This post is long overdue. I knew I needed to write it weeks ago, but maybe my stubborn heart just couldn’t go there yet. I don’t know. But, I’m writing it now because I must. I’m choosing to surrender.
There’s this thing online which bloggers do, it’s about picking a word for the year. This one word becomes a filter through which events and feelings are experienced throughout the year.
Last year, my word was “believe” and truly, this word became a powerful filter for the way my heart was challenged. I wrote about believe for 31 days while doubts rang unresolved. I had feared what it would mean to truly hold onto this concept at the level I knew God was asking me to embrace it. But I came to love the word. I came to delight in new levels of belief because freedom came with acceptance and activation.
God gave me this year’s word two months ago and it caused immediate turmoil.
“Ugh, God. No! Not this word!” I immediately replied in full rebellion of precisely what the word implied.
Anxiety crept in and fear loomed. How could one word invoke such emotion? I didn’t know, so once I’d taken a few moments to settle down, I asked God.
“Why the word surrender? What is it about this word which creates panic and causes my eyes to tear up quickly?”
His response was kind, gentle and loving.
“Darling child, you wrestle unnecessarily. Still your heart. I’m going to show you what surrender means.”
And then I knew. I’d misunderstood this word most of my life and my broken understanding mixed with other wrong beliefs which led me into unsafe situations. I’ve been victimized multiple times and walked away feeling it was my fault. To me, surrender meant slavery to man and succumbing to that which others said I should do or not do. It meant a loss of value for who I was and immediate captivity to what I should be and how I should do it.
Date rapes. Sexual harassment. Bullying. Manipulations. Over the years, fear grew exponentially.
It’s time to learn a truer meaning of surrender. One which lines up more accurately with the God who created me, died for me, and loves me through all the junk. Even if, and when, I mess up again.
He’s been taking me through an inner healing journey; one where He is very present and His love is palpable. In this process, God has shown me more of himself, and the more he shows me, the more I realize how little I know. But I love it all. He’s so beautiful. His ways are so unfathomable and even when they seem rather contrary and horrible, to me, they are still good. Very good. Because He is the source of all goodness.
Surrender is a good word. Already He’s showing me great beauty as I lean in. He teaching me new meanings. With each one, he leads me into new levels of freedom and joy.
Oh, to surrender to the word surrender and see what He might do.
Surrender is not laying yourself down in ways which allow evil to triumph.
Surrender is laying your self-needs and rights down while trusting in the One who triumphed over evil.
Surrender is not giving in to defeat.
Surrender is choosing to cling to the One who defeats.
Surrender is not blindly trusting everyone in every situation.
Surrender is trusting God to deal with those who are blind about a situation. To teach us where we are blind too.
Surrender teaches us to trust Him over our situations.
Surrender is not accepting every scary situation as something which God must want you to go through.
Surrender is seeking God’s help & guidance for every situation which feels scary.
Surrender cares less about holding onto the ways which seem right to man and more about the ways which are right by God, for man.
Surrender is a resignation which finds one’s self cared for by the Creator in ways which we could never do alone.
Surrender trusts that His ways are better, His knowledge is greater and His power is more powerful. Surrender recognizes our dependence on a God whom we can depend on.
Healthy surrender is a form of bravery.
Wise surrender accepts circumstances out of your control and seeks guidance from the One who is beyond evil’s control.
True surrender looks into the face of fear and steps with courage and strength knowing God is near. True surrender recognizes things are scary and meets God safely there.
Surrender is willingly laying down your life for the one who gave His life for you.
I’m still a little nervous about where this word will take me, but this I know. He is safe. So I’m saying, “OK, Lord. Let’s go.”
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Oh wow. I so needed to hear this today. You so strongly echo my struggle…. Thank you for sharing!
I so need this message too Jenn! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Honored to journey with you.
Great post on surrender, Jolene. Small world–I wrote on surrender this week too. 🙂 Prayers for you as you learn to embrace the surrender this year. ((blessings))
How wonderful Brenda! I love how God connects His words in different people at the same time.
In the past year; to the best of my recollection I’ve only used the word “surrender” twice – at least in writing. Honestly, it’s a word I seldom have ever used. Not too long ago if asked my personal view of the definition of surrender, I doubt I would have hesitated to describe the definition as everything surrender is not; not what it actually is. This post has resonated in my heart and will help me on my journey. Thanks Jolene.
Humbled to be a part of your journey Corie. So thrilled for the work God is doing in you and in your life. You are a blessing.
I happen to come across your blog and enjoyed it a great deal. I’d say that as much that I’ve wrote for myself, you’ve inspired me to consider putting it out there for others. As for this writing, I think you’ve found a perfect word in surrender. I thought it interesting that in today’s world, “believing” can be compared by some to have the same characteristics of “surrender”, or at least about the same pretense of God. As I read your work though, I pondered the idea that all too often today, many people don’t realize that believing for them focuses on the self. That’s to say, the capability of “believing” is within one’s self. However, how contradictory in some ways that surrender in the manner you’ve spoken impresses upon the giving away of our trust to God, which is precisely where it should be. At any rate, I thought I might share some of the thoughts your words gave me, and express my appreciation of your work. I look forward to looking through more of your work, and considering the idea of sharing my own writing. After all, it’s in our faith in Christ that we advance God’s kingdom by sharing His word with others. Bless your heart, Jolene!
Greg – I’m so thrilled you found my blog & that you want to share your own words! I love the thoughts you shared here and truly hope you will continue writing and using words for God’s glory. If you’re looking for a community to encourage you along the way, I’d love to have you join us at Rise Up Writers. Either way, please let me know if you do start sharing your words. I’m sure they’ll be a blessing & I know God can use them for His amazing purposes. Blessings!
Thank you for understanding this struggle with surrender, Jolene. Tears pooled in my eyes when I read this. I love all the “Surrender is…” statements. I’m so sorry you were so often victimized. I think that’s why surrender feels so uncomfortable to us? You really encouraged me by being transparent and by sharing how God spoke to you – “Darling child, you wrestle unnecessarily. Still your heart. I’m going to show you what surrender means.” Thank you so much. I have not dared to pick that word yet. This year my word is “open” as I long to open my heart more to the healing ointment of Jesus’ love to all those deep, buried places of hurt. I’m so glad God led me to your site through Gayl Wright’s post where she talked about your “Rise Up Writers.”
I’m so blessed to have you join me here today Trudy. Thank YOU for sharing your thoughts. Your word is pretty powerful too. I pray God uses it in beautiful ways to bring about His purposes in and through you. Keep on, brave one!