Surrender. It is a word that conjures up thoughts of giving up and giving in. I picture soldiers on the battlefield, rifles above their heads, allowing all their hard-fought efforts to dissipate, all they’ve fought for coming to nothing. It is no wonder then that the idea of surrendering is not an idea I naturally embrace—even surrendering to God. I have to talk myself into it. I have to remind myself of the wisdom of surrender.
Fighting the Wrong Battle
Sometimes, we find ourselves stuck because we are fighting the wrong battle—one we will never win because it is not ours to win. We work ourselves into a frenzy creating plans, devising strategies, and repeatedly hitting a roadblock in our life management. Determined not to give up on our goals, we go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan. Surely, this plan will work. We’ve learned from our mistakes, accounted for them, and sought advice from all the right people. We try again. And once again, we hit a roadblock. This cycle can go for some time before we get so worn down we even secretly question whether God is on our side. Have you ever been there?
It isn’t something I pride myself on admitting as a believer—the idea that I have ever questioned God. But I have. I have had my moments—quiet moments—lying in bed pondering a situation and wondering why God was withholding something from me. Am I being punished for something? What am I doing wrong? Why does it seem to happen so easily for so-and-so, but not for me? And as I ponder more, the temptation is to become angry.
Asking the Right Questions
Instead, I grow curious. I’ve walked long enough with God to know those questions are the wrong ones to ask. I’ve been humbled frequently enough to know my good deeds and obedience fall short of deserving even the blessings that have already overtaken me. Those questions are the enemy’s whisper, not God’s. In moments of deep disappointment and frustration, when I lean on my own understanding rather than trusting God’s process, my ears are open to hear the lies. It is a line of thinking that gets me stuck, asking, “Why? Why don’t You know better what I need? Why don’t You see the timeline I see? Why don’t You open the door that would be so easy for You to open?”
Rather than look at such questions rhetorically, I believe God invites us to actually answer the questions. I mean, He is God. And there must be an answer, right? And if He truly loves us, there must be a reason your timing and God’s timing aren’t aligned—an explanation for that closed door.
Spiritual surrender is to stop fighting for your own agenda and turn yourself over to the service of the Almighty. It is to want what God wants for you. It is to stop battling with Him and ask, “Lord, what are You trying to show me? What are You trying to teach me? How do You want to use me?” There is a reason the door isn’t open. But in our finite understanding, we may never know the answer why. Our alternative is to keep fighting, to keep pushing against circumstances that push back with equal or greater strength—and remain stuck. Or we can throw our hands up in courageous trust of the Lord. When we do that, we are no longer stuck. We are no longer pushing against what is. Instead, we rest in the Lord and flow in His plan. We find the good in what He has given us and trust that He knows best. We breathe. We trust Him. We surrender.
Excerpted from Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable by Valorie Burton
A bestselling author and Certified Personal and Executive Coach who has served clients in over 40 states and eight countries, Valorie Burton has written nine books on personal development, including Successful Women Think Differently and Happy Women Live Better. She is the founder of The CaPP Institute, providing tools and training that build resilience, well-being, and productivity for life and work. Join 25,000 subscribers to her weekly e-newsletter at www.valorieburton.com.
Looking for more encouragement on the topics of surrender and peace? Check out Elizabeth George's post, Choosing the Peace of God When Pressure Mounts.