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Surrender

May 21, 2011

I thought submission was my obligation. Isn’t that what is required: Submit to your own husband. I sort of like the specificity of “own” because that means I don’t have to submit to any other man! But lately the level of my frustration has reached critical mass concerning current events in my life and I couldn’t figure out why. I’m submitted to God, I’ve asked him into every area of my life, not just a token invitation to keep me out of hell. So many things are happening that are shaking my foundations, ravaging all my coping mechanisms, and causing me to question my faith, my beliefs, even my life. What is missing?

Surrender.

Dread upon dread. I am definitely don’t surrender easily, not in any area of my life. I sort of pride myself on that. I’m a fighter. I thought God liked that about me! But, I think my life as of late may be pointing me towards this message: Only surrendering to God equals complete victory. But surrendering feels like complete defeat.

And it is.

Of your flesh.

Your will.

Your way.

There’s another form of surrender though: giving in to your own way, to your flesh, to the world’s way of thinking. This is a sure defeat. There is no path to victory doing things your way, giving your flesh control, or falling into the ways of the world. That is your doom and destruction. It feels good, but it’s going really bad.

I got that revelation – the hard way. Now, that’s where my fight kicks in! But Oh! Surrendering to God? I guess I hadn’t realized that’s the heart of submission.

You see, you can be submitted, but not surrendered. If you are surrendered, submitting will never be hard again. Living unsurrendered is tiring and robs you of joy. Eventually you un-submit! Because in your heart you were never really submitted; you never surrendered. This is how I have lived most of my life! I’ve been begging God the last year or so to please show me about joy! I’m such a nagging, impatient mother. And I hate it. I want to be fun-mom! But, I want respect and order as well. I am self-committed to having my seven children and homeschooling them. No one is forcing me. I wouldn’t give them up or homeschooling for anything! So where is the joy in it? I’m self-submitted, but I am far from surrendered.

You may say: You just don’t like mundane tasks! I don’t like mediocrity. And I don’t like the feeling of being a slave to my household. The Bible says though, I am a bond servant in chains for Jesus! Is that my attitude though? No. I am not surrendered, I am not humbling myself under the mighty hand of God:

“God opposes the proud,

but shows favor to the humble.”

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5: 5c-7

Ah. Part of surrendering is humility, i.e., being humbled. I hate being humbled apparently. I like acting humble – and I don’t mean pretending – I mean I can “submit” to the actions of humility. But oh, humility is a condition of the heart, an orientation (origin*) of the attitude, a mindset of character. No, I am not humble of heart. But I’m getting there really fast! Because if you don’t humble yourself God will humble you, if you are lucky.

Pride resists. Humbleness surrenders. Man. Stupid pride! Just when you think you are whipping that old horse dead, it rears it’s ugly head. The truth is it’s more of the mythical “hydra” with many heads that will come back again and again the more you chop at them. You have to go for the body, the root, the source of the pride: resistance to humility = resistance to surrender.

*Thank you, Mara-lee Stricker for that insight: orientation ultimately means origin/originates.

God, help me understand what surrender looks like, how I am to walk it out in my life, each day, in my home, in my heart, in my actions. And Lord, forgive me for not surrendering sooner. I want to. But I’m scared. Control is in here somewhere too, and I don’t want that either. It’s such a deception. Who really has control of anything? Only you. Do I trust you, Lord? I thought I did. But maybe not so much. God, I want to give you complete control and I want to surrender to you completely. Teach me, Dear Lord, I pray, in Jesus mighty name, amen.

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