Episode 7: Choose Surrender
Surrender is a hard thing.
We all struggle with learning how to Surrender, which isn’t a shame statement, it’s real-life observation.
Learning to trust God, and surrender to His will is a process. A necessary, and sometimes painful one worth every moment investing in.
Alone listening to a podcast on my way to work that day – just me, Jesus, and a wandering mind mulling through events of the morning, processing things that didn’t happen, and those that did, but should have gone differently.
I’m a fixer – Anyone else? Maybe it’s; frustration when your husband can’t find his shirt, the bills when money is tight, the pain when your little one falls, your home when it’s a mess, etc.…whatever it may be, I have a desire in me to get things done – to fix them …physically, emotionally, mentally – it doesn’t matter – let me roll up my sleeves, get out of my way – I’m going to get it done.
That day however – was a bad morning, and I was a mess.
A home should be filled with peace, love, joy, comfort – but, I cannot be these things on my own, and this day magnified my inability.
Somedays the house is a wreck, our schedule is bursting, the kids are crazy, the dog is barking, and I am at my wits end – I don’t know how to be peace, love, joy, and comfort in these moments. I hate to admit it, but my fix it nature doesn’t always work – some days like this one, I fail – like miserably, and I’m left in a swarming pit of shame, near drowning in negative thoughts that I’ve got to get under control, capture, and crucify.
As I sat there in my car mulling through things – one of those gracious moments of revelation happened and God opened my eyes to see, No, I cannot be the peace, love, joy, and comfort my family needs but I do know the God of peace, love, joy, and comfort – and rather than trying to strong arm my way through – I needed to surrender to Him. Which is powerful truth we all need to hear.
We cannot be the perfection in our home, but we can ask the God of perfection into our home.
We have really great intentions – we want to do our best, be our best. However, when we don’t meet those standards, we’re often left feeling defeated without ever considering that maybe, this thing we are attempting to fix is not ours to mend.
As women, we like to think we have everything under control, exuding an air of perfection to those around us. We want desperately to seem as though we’ve got it all together, because anything less than that tells the world we are not the woman we are supposed to be – or so…we think…
My original thoughts in my car that morning were not surrendered, and I wasn’t planning to do any waiting on the Lord to work me out, I was attempting to work things out myself, preoccupied with thoughts thinking, “Tomorrow I will do this – this way, and that – that way,” problem solving my way to perfection. Truth – Jesus never asks us to fix ourselves, and he never asks us for perfection. Actually, He longs to be our, “fixer” and our perfection. We see that in Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were yet sinners. Those are some of the most beautiful words we’ll ever hear. While we were yet sinners – he did his own sleeve rolling, declaring to the spiritual realm – take a seat, as He alone took care of a mess we would never, and will never have the ability to problem solve on our own – as He alone fixed something we could never do. As through his perfection – we were redeemed.
If ever there was a fixer – it IS the Lord.
Isn’t it mind blowing, let’s think about this for a second. We quickly trust Him with our salvation, yet we struggle trusting Him in other areas? I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around that lately. We’ll eagerly trust Him with the eternal salvation of our soul, but the temporal – Mmm, not so much. We struggle to trust Him with our bills when money is tight, our parenting when we don’t know what to do, our occupation when we don’t know our next step, directing us to a spouse, our stress when it piles on, trusting Him with the unknown of the here and now… yet we’ve place our hope for the life after this – the one that has no end… willingly in His hands…
We all struggle with this – and that’s not a shame statement – it’s real-life observation.
Learning to trust God is all part of the sanctification process. Sanctification is a refining. It is NOT a one and done moment in a baptismal tank – and it is not perfected the moment you receive that baptism of the Holy Ghost. Those things – are absolutely necessary. We cannot make it to Heaven without being baptized in the name of Jesus, and receiving the Holy Ghost with that evidence, that sign that we have indeed received it – the one we learn about in Acts 2:38 speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterance… Those things are necessary, but they are not the end all of what God desires to do in us. No matter how wonderful, and earth shattering both events are – these moments actually mark the beginning of this process. It’s a process God desires every believer to endure. But it’s one we all have freedom to choose how far we’ll allow God to take us through. Through sanctification, a person is set apart for a purpose, purified from sin, and consecrated for the purpose of the Lord. Which may be a lot to take in… this whole separation thing… and is really a topic for a whole different episode… so for now, let’s table the depth of that topic, and just understand that Sanctification is a process God consistently called His people into – we see it clear back to Abraham. It’s a beautiful truth which requires a whole lotta surrender.
When it comes to trusting God with different areas of our life, I imagine it this way, we’re holding on to a treasure, that treasure is our idea… our plan.. our thought. But God is our Creator. He knows why we are here. He knows our gifting better than we do – and He ultimately knows that is going to satisfy our soul. In order to get us there God ever so gently works to draw us through this sanctification process to pry our fingers off of that treasure into that place of absolute surrender. The place where we accept His ways are higher than ours (even in the midst of the pain and uncertainty) and are willing to decrease by laying everything down, take our hands off of things, in exchange for Him to increase by allowing room for His will, His plan, His purpose… But to receive it, we’ve got to let go, and letting go is typically followed by a wait as He works to reveal the next step.
You know.. I’m a fan of the “bippity, boppity, boo” method. Cinderella, and her fairy Godmother – wouldn’t it be wonderful if that’s how our interaction with God was? But it’s not – that’s not realistic.
Instead – Ours is a pray, seek, wait sorta method.
I can’t stand waiting. I loathe having to wait at a doctor’s office. To hear back from an interview. To find test results. No matter the type of waiting – I can’t stand it. And you probably can’t either. I know you can’t because we love things like microwaves, instant pots, 2 day (and now even less) shipping, Instacart, Door Dash, all of these things. And there’s nothing wrong with these things in and of their selves. The problem is how they shape, and condition us to think EVERYHING is that quick. I had to wait six weeks on a package over the Holidays – and it was infuriating me to a level that was embarrassing. Because we want what we want, when we want it, on our terms. “Bippity, Boppity, Boo.”
However, no matter how strong our feelings toward waiting are, they have no impact on the fact that God says it’s a requirement to His plan.
His plan uses waiting in a painfully necessary way. It purges the conditioning of this world – it molds our flesh into a posture of submission and teaches us the power of surrender.
It’s one of those seeming nonsensical truths we find so often in God’s word. Our surrender, leads to victory.
I haven’t always lived for Jesus. I’ve always known about his existence, but I have not always lived my life for Him. A lot of my life was lived buying into the mentality of this world which resulted in my mind being shaped and conditioned by our culture. Our world says it’s all about individualism, self-help your way to it. It says perfection is a requirement. Look at airbrushing, camera filters, and pinterest—this illusion of perfection is all around us.
That mentality is one that we had to learn to battle – taking all of those DIY, self-help thoughts captive – and learning time and time again to surrender to God’s plan and His will allowing God to rewire our thoughts and bring them into submission to His ways… which unfortunately requires effort on our part. Telling your flesh, ‘no’ stopping your natural tendency – isn’t pleasant.
Some days it’s easier than others – some areas are easier to release than others.
Jesus shows us what absolute surrender looks like when we find Him praying in the Garden and we read Mark 14:36, “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless, not what I will, but what thou wilt.
That is the epitome of surrender.
Jesus was fully God – Jesus IS GOD.
Colossians 2:9, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”
John 1:1, “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John 1:14 – And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
and He is also fully man. We see his humanity with such clarity in Mark 14:36 as He is praying take away this cup from me… Jesus is a pattern for us to follow – here we see that human surrender is not always easy. But just as necessary as that surrender was in that garden – it is equally necessary for us.
It shows us that our struggle with our flesh is real, gives us permission to acknowledge it’s difficulty, and it shows us what to do in those moments when it becomes unbearable – look at what happened as he poured himself out. It was paving a way for our redemption. His fleshly surrender paved a way for Heaven’s victory. Look at the Kingdom advancement that took place due to His surrender. He emptied his flesh – came to terms with what had to be released, acknowledging his flesh and the struggle – pouring it out in prayer… he came to the end of his humanity… so that he his humanity did not control him. To a point where His body became a vessel that opened a door to our salvation…
What sort of vessel does God desire us to be… and what sort of door does God desire our life to open for those around us? An interesting thought to pray over and process. It’s beautiful to think about where our surrender could lead.
Which brings us to a point of reflection where we have to ask:
What is controlling you today?
Is it your own idea of perfection? Is it your desire of what you want to happen in life? Is it your anxiety over the unknown? Is it uncertainty? Is it your flesh’s desire to rule over you?
It draws my mind to that beautiful song that says, “make me a vessel – wash me white as snow, purify this heart of mine, Lord I’m giving you control.” Purifying this heart of mine requires that surrender. Jesus calls us to that same place of absolute surrender. Where we reach the end of ourselves, giving Him control. Purifying us, and drawing us to that place where we pour everything inside of us out before him as an offering willing to lay everything down for the sake of God’s purpose…understanding there is something greater than what I am experiencing… not our will, but his.
Too often a person will jump into a baptismal, receive the Holy Ghost and assume they have arrived – but I kid you not, as earth shattering as those experiences are – you’ve just tasted the tiniest bit… there’s more – so much more… that God desires to do through you. There’s so much more to learn, there is so much more refining to be done. There is so much more of our flesh to purge so that we can become that conduit of faith – that city set up on a hill that God desires to mold us into… and he uses these moments of surrender to shape us…
And this surrender is something that we experience at different points, yes in that baptismal you Confess Jesus is Lord, you repent of your sin, step into covenant relationship with him. Yes, when you receive that Holy Ghost you surrender to His sovereignty, but those are only two points of surrender. There are other areas, and stages along this path of sanctification that require different types and areas of surrender. As I’ve purposed myself to live for Jesus – I’ve found him along the way gently opening my eyes to different un-surrendered spaces in my heart. Places that I had no idea, were there – but God chose to reveal to me in His timing, as he continues to work to mold me along the way.
And He does the same to you. He knows what we can take. He knows when it’s time to reveal things to us – he knows what he’s doing.
I wonder if He’s revealing an un-surrendered space in your heart? I wonder if you struggle like me. Are you trying to be the perfect woman according to this world’s standards? Are you trying to purpose your way to being the best wife? Are you trying to checklist your way to be a better Mom? This world’s standards, our ideas, our methods — they all leave us striving, going it alone – and exhausted really feeling unfruitful, and at times hopeless.
But God didn’t leave us here to flounder, and be bound in these thoughts of inadequacy and failure. He offered help. His help – which we can have if we choose it.
So let’s focus on that choice.
What if we chose to ask God for help in these areas? What if accepted the fact that we can’t plan, pin, or post our way into perfection? What would happen if we rather than seeking our own perfection, we started seeking God’s?
That’s what God revealed to me in that car that day. I was trying to checklist and strategize my way to a better day… to bringing peace, love, comfort, joy into my home – and I had not even considered talking to God about it. I had not considered that He the Prince of Peace – the source of Joy, the definition of love, and the Comforter… would want to speak to me, and help me unleash this into my home.
What he magnified in my mind that day – was so simplisticly profound – too often we all skip over it… We find it in….
Philippians 4:6 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Tired Sister… what is this saying to you? Do not be anxious about your chaotic morning. Do not be anxious about the stress of your calender. Do not be anxious about your imperfection as a wife, as a mother, as a woman. The NLT says don’t worry… Don’t be anxious, don’t worry about these things… about ANYTHING – BUT IN EVERYTHING by prayer, and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
We’re not going to worry our way into an open calendar, clean home, or perfection. It just won’t happen. And quite frankly we’re told DON’T do it. Instead God says take these things — in fact all things, everything by prayer, and supplication — take those things and through prayer partner them with thanksgiving and let them be known to God. Let them be known by speaking to him with your mouth. Yes God knows what you are worrying about – but Go back to Genesis. God knew where Adam was hiding – he wanted Adam to confess it with His mouth… Just the same He knows what you are worrying about, and he wants you to talk to Him about it. But we hide it just like Adam was ashamed and hiding.
So we take this thing we’re worrying about. We take prayer, we take supplication, and we take thanksgiving and we put it all together. High-level lets talk about the differences of these three things Prayer – involves praise. Praising God for who He is His character, His faithfulness. Supplication is bringing a request to Him. Here we might be telling Him God I am struggling with anger, frustration, a specific situation(just a few examples), Thanksgiving – thank Him for what He has already done – and Thank him in advance for the help He will give, and the answer that is coming – even before you see it.
But we’ve got to get to that place where we’re ready to talk about this place in us that’s unsurrendered. What we often say is a simple exercise of talking to God – at times, doesn’t feel so simple.
Sometimes getting to that place where you are ready to talk about it – takes work because we are holding that worry, that anxiety to a point where we’re cradling it, protecting it, shielding it…attempting to control it by our own strength.
No shame – been there, surrender is tough stuff – so as you sit there cradling your struggle. I want to share some things.
God revealed them to me in that car that morning, that I was cradling some things of my own, and he opened my eyes to choices in front of me, and I want to share them with you. These things are really nothing profound, but they work. It’s interesting – we look for deliverance expecting to find something mind blowing, super complicated, or expensive only to find it’s all within reach, and rooted in the basics – not complicated at all.
I played sports until I was a sophomore, basketball, volleyball, and track. At that point I decided my social life was more important which is a different story for another day – what I remember most about playing all those years are coaches who consistently preached the same message – games are won and lost over the basics. Free throw line, ball control, serving line, bumping to your teammates, starting line, conditioning… if you are committed to mastering the basics, you’ll find success. Which is a point that directly parallels with our spiritual life. We are always looking for something new to lead us through, fancy equipment, what have you and all the while overlook the fact that victory is found in the basics.
The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us in chapter 1:9 NLT, “History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.” Most Historians believe Ecclesiastes was probably written by Solomon. Solomon was the wisest person to ever live…. And here we find him telling us there is nothing new under the sun. That word right there shuts us down from looking for answers any where but God’s word – so what does God say to the struggling woman tired of being stuck in the same fixer mentality who just wants released from this thing that’s got her bound? This thing that she can’t seem to fix?
We look to the word – which provides an answer to every one of life’s questions.
When I look to God’s word I see a pattern laid out for surrender – and it’s seen when Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane… Admit, Acknowledge, Ask, Allow.
We’re going to dive into these four areas in more depth in our next episode, until then I want to leave you with some things to consider and reflect on.
What I was battling in my car that morning was self-will. It’s been a battle I’ve come to know all too well. If you’re honest it’s a battle you yourself know all too well.
It is God’s grace and His grace alone that opens our eyes to see these unsurrendered areas within us. As He pours out that grace and these spaces are revealed – our flesh struggles. There is nothing within our flesh that wants to die to self-will. Self-will is a tough battle to acknowledge. To acknowledge it admits – it’s you and you alone that stand in the way of lowering those walls within your heart, and allowing the Lord to step in. But it’s a battle well worth it.
Philippians 4:6 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
I leave you with three questions to consider:
- Are you currently taking everything to God in prayer? Do you believe he wants to hear it? Because he does -The Bible is the infallible word of God – He said it. It’s truth – so any belief that he doesn’t want to hear it, is just not Biblical
- When you pray – do you follow this pattern -> prayer, supplication, thanksgiving? Do you have a grasp on the difference between these three components? If not – spend time this week searching it out. As you get it figured out – write your prayer out. It’s ok to do this, and actually is really helpful for those of us that are so easily distracted in prayer.
- What are your thoughts on Sanctification? We’ll dive into this in a different episode – but where do you stand with it in this moment? Start thinking about it… have you looked at your faith as a one and done sort of thing – or are you open to pushing forward in growing closer to Jesus, and allowing Him access to every space of your heart.
And while you’re waiting for the next Episode to drop – soak your spirit in the verses we went over.