SURRENDER, EASIER SAID THAN DONE!
(As Christians, we are called to a life of surrender, yet have a hard time doing it!)
When she entered our women and children’s crisis center she did not act tough: she didn’t have to, she was tough! Always keeping her back against the wall, she would watch staff and students alike, to make sure she kept a safe physical and emotional distance. She was not one to trust others easily and it was evident she half expected everyone to fail her. Her life of gangs and drugs had definitely left its scars, and it was easy to see she felt she had to keep her walls high to protect a very broken heart. Underneath her stoic exterior was a little girl who just wanted to know she was safe: safe to show who she really was; safe to allow someone inside; safe to expose her wounds enough to allow them to heal. Being pregnant, she had one goal: to make sure her son would be born healthy. She wasn’t going to lose this child. Her other children had been adopted out and she was determined to do whatever it took to keep this child next to her. I really believe she wanted to change her life-but just didn’t know quite how to do it. At the center, she listened, she did what she had to do, but did not completely surrender her life over to the one being she could trust; the one who could give her what she really longed for. She just wasn’t ready to completely surrender all to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She left Teen Challenge only to return a couple of years later, having to repeat the entire program. She came back more emotionally bruised; more areas of her life broken; and more exhausted than she had ever been. She was done! She was tired of living life on her own terms; tired of seeking fulfillment in ways that would never satisfy; and ready to fully surrender to Christ. And that is exactly what she did.
I would like to say it was an easy journey, it wasn’t. She had to face the woman in the mirror; had to clean up the immense wreckage that was now in her life; and had to try to rebuild the trust of those she most valued. She did more than was required; trusted when she was scared to death to trust; and got completely real – exposing the dark wounds of her soul to the light. And what were the results? Let’s fast forward a few years…
The son Terry gave birth to while in program, his life is on track, he has accepted Jesus as His savior, and I recently had the privilege of baptizing him and his older sister! Not only does she have her now nine year old son with her, all her other children are in her life as well. She has a very good relationship with her parents. She is married and in full time ministry. She worked hard to get her G.E.D. and is making good grades in college. Most importantly, she is still “fully surrendered” to her Lord and Savior, and is dedicated to His service and the service of others.
WOW! WHAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE?
It’s a thing called SURRENDER!
Some people think of “surrender” as just simply giving in. Surrender is a lot more than that. It is giving over control. Surrender is yielding ourselves fully to God. We are saying, “Okay, God! You take control.” Something that is easier said than done. Surrender is especially hard for those who have felt they have had to desperately protect themselves just to survive in this life. Surrender involves the big “T” word: TRUST. For someone who has had their trust broken time and time again and has in turn broken the trust of others, trusting others, and even God, is beyond a foreign concept. So how do we surrender? I don’t want to over simplify this subject, but surrender is a matter of choice. We must CHOOSE:
- First, if we are going to have a life fully set free, we must CHOOSE to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and place our trust in Him. Trust is a choice. By faith, we must CHOOSE to trust in our Lord. We can say we trust Him, but our actions will show if we are actually trusting in Him.
- Next, we must realize we cannot even surrender in our own strength. Even the act of surrender can only happen through the power of the Holy Spirit. We must CHOOSE to allow the Holy Spirit to help us. Our prayer should be, “Lord, I long to ‘surrender all’ but need your help to do it. Show me areas where I am not surrendered and give me the strength to surrender ALL those areas to you.”
- To be able to have the Holy Spirit help us, we must CHOOSE to stay close to the source. We CHOOSE how we spend our time. We CHOOSE how much time we spend in prayer; how much time we spend in the Word; how much time we spend with those who “spur us on to good works”.
- We must also CHOOSE to “surrender” anything in our lives that is not pleasing to the Lord; anything that is a hindrance to our relationship with Him. No matter the cost, we must be willing to let go of those “things”, those “relationships”, and ungodly “distractions” that continue to trip us up.
When I think of true surrender, I think what happened when the Children of Israel crossed the Jordan. The Jordan was at flood stage; nevertheless they needed to cross it. They knew God was somehow going to make a way through, but in order for this to happen the Priests had to do something that required a step of faith. The Priests had to put their feet in the water. As the Priests obeyed God, the waters rolled back. If we want the muddy waters of our lives to “roll” back; if we want to be able to walk in the freedom Christ has for us – we have to CHOOSE to surrender our ways to Christ and CHOOSE to step out in faith. I don’t know about you, but I want to be ALL Christ has called me to be. I can only do this through a life of surrender.