It crosses my mind that I am not very good at surrendering. I like to think that I am, but the truth is that I am a control-freak. I like to be secure, to know how things will pan out. I like to be well planned and have thought ahead. I am quite happy to wing things, but usually within some pre-agreed parameters.
In my family as we grew up, there was a familiar refrain when we wanted to petition my parents for something to “Do your research”.
This was mostly applied when, for example, my brother (aged 12 or 13 at the time) wanted to get Sky tv, insisting he could and would pay for it out of his money from his paper round.
He ‘did his research’ and put together a plan demonstrating why he wanted it and thought it a good investment, his financial intentions and what he would need from my parents to get started. They went for it, which was especially impressive given how against having Sky in our home they had always been. His preparation was rewarded.
For me there have been many occasions when having read extensively on a subject before experiencing it, has proffered rewards.
To name a couple of examples…
When I spent many hours seeking godly wisdom and practical insight into marriage, before my husband had even proposed, so that when we felt ready, I would have a perspective on what God’s intention for marriage truly was and could be prepared for it.
And before the births of both my children, I read up on natural childbirth, scriptures about God’s view of marriage and children and homebirth.
I found all this especially beneficial in the lead up to my second child, when I was believing for a homebirth after cesarean. Having conceived him barely six months after having our daughter, I was facing some fearful and negative attitudes (including some of my own,) towards the possibility of success in this. God came through for me, however, and I got what I hoped for.
All of these things are good. To flood your mind and heart with God’s wisdom to impact your situation and raise your faith, especially in some of the biggest decisions and life moments you face, is wise and shows you are taking the responsibility seriously.
However it is my huge desire to allow God to be God in all areas of my life, to exercise his sovereignty and to trust him further than MY vision or preparation will allow. Surely this is the nature of faith.
‘Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.’
Hebrews 11:1 ESV
To surrender every area of our lives is surely no more than God requires or deserves. Yet how often do you or I say “have all of me, Lord”, but then in effect say “oh but not that bit, you can’t have that”?
We then reason with ourselves and each other, that God doesn’t want or expect us to give over our finances; sexuality; time; fertility; relationships; attitudes to justice; habits; words; behaviour to our spouses (select as appropriate). In short, our natural selfishness.
Well he does, and that is really tough for a control-freak like me to admit and give in to. However given that all of these things are gifts designed to bring glory to the giver and bless us abundantly in the process, it is really a no-brainer. And God is SO gracious, that he knows we will need and take time to trust him enough to hand them over.
If we want to grow in our walk with God, we need to get to know him more deeply with every passing moment. This will enable us to surrender more fully and discover just how faithful, liberating and true to his word he really is.
The more I have allowed God the permission to freely reign over an area of my life, (and this has involved a fair amount of periodically wrestling it back again) the freer and more truly fulfilled I have become.
It will take a lifetime of practising surrender to get anywhere close to where Jesus died and rose to bring me, but my heart is secure because I am in the most gentle, powerful and loving hands I could dream of.
I have the added promise that he will go before me at every step, and that is an offer I will not refuse.