Surrender

Surrender…letting go…to be free…

When I think of surrender, my mind travels back to a few years ago sitting on my friend’s couch as we had a heart to heart talk. As we talked about my challenging job situation, I remember her asking me if I was willing to surrender everything to God.

Surrender….to let go…to be free from control

My journey of surrender led to a gratitude journal. Despite my circumstances, every day, I recorded things I was grateful for. Most days, they were simple things, but it helped me stay focused on trusting God with the details of my life.

One of the greatest gifts of learning to surrender has been trusting God with anxiety.  It has been a long journey,  but I have learned to let go and let God. When I feel myself becoming anxious, I reflect to seek the root cause. I turn it over to God and pray on it.

So  much of life is out of our control. Our reaction to life is within our control.

Surrender…let go and trsut God.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday

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31 Days of Surrender: Discipline

Discipline is not usually a word we think of in a positive sense. By definition, it means, training to act in accordance with rules or an activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill. And then there’s self-discipline…training of oneself, usually for improvement.

I remember the first time someone used the word self-disciplined to describe me. It was my fourth grade teacher. We kept daily journal writings as part of our writing curriculum. I am not sure what the particulars were that I had journaled about except that it had  something to do with wanting to be a writer. She wrote a short note back to me about how self-disciplined I was, and she admired that. I had to look up self-disciplined to see what it meant…no one had ever used that word before to describe me.

But discipline…just the word discipline…is something we usually think of in a negative sense. We discipline our children when they disobey. We discipline out of love although our children certainly do not appreciate the discipline. Just this morning, my son was told he couldn’t play his video games because he didn’t put away the controllers. Believe me, he is not saying, “Oh, mom, thank you so much for not allowing me to play my video games this morning.” But, I’m sure he’ll remember to put the controllers away next time.

What about discipline from God? Recently, our Sunday School lesson was on discipline.

And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So, He humbled you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your  foot swell these forty years. You should know in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you. Deuteronomy 8:2-5

That passage from Deuteronomy is referring to the desert experience that the Israelites experienced after their release from Egypt. It’s easy to whine along the way when things aren’t going our way, and life is hard and God seems distant, but He may be disciplining us in preparation for His future plans for our lives.

Discipline is not usually fun. My work situation tends to be negative…I am trying to remain positive, trying to surrender, and learn the lessons that God desires for me to learn. This discipline is hard, but I am growing in my faith in ways that would not be possible without enduring the hardships along the way. My current health issues are also teaching me to further surrender and lean on Him.

Discipline encourages me to trust God more and to rely on Him.

What lessons might He be wanting to teach you through His loving discipline?

Discipline

31 Days of Surrender: Saying No is OK

I am learning it is okay to say no. Saying no means saying yes to something else. That something else might be rest. It might be family time. It might mean writing time. It might mean quiet. When I say no, I am making a choice.

I used to feel this pressure to be “Super Mom”…working full-time, Girl Scout leader, soccer coach, church board committee president, school helper…and completely and totally exhausted emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically.

God has used my illness. God has used the words of close friends in my life. God has used the unfiltered, genuine words from my children. God has used His Word. God has used all of these things to remind me that sometimes, I just need to say no. Saying no is okay.

This afternoon, I received a text message. Some of my friends from church invited me to dinner tonight for a girls’ night out. My GI issues are flared up today. My nerve pain is in full force today. I just want to and just need to be home. I need to rest. I declined their invite with no reservations. I know it is okay if I stay home and do nothing but what I want and what I feel like doing. I know they understand.

I believe God wants us to rest. We were not created to be super humans on the go all the time. Work zaps a lot of my energy. I need to find balance between work and personal time which means I need to say “No” sometimes. I must make choices.

I need to surrender to the pressure to be “Super Mom” and realize and embrace that saying no is taking care of myself. I have been an “on the go” kind of person since I was in high school, so it has taken me twenty years to realize this, but I am learning there is freedom in saying no, and that is okay. If I don’t take care of myself, then I am not honoring God.

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT

Saying No

31 Days of Surrender: Listening to God

I started this 31 day journey, and I clearly have not written every day.

But…that’s OK.

In the absence of writing, I have been learning to listen to God speak. Speaking through the counsel of my best friend, my family, the quiet moments in the morning and the stillness of the night, the way my body feels, the words of the sermon at church yesterday…

These past few days, I have realized, well, I am still wrestling with this, but I am slowly realizing, that sometimes surrendering means it is OK to do nothing. It is OK to say to God, I can’t do this anymore. It is OK to tell God that I need help with my unbelief.

When you come face to face with the reality that what is standing in the way of God working in your life is possibly you….then you realize that truly to surrender is to possibly simply be still. To do nothing, is to do something. It is to step out of the way, pray, rest in Him, and allow Him to work.

To surrender, to do nothing, to be still, to listen. And that is enough right now. He is in control.

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31 Days of Surrender: All

I attend a church with a more traditional worship style. We have Youth Sunday once a month where the youth of our church lead a more contemporary worship. I love Youth Sunday, but I have grown to appreciate the traditional worship as well. One of the things that I love about our traditional worship are the hymns we sing. Hymns that are filled with age-old truth. As I ponder and reflect and seek to understand what it means to surrender my life to God, the hymn I Surrender All fills my early morning thoughts.

I remember my pastor reminding us all during a sermon one time…I Surrender All…the words of the hymn…all, not I surrender some, not I surrender what I want, but I surrender all.

All…the whole of one’s possessions, energy, interest….the whole, not part, the whole.

I think of the story in Mark 20:17-22….the young man who asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life…he had kept all the commandments…but when Jesus asked him to sell all he possessed and follow him, he could not. He could not surrender all he possessed. He could not let go.

Surrender…what do I hold onto? I am not rich so holding onto possessions is not my issue, but that is not what that passage is about. What about my job? My family? My friendships? My health? My finances? My fears? My hopes? My dreams? What do I hold onto? What do I cling to?

Since, I began what I am calling my “Surrender Journey” which I began specifically related to my job, God has been speaking to me, reminding me that I do not get to pick and choose what I surrender. I can not compartmentalize my life or my faith or my relationship with Him. I am learning daily to surrender my situation at work. My fears. My family. My friends. My health. My finances. My hopes and dreams. My plans. My everything.

I am learning to surrender all.

In the words of the hymn…All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give…

And this is where I am learning…not just all, but freely…what do I cling to?

I realized last night and in the early hours of this morning as I write now while my house is still and quiet and the world outside me dark and sleeping…there is more I must surrender. As I pray the desires of my heart, as I ask God for the things I desire…I must also surrender these same desires…freely…and trust Him.

Can I do this? Can I surrender all? And can I do it freely without holding back, without clinging to it?

I want to believe I can…like the tiny green sign of life peeking through the rocks below…my faith, my trust, growing slowly as I surrender my life…to Him.

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31 Days of Surrender: Saying Yes to God

I am learning surrender means saying yes. It means saying yes to God before I even know what I am saying yes to. It means every morning, I say yes. As I drive to work, I say yes. I say yes to whatever comes my way. And when I want to say no, I still say yes. I am honest with Him…I tell Him when I really want to say no, but I am choosing to say yes…sometimes in a whispered yes through tears. I know He will be with me. Saying yes is trusting. Trusting when I don’t understand. Trusting when I don’t want to endure what I am walking through. Saying yes is trusting God with my life, trusting that He knows what is best for me.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not lean on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

Surrender-Saying Yes