I hadn’t been sick very long before I felt the Lord calling me to write – to which I promptly said, “No thanks”. I mean, really – there I was, in horrible pain, depression, and guilt over everything I was letting slide (including my family). Why in the WORLD would I want to write about all that?!? And how could I physically do it, anyway? I had plenty of excuses to His seemingly ridiculous calling. Little did I know that surrendering those excuses was all it took to be healed.
Surrendering seems like such an easy thing at times. Just “Give it to God” – that’s simple enough, right? But when you are in the midst of a pain-filled, gut wrenching squall, simply giving it to God just seems so trivial. God is allowing this storm, this pain – how would giving it completely over to Him make any difference if this is His plan?
What does surrender REALLY mean, anyway? The more I looked into it, the more I realized surrendering is more than one sacrificial leap. To surrender means to give up, abandon, relinquish, yield, resign. It’s not a once and done type of commitment. To me, it looks like there are 5 stages of surrender, and unless all are committed to, perfect surrender will not be absolute. These stages are very similar, but look at the small differences in the steps God is calling us to take. Sometimes slowing down and looking deeper is what it takes to understand His mystery.
Give up. This doesn’t mean you give up on being healed, give up on all hope of happiness, give up on our Savior. Instead, we must give up on our idea of our future – that in which holds us back from blindly following God’s individual call on our lives. We must give up that control that we struggle so hard to maintain, for it’s in that wrestling struggle that we cause our disappointment to climb.
Abandon. We must not only give up our own desires for the future, we must abandon them, banish them. We must leave them completely and finally at the foot of the cross. What better place to leave them than at the cross of the One who completely surrendered for US.
Relinquish. By completely abandoning our skewed desires for our future, we are able to let go of that image we have created for ourselves. Letting go, relinquishing, is a powerful tool. Have you ever left an unhealed argument fester? You may feel you are over it – you may have even abandoned the recollection of harm that was done to you, but if you don’t relinquish that hurt and pain to our Father, it keeps popping up again like a dormant virus. (And if anyone knows dormant viruses, it’s me! Shingles are BAD – just saying.)
Yield. I find this part to be particularly challenging. In our fast-paced world full of accelerating, merging and honking traffic, yielding appears to be a sign of weakened submission. Sometimes we have to wait until there is a clear opening to get the go-ahead to move forward safely. When we yield to oncoming traffic, we pause, look, and when it’s safe, we proceed – Yielding to God’s will is the same way. How will we know it’s safe to proceed if we don’t first pause, slow, and wait for God’s all clear? We will know when we learn to yield – yield to His will. Yielding is veritably the sign of heightened obedience and ultimately, surrender.
Resign. Once we have yielded long enough to hear God’s call, our final step to surrender is submitting and resigning, to God’s plan for our lives. Acceptance. Let Your will be done, not mine. Letting the Lord use your battle for incredibly great things that you never saw coming. Did you get that? We can’t possibly fathom what God has in store for us. His ways are not our ways, and can I just say thank you for that Jesus! If I hadn’t started down this road of surrender, I would still be a miserable, lonely, self-involved woman waiting to be healed before she started living life again.
As I said earlier, God has been calling me to write for over six years. Five of those years I tried to ignore His call, like a little kid with their hands covering their ears, rocking back and forth saying, “I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!”. Anyone else been there? Like we can actually HIDE from the creator of our magnificent universe! I didn’t want to write, I wanted to be healed – after I was healed, I promised Him I would get right on that. (I may have had my fingers crossed behind my back when I promised that…).
Well, I would love to tell you that I am physically healed and that I kept that half-hearted promise to my Savior. I am not. And my Jesus, in His infinite wisdom of my heart, knew what I needed to hear to bring me to my knees. One evening at The Heart Retreat (a women’s retreat near and dear to my heart), He whispered to me that I would not be healed. Not healed. Ever. Stop and think about that for a minute – all my energy had been poured into looking forward to the day I wasn’t in constant pain, the day I could do active things with my children, the day I could look into my husband’s eyes and see his heart-breaking burden lifted. I had clutched that image of healing so tightly, it bruised my aching heart. In that moment, I realized I had been clutching the wrong thing. My grip should have been on the One who has held every tear, every disappointment, every sleepless night in the palm of His hand.
Yes, that news was hard to swallow, but it didn’t take long before I felt the healing of my broken, raw heart. The burden of my expectations of the future now turned over, an open heart emerged. God loves open hearts, doesn’t he? Open hearts surrendered to Him completely are the ones He can mold and soften into something we never imagined. But I had to first give up my old story line, abandon those desires of the outcome that used to entice me and relinquish them over to the Father. I had to yield and slow down enough to hear His calling. But when I finally resigned to His call… let’s just say I can’t get enough of that call. Writing is something I LOVE to do and along the way, He speaks to me in ways I never thought possible. I surrendered completely to his path and ignored all the honking along the way.
God is calling me to some new and exciting things right now that SHOULD have me frazzled and stressed out to the nine! But, in this state of full surrender, there is peace. I am on the road God has marked just for me and guess what? There’s no one else in sight – when I keep my eyes only focused on Him.
What stage of surrender are you currently in? Are you stuck in yielding to His call or have you yet to start down the surrender path? Either way, you can do this, my sweet friend. It may be hard, and it may be raw and painful – but I can promise you the end will all be worth it. The healing in surrender is all the healing you will ever need.