Behind-the-scenes of Surrender

I had a heart that wanted to surrender.  Still do.  My somewhat privileged life had proven to simply not be enough.  There was a void.  Although it contained comfort, it was missing that deep down sense of purpose.  So I had a choice.  We all do.

Comfort or Surrender.

My soul was crying out for surrender. But my flesh and my person loves comfort.  I’m happiest when everything is running smoothly.  I mean, who isn’t?  When friendships are flourishing, marriage is strong, church is thriving and kids are making wise decisions and succeeding.  This is my happy place.  But really,  how often do all of those stars align just so?  Life is messier than that.

I remember that day.  The day when I drew a line in the sand.  That day when I truly surrendered to the best of my ability.  I relinquished every area of my life to Him.  My job.  My family.  My home.  My desires.  I admit it felt good and somewhat freeing to open my fists that had been clenched for some time.  But I wasn’t naive. I knew it wouldn’t be easy.  I fully realized it would involve being pushed outside my comfort zone. Just the enormous unknown of that surrender was difficult for someone who prefers turn by turn directions and an exact time of arrival to my destination.  Heck, I didn’t even have a destination.  That’s anything but easy.

I guess it’s just human nature to start dreaming up the possibilities.  Consciously or not, we try to figure it out right from the beginning.  We should all realize by now, that it will look completely opposite of anything we can possibly think up.  That’s just how God tends to work.  His ways are so much higher.  Bigger.  Deeper than we can fathom.  We simply don’t think alike.  {understatement of the year!}

Woven throughout this journey of surrender have been sincere prayers of purification.  Asking God to purify my heart and motives.  Refining who I am.  Because it appears the deeper we go with God, the more our eyes are opened to just how sinful we really are.  (If we simply measure ourselves using the world’s standards, we don’t look so bad.)  But fortunately, diving into the depths with Him, we also see that grace always outweighs the heaviness of our sin.  It always wins.  It truly is Amazing, isn’t it? Someone should write a song about that. 🙂

I will spare you the details.  And I sure don’t want to discourage you from embarking on your own personal journey of surrender.  Because it is painfully beautiful.  But I will simply say, the road of a surrendered life looks much different than I anticipated.  It has been filled with so many ups and downs.  I knew it may require diving into areas I was not comfortable with.  And enduring tough learning curves.  And patience.  But I had no idea it would include broken relationships, chronic illness, bouts of depression and the guilt that screams “you’re simply not cutting it.”  (I think that may be the worst)

I can’t tell you how many times I have questioned and told God this is NOT what I had in mind.  That my decision to surrender was a noble one and deserved very different results.  How many times did I accuse Him of leaving me and not caring.  I knew He could reach down and change it.  But He didn’t.

Unmet expectations.  They will derail a relationship-any relationship– faster than anything else.

And yet.  (let those 2 words sink in.  Hope just gushes from them!)

And yet, He is so faithful in the midst of it all!

How can we know that, really know that, until we have experienced it?  We must live it.  Breathe it.  Feel it.  And it is there, our eyes are opened wide, and we can see Him more fully.  And those scales that have made themselves at home and hindered our sight for so long, can be painful as they fall away.  Until we are refined by the fire, our hearts remain hard and unbending.  Unknowing.  Simply unaware of other people’s pain.  So, not only do we see God more clearly…we can’t help but to see others more deeply and empathetically.  We are able to have a keen awareness of pain that we didn’t have before.  Our hearts are raw with understanding and care for others.  We are much more inclined to walk with them in the hard.  Lock arms and say “let’s walk together.”  

Because isn’t that what we’re made to do?  To deeply love God.  And others.

And there we circle back to that deeper purpose and my initial desire to surrender.  Perhaps, just perhaps, these fires and struggles are making me more pliable in the Potter’s hands.  Perhaps it’s what was needed for Him to mold me.  Maybe just maybe, it requires brokenness to be made whole.

I don’t pretend to understand.  And if I’m honest, I don’t really like it.  But when I read His Word, I see clearly there is wandering before the Promise Land, heartache before answers, sickness before healing, fires before deliverance and most assuredly death before resurrection.  Yes, it’s hard to wrap our minds around that.  But I’m learning that surrender goes even deeper than saying I am willing.  It also says, I don’t understand this at all but I am trusting You. 

And regardless of our questions, doubts and unfaithfulness, we will find Him in our midst. He will most assuredly rain down manna for the day.  He is always faithful.  Always present.  Always at work for our eternal good. (not immediate comfort)

If you are in a difficult season, I pray that you would know you’re not alone, friend.  And that God would use these words to remind you that He is right there with you.  In the struggle.  And there is purpose in the pain. It will not be wasted.

 

God, you never promised there would be no wandering, no heartache, no storms, no fires, no pain.  But you did promise to never leave us or forsake us.  And that You would work ALL things out for our good and for Your glory.  Please help us as we daily surrender to You.  Thank you for our manna for today.  Proof of Your presence.  Signs of Your love.  Always knowing the exact amount we need each day.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.  Psalm 40:1-2

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