• Ciara McDowell

Learning Surrender

One of the words that have been brought up constantly this year for me is the word SURRENDER.

This past year has been a year of craziness with continued change and hardships for many around me. I don’t know about you, but not having much control in my environment can be challenging; almost painful at times. This same idea of surrender has been brought up constantly in my counseling sessions, leaving people hopeless, angry, stressed, fearful and more. There has been a big shift this year in what we know as “normal,” but this shouldn’t take us by surprise because one of the most consistent things we have in life is change. Things are always changing, in relationships, jobs, and the world around us. Regardless of the knowledge that things will change it can still be hard to deal with.

So my question to you is why? Why is it so hard to deal with change when it’s something we have always experienced in life? Shouldn’t we be experts on this by now?

Most of the time change is hard to deal with because of the fear of the unknown and being uncomfortable. Comfort is something we are constantly striving for, the comfort of knowing that we have a plan or that things are going to work out in a way that won’t disrupt our lives. We seek comfort in our homes, our health, and our job security. We seek comfort in knowing we have the finances to continue maintaining our lives, how they are or even better than we have been living. We like knowing that our go to people will always be there for us. We also seek comfort in our freedoms and those not being taken away. The list can go on and on because we seek comfort in everything we do. We even seek comfort in things that aren't the best for us, like unhealthy relationships, drinking, explosive anger, unforgiveness and again the list can go on and on.

The problem with always seeking comfort is that it keeps us from being uncomfortable. The reason it’s a problem is because our growth as humans takes place in the discomfort. But we don’t like the feeling of not being in the position of God, so we are constantly fighting for it, even when it’s not ours to have. We want to know the future in order to hold on to the comfort. We want to control the outcome in order to “will” our expectations into existence.

This is not our job. We are not God. We cannot see what is to come and we cannot always “will” our expectations of life into existence. We don’t like that so we fight with everything in us and when it doesn't work we are left hopeless and angry. This brings me back to the idea of surrender. In reality, we are not the ones that hold the world in our hands. It’s our job to hand control over to God; to stop trying to obtain it and to place control in the hands of our Lord and Savior.

So how do we do this practically in a way that works?

We cry out just like Jesus did before he we taken to the cross:

“And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass from him. And he said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’” (Mark 14:35-36).

Jesus cried out for a different path; one that might not be as painful, but as he was crying out for a different way he still handed the control back to God in saying, “yet not what I will but what you will.” This is painful to hear and see. If Jesus was struggling, then how much more will this be a struggle for us to surrender to God’s will? Could you imagine if Jesus didn’t step into the discomfort? Things would look very different for us. He stepped into the discomfort regardless of what he truly wanted to do because he had faith in God and God’s will for his life here on earth. The growth and reward could have never taken place in a different way.

It was hard, it was painful and it was definitely uncomfortable but it was the only way. God didn’t want to see his Son suffer just like he doesn't want to see us suffer, but sometimes it’s the only way for things to happen that need to take place. Even in the discomfort of it all we have one comfort to hang onto. That comfort is God and his truth and about who we are in him. Abide in him and he will abide in you.

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