My fellow spiritual mama alerted me to a Novena of Surrender to the Will of God and I figured, what the hey, let’s give it a go!
She blogged recently about what surrendering truly means (and doesn’t mean) and I’ll admit it’s a topic that both fascinates and frustrates me. Part one of my fascination is how readily it works. I conducted the prayer for ten days and can admit to feeling and believing (this is key) through faith that surrender is possible. And what do you let go when you surrender?
All the things bloggers, news articles and your partner probably think are an irrevocable consequence of today’s modern world. I don’t buy that. I feel these emotions are the human condition. I’ve stopped judging them in myself, in the sense that I know my body is alerting me to something when they creep in. Does that mean we drive around in them all day?
No, that’s where the surrender comes from. The frustrating part of the surrender for me personally is the decision point between what I can control and what is up to God. I’m a black and white thinker, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. For me there is zero and sixty-five mph, I don’t moderate very well. So there are times in my life where I’ve pulled my foot completely off the gas, to catastrophic effects. And moments where I’ve double down and hit the pedal to the metal, to disastrous effects.
Truly surrendering for me has been an art rather than a science, and at this stage in my life, I’m ok with that. More than that, I forgive myself for my inconsistencies. I judge myself way less than I used to. But I do find certain things help the act of surrender, and others hinder it. For example.
1. “Potato-Chip” Media
This is a term I’ve heard Gretchen Rubin use in referencing those quick news stories “suggested” to you by Google bots, your Facebook feed, your mother in law, etc. etc. Mostly they fall into various categories: food things that are now awful/good for you (the latest egg scare is a perfect example) health activities that will kill you/keep you living longer (often contradictory). Even the cult of self care can add yet another “to do” on my list, and stress instead of relax me. How does my life benefit from this knowledge? All information is not good information, and I find I’m much less stressful if I don’t engage in any of these “clicks.”
2. The Local News
This is the epitome of “bleeds it leads” type of mentality, designed to scare you about the menace in your own backyard. I realize I’m getting older when I recognize the propensity to stress about things the local news will have me in a frenzy about. Weather is a prime example. How many times have you been tricked into running to the grocery store to buy bread and milk when the latest “snowpocalypse” turns out to be a nothingburger? I’m all for being prepared, but I find a glance outside and some good common sense gets me more than halfway there.
I really struggle for this, because I’m a lady with a love for a good story. But the stories we tell about others (and sometimes, ourselves) is the ultimate conceited act. This flies in the face of all God tells about ourselves–that we are beautifuly and wonderfully made. We are formed in his image, perfectly designed! So add to that a narrative about someone’s alcohol abuse, or work tardiness, or even their style of clothing/dress. These words hurt, harm and stand in the way of God’s work in your life. It’s not easy to remove it, in fact, it’s pretty darn hard. But I didn’t sign up for an easy life. Where is the glory in that? I want the struggle, I desire the win. The prize is worth it.
For me, the ultimate act of surrender involves being careful what comes in my eyes/ears and goes out my mouth. It’s a golden rule our mother taught us and we too often disregard, downplay, even patently ignore. And I make mistakes and indulge in all of these three things more than I care to admit. But that’s the thing about accountability, it only works if you call a spade a spade. Or in this case, a weekend weather report. Till next time, mama’s!
Yes! We’re not on Earth to be comfortable, but to grow in holiness. And holiness grows admidst the difficult moments. Just ask yourself, “is this next step/choice going to bring me closer to God, or farther?” That helps when questioning what God wants you to do