Fictional scenario: The pastor announces in advance that he will be preaching on surrender. I suddenly find myself with a prior commitment, most likely Starbucks, and I exit the back doors in a hurry. Proceed out the doors if you must, or buckle up and let’s go for a ride.
The last couple of months I’ve been in the fast lane. How I got here I have no clue. Best way to describe it is that I’ve been driving along and suddenly Father puts his foot on the accelerator of my life and I’m holding on to the dashboard. We are crazily going places that I’ve not been and at speeds I normally avoid.
I am in an accelerated season of surrender. Faced continually with opportunities to “play it safe” and “play it cool”, I could hide behind cleverness and nonchalance. But I can’t. These are vulnerable days for me. But who likes vulnerability? I mean, we love when OTHERS are vulnerable (as long as it doesn’t make us TOO uncomfortable), but heaven forbid WE be the ones to expose vulnerability.
“Strength found in weakness”
The artwork of David Costello
I am utterly weak. God is doing something in me. Over the last few weeks I’ve been laying lots of things at His feet. (Deep breath). Bitterness over being single. Judgements against men and every guy who ever pursued and couldn’t follow through. (I love men, by the way. But it’s easy to carry baggage that you aren’t aware of until the Holy Spirit starts shining His light on it). Control. That’s the big one.
I had a personal head on collision with control five years ago. Devastating. What I had told the Lord I wanted did not work out for me. I prayed. I begged. I controlled. I wept. I shook my fist in the air and blamed God for my pain. I blamed the unnamed guy for my pain. But now, I see it differently. What I had tried to grasp as my “rights”, ended up taking hold of me. And I was going to have this relationship no matter what, thank you very much. (Oh, and yes God, you can block the doors if it’s not your best.)
He blocked the doors. The tornado had passed through, and I picked through the pieces of a demolished building. My heart. Humbled, I finally could see clearly. Where I had gone wrong? Surrender had taken the back seat. I had forgotten that the One who owes me nothing, freely gives me all things. Father, you have the keys to my life. Give. Remove. Because when you remove, you have something better in mind.
After the guy left, I felt like I had nothing to look forward to. I had put my expectations into this relationship. A couple of months later, a very humbled and broken me was starting to tentatively put my toes back into the waters of dreaming with God again. Life indeed was a beautiful thing when you can enjoy it and not choke the living daylights out of it. He suddenly opened up an “impossible” door–something I had only dreamed I could do. Now THAT is a good Dad.
Surrender takes many forms and I cannot give you the formula, my friends. I can only give you a couple of examples.
Yesterday, for me surrender was standing tall as a daughter of the King and declaring that He is good and His promises are going to come to pass. It was the unshakeable conviction that I WILL see the goodness of the Lord in this life.
Today, surrender has a different face. It is weighty weakness. It is tears. It is laying myself before Him (literally) and refusing to despair. Refusing the lying taunts that God will never answer. Or He will wait until I’m 60. It’s refusing to close my heart up and hide in my safe tower of isolation. Where nobody can hurt me. It is refusing to lose heart. Thank God that the many times I have “lost” heart, He always helped me to find it again. And again.
Surrendering does not = kill your desires. It is holding them with an open hand. It’s laying down entitlements. Picking up hope. Choosing risk, when playing it safe is more comfortable. Jumping off the cliff of the familiar, when Father is asking for all of your heart. Arming yourself with courage because His strength (not yours) will fight the battles.
Somewhere in the Bible (I’m horrible with references) it says that His promises are backed up by the honor of His name. That means that because He is honorable and trustworthy I can and will trust Him to not dangle a desire in front of me for the rest of my life and fail to deliver.
All this surrender feels a bit like dying; maybe what’s dying is my ability to control anything. Liz is going to ride the river of the unknown and see her Papa God bring her safely (WITH A FULL HEART) to the place of living waters.
(Best song I know of jumping into the arms of our good Father, surrendering it all to Him).