Living in full surrender to God, what does that even mean?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, ‘surrender’ means “to give something that is yours to someone else because you have been forced to do so or because it is necessary to do so.” (emphasis is mine)
That sounds like some tough stuff…right?
Humans Crave Control
Giving something or EVERYTHING over to anyone else, even God, requires some audacious trust and faith.
As humans, we LOVE the idea of having control, don’t we?
We like to think, if we do this or that, that things are going to work out according to our plan. If we plan enough, work hard enough or do enough that our plan should come to fruition, right? We almost use the word “should” with an attitude of entitlement.
Well…how often does life go according to our plans?
What Happens To Our Surrender to God When Life Misbehaves?
I would venture to guess that if you have air in your lungs that life has not always gone according to your plan.
Am I right?
I think more often than not, things rarely happen the way we imagine that they would or desire them to.
As I get older, I am beginning to realize more and more that there is an expanding gap between my plan and God’s plan, my timing and His.
It is one thing to say that I fully trust God and I surrender to His will for my life when everything feels like puppies, unicorns and glitter!
But, it’s an entirely different story to proclaim God’s sovereignty over our lives when things are really HARD and they HURT!
Can I get an AMEN?
When God’s Goodness Doesn’t Feel Good
When my husband required open heart surgery out of the clear blue and I had a two month old baby at the time…that was DEFINITELY NOT in my plan!
Or, when my 57- year- old, perfectly healthy Mom, was diagnosed with the deadliest form of brain cancer after her birthday party, with no signs, symptoms, or advanced warning!
Come on God, I do not see or feel the goodness in your plan here at all! Matter of fact, it feels an awful lot like a terribly cruel joke!
Trust me, I totally GET IT!
Surrender to God and the Lord’s Prayer
When we pray the words to the Lord’s prayer, how often do we really listen to what we are saying? If we were to really listen, would we actually mean what we were professing?
“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done…”
How many times have we prayed that very phrase over our lives and never gave a second thought to what that actually means or how we might really LIVE that out in our daily lives?
It wasn’t until one of our pastor’s preached a sermon on the Our Father Prayer that the words of that prayer actually came to life for me. I had prayed that prayer a million times before, since a very early age, and I think it had become so rote and routine that the words became mechanical instead of meaningful.
But, after that sermon, I felt like I had one of those adult “light bulb” moments where things instantly became crystal clear!
“Thy will be done,” took on a profound, new meaning in my life.
HOWEVER, if I’m honest, that light bulb moment led to panic and FEAR!
FEAR flooded my mind and stirred up all of the “what if’s” that laid dormant in my heart and in my mind.
Suddenly, I felt really overwhelmed.
“Thy Will” is NOT My Will
Living a life in full surrender to God and His will for our lives is meant to be unconditional…no limitations, rules, but’s, etc. We can’t pick and choose when living in surrender to God is going to be convenient for us. That is NOT how God intended it to be.
But, how often do we try to manipulate God’s perfect will to perfectly align with our heart’s desires? We claim with our mouths that His will IS in fact perfect BUT ONLY IF it looks just like our plan or has the same outcome as it does in our heads and in our hearts.
Keeping it real here… I’m embarrassed at the number of times I can recall that I acted like a two year old having an all out temper tantrum when things were not going my way or the way that I thought they should.
I’m simultaneously ashamed and amazed, how in one breath I can profess “thy will be done,” and then as soon as the next breath comes, I can be kicking and screaming, trying to white knuckle my grip, my way, in my time.
Lord Help Our Unbelief
We serve a God who is all knowing and all powerful. He sees things that we cannot see and he knows things that we cannot know.
In Scripture, Paul says, “and we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28, NLT)
IF we believe that God’s word is TRUTH, then why do we struggle with surrendering our will to His? If He is going to work everything out for our good, than why in the world do things feel so awful sometimes?
I’m sure there is a more intellectual answer to this question but quite simply, we are HUMAN. God knows that this is not easy for us and not something that we can do on our own without the constant help of the Holy Spirit and intercession of His Son, Jesus.
I wish I could say that as I get older or more mature in my faith that the daily struggle to surrender becomes easier…however, if I’m honest, I still find it’s something I really wrestle with daily.
Full Surrender to God is a Constant Struggle
Full surrender to God is not just about one, single isolated choice. It is the million little choices we make each and every day to hand over control to the Lord and to place every single thought, word, action and decision at His feet.
Full surrender is approaching God’s throne with open hands and an open heart and willingly telling him to have his way with us, in us and through us…no if’s, ands or buts. It is truly believing over and over and over again that God is who he says he is and that he is capable of doing what he says he will do and then actually do it!
Surrender is knowing that God’s timetable is not the same as our timetable and accepting that His timing trumps ours.
Surrendering to God is whole heartedly trusting that His plan is perfect even if and especially when it collides with and derails our hopes, dreams and expectations.
Having lived through some personally heart wrenching circumstances, where the outcome was not one of my choosing, I have learned that surrender is not easy and it must be an intentional choice of choosing God’s will over our own.
In the moment, it might feel better or more comfortable to work hard to manipulate our circumstances so we arrive at our desired outcome. However, we will never be fulfilled or experience that crazy peace that surpasses all understanding if we try to strong arm God into giving us our own way, in our own timing!
Learning to surrender to God is a life- long process and one that will ebb and flow as time goes on.
One of the most profound things I heard recently came from a Christian Worship Artist, Natalie Grant. I was listening to the radio one day and as she was being interviewed and she said something that spoke directly to my soul, “God’s goodness is not dependent on the outcome of my circumstances.”
Wow! YES! I desperately want this to be the anthem of my heart!
My Prayer for Sweet Surrender to God
My prayer for you and for me is that throughout our lives we will learn to more readily say “Yes God, YOU ARE GOOD…Even If…”
Our lives will continue to be littered with bumps, bruises and detours but through it all, his ultimate desire is to carry you from where you are now, to where he wants you to be. Take heart my friend, you do not journey alone.
We pray and pedal on together with Christ at the helm and community by our side!