You see lots of talk around “surrender” in scripture but HOW do you do it? It’s confusing to see and read how important it is to surrender your will to God’s will if you can’t figure out how to do it. It’s great if the intention is there. To live for God and not your ego/yourself is how you live a satisfying life, one you were built for. But when push comes to shove it can be really difficult to know how to live life differently. Besides, we are inundated with media 24×7. And while we strive to be in the world and not “of” the world, it’s hard to swim upstream.
Hard, not impossible. It is possible to live in surrender, to decide that God’s plan for your life is better than anything you can imagine, or even attempt. It is possible, and here is how you do it.
1. Establish trust
They call it a trust FALL for a reason, no? You are relinquishing control, while at the same time clinging to the fact that someone will catch you. God will catch you, folks. The scripture is filled with imagery of God’s promise of endless, everlasting, all-consuming love. Christ embodies us in our human suffering. This means you are never alone, ever. EVER! God sees every tear, is in every “bad” situation along with the good. But knowing he’s there isn’t enough. He is in charge of everything. Which means every “good” and “bad” is part of the same story. The design is complex and divine and frankly none of our business. But you trust the sun to be warm, don’t you? Because that’s what it does. God loves, God IS love, so expect the universe to default to that modus operandi.
2. Notice when you’re spinning
Sometimes I get overwhelmed and wonder if God cares about my to-do list. Between getting dinner on the table (why does this feel like some sort of surprise task every day) to laundry, to endlessly unloading the dishwasher, it just seems like life is one big task after another. When you feel yourself spinning, the first thing to do is acknowledge it. It can be as simple as a mental check-in, or you can journal and dump all the thoughts ricocheting around your brain. Whenever you feel your grip loosening, instead of seeing it as you “coming apart” start looking at it as an opportunity to get closer to God. Don’t aim for being in control. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Because when that happens, you become vulnerable, open to OTHER possibilities in life. Don’t skip this step. Though it appears small, it is essentially how you open yourself up to God doing magnificent things in your life.
3. Follow your heart
So you’ve established trust, you know who’s on the throne. You’ve noticed you’re starting to spin in on yourself, becoming overwhelmed with work/life, etc. The final step is to ask for guidance. This is about following your heart, guide, intuition, Holy Spirit, whatever you want to call it. If you haven’t developed that relationship, here are some posts to read to catch yourself up. Your intuition will NEVER steer you wrong, but like any means of communication, you have to use it in order to strengthen it. But the good news is, we have many many opportunities to use it as we move about our day. Say a clearing prayer, a demanding psalm, whatever you need to ask for guidance. The answer will come fast, almost quicker than you can get the question out in some cases.
Key Tip: You may realize that the answer to your question may be to stop focusing so much on yourself. After you lost a table you spent an hour making in Microsoft Word (true story) you may find the answer to your frustrating prayer is “go play with your kid” or, “maybe take that walk.” Get ready to start noticing other opportunities in life. That is how surrender works. As you move through the day start NOTICING others. Be trusting in that love/attention. Be helpful in that love. Be generous in your spirit. Turning your attention away from yourself and to the other people around you is a key part of learning how to surrender because you are offering up your ego. You relinquish yourself as your sole aim, and you begin to turn outward instead of inward. Less spinning, more surrendering.
Try visualizing an example from the past week to see if these steps are resonating with you. I’ll share a story about mine here.
I slept in this morning and didn’t have time for my normal routine of getting ready, exercising, breakfast, journaling/meditation, reading. So I said a quick prayer, took a deep breath and reached for guidance. I fell into the following routine quickly: I sat down to pray/meditate. Then I got breakfast ready, and while the toddler ate did an abbreviated workout. The elaborate routine I had in my mind before I asked? I dropped. The key is to leave it alone. As the day continued, it was hard not to go back to my “original” idea of my morning and compare it to what happened. But that’s not surrendering, now is it? Surrender looks like a trust fall. You have to release control and know you will be guided.
How have you surrendered this week? Tell me in the comments.