been careful to give Him the glory for this because I know I surely didn’t do it.
I had to say, “Lord, I just can’t do this without you. I can’t do it through my own strength and will.” I gave up my own desires. Surrender is hard and it requires total vulnerability. Surrender is beyond obedience. But surrender is FREEDOM!
Often with aging comes a loss of physical strength. Or sometimes regret and shame fill our daily thoughts. It’s too late to do this or that, or correct that wrong. While we may not be as healthy as we once were, we can move forward positively if we surrender our mind and then our body to our Heavenly Father. We have so many rich promises if only we could learn to surrender! In Isaiah 26:3 we are promised perfect peace, not just peace but rather perfect peace, if we keep our mind stayed on Him. As I get older it is really comforting to me that I can be assured of a divine contentment while the years add up. Yes, we each have an expiry date but why should I worry as I walk into my destiny in total surrender to the one who holds it all!
I’m so happy that this is not a one and done deal. Our Father in his mercy and grace knows we mere mortals need to learn this lesson of surrender over and over during our lives. But I can certainly testify that each time I totally surrender in complete obedience this is when I am truly the happiest, the most content and the most free. Instead of dragging or pulling or struggling to carry my burdens along on my journey, when I walk in surrender, when I acquiesce to the sovereignty of God, I experience abundant life.
“If you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” 1 Kings 3:14