How has the first few weeks into January been for you? I’ve been taking time to gear up for this year and looking forward to everything to come. I hope these first few weeks of 2017 have been full of new ways of thinking, new opportunities and new energy. But, if this hasn't been the case for you, I pray for a renewed mindset, peace and grace to carry you through.
So, I want to take a moment to connect with you about the word “surrender”. Now, when you think of this word, what normally comes to mind? I know for me surrender used to mean giving up, throwing in the towel, giving into the demands of others, relinquishing my power, being defeated, or backing down- and those were things I definitely didn’t want to do.
But what if I told you to surrender doesn’t have to mean those things, but to give into a greater power- surrender to peace, surrender to God, surrender the need of having a specific outcome—an outcome that things just has to go our way all the time.
But think about surrendering as having complete acceptance of what is and having faith to know that all is well or will be well, even without your control or input.
I want to leave you with this perspective on surrendering from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Big Magic" She provides a real, relatable view of how surrendering may look in our lives. This is a bit lengthy, but take 5 minutes and read the message below:
“Surrender is what happens when you come to the end of your power. Surrender is what happens when you have searched to the bottom of your soul and found out this truth — which is that you really can't do this thing anymore. Surrender is what happens when you don't have any more ideas for how to fix everything. Surrender is what happens when none of your survival strategies work anymore — and your playbook is out of pages. Surrender is what happens when you turn it all over to God. You release your grip on the thing. You stop white-knuckling it. You stop pretending things are great when things are actually horrible. You stop putting on a fake face, or glossing over the problem, or lying. You face the truth that you are not the most powerful force in the universe. You turn it over to fate. You exhale, and let go.
There is always grace in surrender. There is always truth in surrender. There is always a great deal of human dignity in surrender. And what happens next is often very beautiful. You crack open because you have stopped fighting and pretending, and once you do that...anything whatsoever can now occur. Sometimes your true fate can only find you after you have surrendered. Cracking yourself open in surrender...well, that’s where God can rush in. The universe can sometimes only work through you once you have surrendered.
Anyone who has ever walked into a therapist's office for the first time, or a psychiatrist's office, is in a moment of beautiful surrender. ("I have nothing left to offer this problem. I'm at the end of myself. I don't know what happens now. Help me.") Anyone who has ever knocked on the door of a women's emergency shelter in the middle of the night has surrendered. Anybody who ever inched back into a church after years spent away from worship, has surrendered...................... Anybody who has ever decided to cut off contact with somebody whom they love with all their heart — but that person is an addict, or violent, or a thief, or a liar, or abusive, or has turned hateful — is in a state of surrender.
Divorce courts are filled with people who have surrendered — people who have reached the end of their power. As dreadful and scary as divorce court was for me, I witnessed and experienced real grace unfolding there. I myself had to surrender to divorce court (and to the universe) and to completely let go of my power when I left my marriage. And although it was painful, there was certainly nothing lazy about it. I had reached the end of myself. I had no fresh ideas for how to make this relationship work. I was empty, and cracked open. I might as well have been in a temple, for how deeply I was changed by the experience of divorce court. What happened next was nothing less than the unfolding of an entirely new life.
I have quit on things, and I have surrendered on things...and there is a world of difference between them.
If you are quitting, you won't be happy about it later — I can promise you that. (And I'll give you a hint: If you have a track record of never finishing anything, or never sticking with anything or anybody, it's very likely that you have a habit of quitting. Maybe it's time to change that. If that is the case, I would suggest maybe staying with the problem a little longer — if only as a change of pace, and as a science experiment upon your own life. Might do you good to see something through for once.)
If you are surrendering, on the other hand, everything will be OK. (And I'll give you a hint: If you have a track record of seeing things through at all costs, and fighting to death to try to make impossible situations work — even if it ruins your life and causes you to have endless nervous breakdowns — then it's very likely that you are in the habit of martyrdom. Maybe it's time to change that. Maybe you need to learn how to let go. If that is the case, well, maybe it's time you gave surrender a try — again, just as a science experiment on your own life.)
And one way or another — whatever you decide — you will need to be generous and patient with yourself, as you puzzle through these difficult (but oh so important) decisions.”
Thanks as always for reading and feel free to share this with one person who may be struggling with surrendering !
Until next time........