“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
In this season of my life, I’m learning the real meaning of the word “Surrender” (and not the dictionary definition meaning of “to stop resisting to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority”). I mean like to surrender surrender…like totally let go especially in the midst of uncertainty. I am learning the root of it all and the essence of what it really means to surrender every aspect of my life to God; and for me, it is one of the hardest things I have ever had to learn, based on self-acclaimed control freak.
This scripture has become one of my favourite scriptures in the Bible in recent times that I am delighted at every opportunity to share with my friends or anyone I come in contact with. It is one of the easiest scriptures to learn, to recite and even to quote out loud when need be, but I think (from experience and what I am learning), it is one of the toughest to apply.
As a recovering control freak (I am yet to be able to boast of 100 days clean, but I am positive and confident in Jesus that I would be able to do that soon!), I found that it is so easy to raise your white flag in surrender and scream out to God dramatically with arms stretched out wide towards the heavens “I surrenderrrrrr!” and then slump back in exhaustion afterwards (like my good friend in the picture beneath) feeling good about having surrendered your life to God.
But then Proverbs 3:5-6 says trust the Lord with all your heart. All? All. Like 100 percent
Sometimes, we carry our human mentality of learning not to trust or rely on human beings 100% to God and we may never admit it, but then subconsciously, we tell God “Oh God, I love you and trust you so much? Trust? Of course I trust you! And I know you’ve got amazing plans for me, I can feel it! But ehn, in this aspect? Let me just do a tweeny insy winsy bit to just make it easy for you. I have already gotten all this and that set…it’s just a miracle that remains. In fact, I can work hard, so I get this job even though it might be one kain…but please approve…I can put this relationship in place, this person is perfect, just approve” And we keep placing our half-done memos on God’s table just waiting for the approval stamp when that might not even be what he wanted for us in the first place.
Why? Because we’ve carried on the subtle art of not trusting anyone 100% lest we get disappointed. In fact, sometimes, maybe we felt that God did not come through for us when we needed him the most and so we just have to “help out” this time. Just this one time. Or two. Or three.
The Art of Surrender
The Art of Surrender is not for the faint-hearted, not for the control freak that wants to remain a control freak, not for the “God-helpers”, not for the half-prepared-memo-waiting-for-God’s-approval-stamp-type. The Art of Surrender entails FULL SURRENDER.
Full-on letting go. Full-on trusting in God. Full-on obedience to God’s will.
Kai, as I am even typing, my insides are doing one kain. Because I can assure you that the “helping” that you have probably been doing for God is not surrender. It is hard stuff. Especially in the midst of uncertainty in your life journey. I don’t think it is rocket science when I say that it is waaayyy easier to feel good about what you can control and handle. In fact, when you disappoint yourself, it does not hurt as much as when someone else disappoints you, because you allowed yourself believe in that person, hope in that person and trust in that person. So Sometimes you have this faux peace that you are in control so everything would be okay…or at least the one you control would be okay after all, you’re giving it your best. Right? Wrong. No, you’re not in control. And for my fellow control freaks out there, recovering or not, it might interest you to know that you cannot control everything.
I have often heard that the more we hold on to things (especially things we need to let go of; could be friends, relationships, fear, anger, bitterness, anxiety, doubt) the less room we give for God to bless us with what we truly desire.
I have heard of the clenched fist illustration but until someone showed me practically with my fists, I never truly understood. Your fists are tightly clenched with all the things you’re hoping God signs off on but are bad for you. And yes! you know they are bad for you. But you hold on so tightly sinking into your own knowledge of what you think is good for you. Then God comes around and sees your tightly clenched fists and breaks into a little frown but smiles and says ‘Oh well, I’mma still bless him/her today. Love him/her so so much” and then the blessings start falling downwards (imagine the blessings are coco pops) but you can’t receive them, can’t catch them, can’t hold on to them because your fists are tightly clenched. You try to catch the coco pops and are running helter skelter to catch whatever. The ones in your fists are falling out but you’re still deeply focused on what is in clenched fists and how you cannot let it go that you watch the coco pops fall to the ground. Oh and rain starts to fall so the wind blows the coco pops away.
Ask yourself, what would happen if I actually let go and allow God to take total control of every aspect of my life? (A glass just shattered in my head in old Nollywood movie trailers when they’re listing out the cast. Lol. Sorry it’s the withdrawal from Control Freakdom)
Sometimes we use the phrase “Jesus take the wheel” and it is so easy to do that. But have you been in a car where you could not see who was driving the car (like the car started moving and there was no one in the driver’s seat) and you were in the backseat? or even the passenger seat? Your natural instinct and instant reaction once the car starts moving is either to jump out or lunge towards the driver’s seat to take hold of the wheel. And that’s exactly what happens when our faith is not strong enough to see how Jesus is holding the wheels of our lives. We don’t really trust God’s goodness or the plans He has for us…in fact for some of us, we don’t even know! (That being said, I would not be responsible for anyone who was lounging in the backseat/passenger seat of their cars and when the car starts moving by itself, you start screaming “Jesus take the wheel!” while the car is rolling down a hill.) You get my point.
I am learning that I need to avoid using my human perception of trust and disappointment on God for a change. God is not man. God never betrays or disappoints. Never. Perhaps we have subconsciously given him timeframes which he has “failed” to come through on for us. Perhaps, he “kept us away” from that job that we worked earnestly, prayed and fasted for. Perhaps he took a loved one from us (and for the life of us could not understand why He would do that…why?) that we prayed would get better from a wretched illness. Oh how we prayed. We fasted. We cried. We screamed in frustration. We got upset when someone said at their funeral “God knows best”. We looked at the person who had not lost any one in their lives in utter disgust and thought “Nah, God didn’t know this one” but God forbid we said it out loud, lest the overly religious crowd says “ah a demon is inside this one”.
But hey, you’ve read all the way to this paragraph because deep down inside of you somewhere, you know the peace that you get when you trust God 100%. This weird peace that makes no sense. This weird peace that makes people think you’re going crazy. Neh, its just the peace Philippians 4:6-7 talks about “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
What would happen if you decided to just let go and Surrender?
Psalm 27:13-14 ~ “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Next Saturday, in Part 2 I’ll be sharing tips I’m learning to imbibe in my S.U.R.R.E.N.D.E.R.
Have a great day!x