SURRENDER? WHO ME?
Excerpts from Why Surrender is NOT a Four-Letter Word:
Because I withdrew more and more I took on a sense of feeling invisible. The longing I had to be recognized was fertile soil for the festering anger that was growing inside of me. As I grew older and knew I was no longer under the “control” of someone bigger than me, I gave myself the freedom to express that anger without fear of parental punishment. Each outburst revealed a child within screaming, “Pay attention to me!”
Do you have a friend who has just met the man of her dreams and you are looking at that lump on the sofa, guzzling beer and belching show tunes–and wondering where you went wrong? Shame on you.
Are you wearing the outside garments of humility while your undergarments are bunched up because your neighbor just bought a new car? Your lacy envy is showing.
Though God is persistent, he does not force his way into our lives. But that tugging at our hearts? That’s him. Standing in the doorway, peeking in the window, waving his hands wildly to get our attention—until we acknowledge him. Then he rejoices!” And the adventure begins!
I have a confession to make—I think. Perhaps it isn’t necessary, but I am not leaving anything to chance. I may or may not give the impression that I have successfully and completely transitioned from a struggling, out-of-control misfit, to a living, breathing, saint. If that is the impression that I have given even one person, shame on me. That said, while I definitely haven’t been canonized, I have gained new insights, and a realization of how far God has brought me and just how far I have to go.
How Am I Doing So Far?
I hate when God says to me, “Woe to you, hypocrite!” So with great trembling I daily ask him to keep me in line and tell me when I am messing up – and he cheerfully obliges. Sometimes it’s not pretty. But that’s ok because my heart is gradually able to accept that he loves me, I mean really loves me! I don’t have to play games with him, I don’t have to make excuses, and I don’t have to try to impress anyone. That creates the freedom that comes from knowing that I can do nothing to gain God’s love and – Hallelujah – nothing to lose it!
Are we there yet?
Often our relationship with God is us trying to impress him and others while excusing our own bad behavior. All the while, trying to keep control of our miserable lives. Surrender frees us and brings us to the reality that, surprise, God knows us inside and out. He knows every flaw we try to hide, and every misstep we try to cover up.
And if that weren’t enough (drum role please), what surrender is not is a once-and-finished event. It took me a long time to realize that. Which is why I felt I could never get it right. I can tell you, there will always be moments my old self returns from the dark recesses of that black hole I thought I had sent her off to. I shutter to think that she is still hanging around. On the other hand, she reminds me how much I need God. Those are moments when others just stare at me in disbelief: “What were you thinking?” You know, they do that head wagging that says loud and clear, “Poor thing, you’re hopeless.”
Yep, I used to think that too, until one fateful day when I read a scripture verse. One I had read hundreds of times before. But this time I got it! Luke 9:23 says, “…If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Do you see it? He didn’t say, “Get it right the first time or else.” He said, “Yes, life is hard and you will struggle and make mistakes, and fall, again and again and again (you can throw in a few more “agains” for me). But through my strength, you will pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and begin again.”
And again. I am a new creation in Christ, and so are you, every single day! Praise be to God. Can I get an AMEN?!
God’s richest blessings to you and those you love,