Last year I started picking a word to focus on for the year. In 2021, it was perseverance. I mean after 2020, I felt it was definitely appropriate. This year I had been leaning toward grace, but the Lord has impressed on my heart multiple times to change it to surrender. Ouch. I am not going to lie, I have been wrestling with that one.
Surrender – to yield (something) to the position or power of another; to give up, abandon, or relinquish.
When I felt that word being impressed on my heart, it honestly made me feel anxious, I bristled up and my muscles got tense. We may tend to think of surrendering as a sign of weakness or giving up, even coward-like. When we surrender, we give up control. Now most people I know are happiest when we feel like we are in control of what is going on around us. I have had a white knuckle grip on a certain issue for a few months now. Releasing it, and yielding it to my heavenly father would be such a burden off of me. But yet, I can’t seem to loosen my grasp on these certain thoughts. They are always there like a dark cloud on a sunny day. When all is going well, they move in and overshadow me causing fear to creep in and my joy disappears.
A few weeks back there was one afternoon, where I let one incident totally turn my mood upside down. I know I should have not let it get me upset, but I did. It lit my fuse fairly quick, and I probably sparked off some words I shouldn’t have. I was already elbow deep in dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. It had been a long day, and I had just finished cooking supper. I was exhausted and my body yearned to plop down on the couch and be done with the day. My poor, older dog had an accident in the house, again, and this time it would require the carpet cleaner. Another chore added to my list. Sigh. This evening was demanding more energy than my attitude and body had to give. As I stared at the mound of dishes calling my name, I thought I need to put some ear buds in and crank up some christian tunes to lighten my mood. Christian music is a big help in redirecting my thoughts and it didn’t disappoint that evening. As I was washing the dishes, I kept pondering on the word surrender and examined areas of my life that it may be pertaining to. The lyrics to the songs that were playing just happen to hit some key points that I had been struggling with. Deep down, I already knew one issue that needed surrendered to God. I had been carrying it around for months. It is ridiculous how long I will carry around burdens that are not mine to carry. It always starts with fear. Fear of a loss of something or someone. Sometimes these fears are based on actual life circumstances, but often times in my life they are scenarios I have created in my mind. You know what I mean, those “what if” situations we tend to allow our thoughts linger on. The problem is if we let our thoughts linger too long, they will park and take up residence there. Pretty soon we convince ourselves that it is our future reality. We then shift our focus off the present and onto the future, a little too much. We need to learn to enjoy our days, live in the present, and trust God with the future. Not always easy, but doable with his help. Have you ever wondered how much better we would be if we took all those countless hours of worry and traded them for praise and worship of the one who does know what the future holds?
Whatever you are holding onto, can I ask you to join me in surrendering it over to God? It is not going to be easy, but there is great freedom that comes with it. It may even take baby steps. It may take days, weeks, or even months. Pray about it, examine your life and loosen the grip on the weight that is bearing down on you. Surrender it all to Him. He loves you. He loves me. He will walk with us whether it’s on the mountain top, or down in the dark valleys. He will not leave us. I found with myself that every time my mind went down that path, I would stop and say, ” I trust God with my future”. Each time, it has gotten easier, but don’t get me wrong, I still have a few fingers hanging on. Baby steps.
Behold,God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2
As I was listening to songs that night, so many were exactly the words I needed to hear. It’s time I get my words and actions on the same page. No matter what may come, God will be with me. God can use us no matter what trials we face. When the weight of this world breaks us down, if we allow him to work through us, his power and glory will shine through the cracks. He will give strength to the weary. I say I want to live my life for him, but am I really? When trials come, and they will, will I turn to him for help? My life is not my own, it was given to me by God and I should do the best I can to live a life that reflects his love, grace, forgiveness, and goodness. That is no simple task being stuck in this sinful flesh. It is a daily struggle. All I know is no matter what may come, I have a God who loves me, has promised to never leave me, and who has always been faithful despite my many shortcomings. It’s time to turn my worry into worship and surrender my concerns to him. I was reading a post that an acquaintance, Laura Jane Anslow, had wrote and it really touched my heart. She said, “Surrender to God is not giving up. It is the foundation for your greatest strength”.
I wanted to share some of the songs they came on that night. Each had a different meaning that encouraged me in one way or the other.
- “Control” by Tenth Avenue North
- “Broken Things” by Matthew West
- “My Victory” by Crowder
- “Giants Fall” by Francesca Battistelli
- “I Am” by Crowder
- “Come What May” by We Are Messengers
I pray God will help you loosen the grip on whatever it may be that is holding you back from enjoying this blessed life we have been given and surrender it over to him. I ask you pray for me as well. We are all in this life together to help and encourage one another.
Keep moving forward,