Lately I’ve been talking a lot about surrender….mostly because it’s all I’ve been thinking about...and the more I think about it, the more I realize that for me surrender is really about giving up control. I like to be in control… I like knowing what to expect, how to respond, and even that I have the option to change things up if I need to. But this relationship I have with God doesn’t work when I try to be in control. I can’t serve two masters….myself and God. Either God is the Lord of my life and thus has all control, or I can desperately try to hold on to what little control I think I have and spend my life living only for me. Seems like a pretty obvious choice…albeit not an easy one to live out.
There are two areas in particular that I feel like God has been challenging me when it comes to this act of surrender and giving up control. For one, I was recently blessed with a raise at work. Now in all honesty, I work hard at my job and I do feel that for the most part I put in the effort warranted my pay. However, because I am my own worst critic, I also see the hundreds of mistakes I make and all the areas in which I need to improve, and with those in mind I know it’s a total blessing to be receiving a raise. Anyway, when I first found out about my pay increase I immediately felt like God was saying this raise wasn’t “for me”, although to be quite honest I wasn’t really sure what He meant by that. Then today I came home and in the mail there was a letter from City Team (a ministry based in Oakland, Ca) asking if I would donate money to help feed the thousands of people whom they serve both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner to. Seeing that letter immediately reminded me of God’s words, and it was like confirmation that yes, God is blessing me so that I can bless others! A year or so ago if I had received this opportunity, I wouldn’t have been able to give, even if I wanted to. Now I can give and the question is….do I want to? (Ironically enough, since leaving Oakland, this was the first piece of mail I have received from this Ministry! Kind of sounds like a God thing to me!)
The other area I feel like God has been speaking to in terms of surrender and control, is in the area of my relationships. For me it’s really easy to let people go out of my life. I understand that relationships, no matter how good or bad they are, aren’t always forever, and so I really have no trouble walking away from people. So if God was asking me to let go of some people in my life, it honestly wouldn’t feel like much of an act of surrender. However, instead it feels like God’s asking me to head in the opposite direction…..to let my guard down, invest in people, risk being hurt, even risk being seen in a different light….and in so doing surrender my relationships to Him. That means not trying to “get” people to like me, not trying to “fit” into whatever role I think people want to see me in. It means just “BEing” who God created me to be, following the Spirit and trusting that He will guard my heart and mind in whatever relationships He leads me to. It’s interesting to me, that even in the past few weeks as I have stepped out to honor Him in this way, I’ve seen Him move. For example, remember my blog post from last week about my childhood friend who moved in across the street and for who I baked cookies for? That was one HUGE step of faith for me, trusting God to work in a relationship I felt was broken beyond repair. Well, in the mail today I also received an invitation from this said friend inviting me to her house warming/engagement party in a week in a half! I am in awe….here was a door that I thought was closed forever and God seems to be doing the impossible as I step out in faith!
I don’t know where this path will lead. I don’t know if any of these things will really make a difference to anyone but me or whether or not these acts of surrender will do anything more than bring me closer to God. But to be honest, it doesn’t matter. I want more of God. I want to know Him more personally and to walk with Him more closely. I want to love Him more fully and give myself more completely to Him. And if that’s the only thing that comes from this life of surrender then I will be happy, because I know this is the Abundant Life!