What comes to mind when you think of that word? …Defeat? Weakness? Failure?
Perhaps you might envision (with some degree of disdain) a weakling crouched down, waving a white flag and whimpering, “I give up!”
In our culture, “surrender” is practically vulgar. We are encouraged to “Keep fighting!” and “Never give up!” But could it be that we are actually fighting against our own best interest by this illusion of control and facade of strength? Is it possible that “winning” the battle could result in losing something better? Who are we really fighting, anyway?
To Whom are we refusing to surrender?
In this season of life, my husband and I are raising 3 toddlers. Oh, the joys and frustrations of the toddler years! As I ponder the concept of surrender, I am reminded of one particular Saturday morning recently. It had been a long and brutal winter, and our children were getting restless stuck inside for endless months. We all needed to get out! So my husband and I made plans to take the children to the mall – an opportunity for them to get out of the house and run around the play area. We knew they would love it!
“Let’s get in the van, kids! We’re going to the mall to play!”
Everyone runs out to the vehicle with excitement. However, when it’s time to get buckled into their car seats, one of my daughters refuses. At 2 ½ years old, she has learned that she prefers not to be restrained. She loves to run, climb, explore, and haphazardly fling herself from high places. So understandably, this precious adventurer of mine loathes harnesses.
I try to strap her in. “Nooooo, Mommy!” She kicks her strong little legs and wails, “I no wanna!!!” I try to explain to this daughter I adore that she must get buckled in before we can drive to the mall to play. “NOOO!” She flails her arms as I pull them through the shoulder straps. It hurts my heart that she fights me.
If only she would surrender. If only she would trust me. I am doing this because I want to offer her something better! But she doesn’t see the big picture; she doesn’t understand my reasons. Her little heart can’t fathom – why would I possibly constrain her? She doesn’t know that it’s because I want to take her somewhere she can be free.
Raising toddlers is teaching me a lot about my relationship with my heavenly Parent.
Do I fight Him when He’s actually trying to offer me something good? Do I refuse to yield when the direction He leads me looks different than the course I had set for myself? Or do I keep kicking and screaming…?
About a half hour after the car seat drama with my daughter, I watched her playing freely and joyfully at the mall. I relished her squeals of delight as she ran, climbed, explored, and haphazardly flung herself from high places in the play area! It’s what I wanted for her all along. To give her what I knew she would love.
But before I could take her to that place of freedom and delight, she had to yield to the process. She may not have been able to understand or even trust that my plans for her were good, but she did have to stop fighting.
Right now I sense that the Lord is asking me to surrender something that I frankly don’t want to give up. Yes, it’s my choice. I could choose to fight. I could refuse to let go and just hold on with everything I’ve got. My way. My plans. But ultimately, the question comes down to, “Do I really believe that my heavenly Daddy knows what’s best? Do I truly trust Him, even when I don’t understand? Do I believe that His plans for me are even better than what I could plan for myself?” The answer is yes.
Yes Daddy, I release to You my illusion of control. I lay down my own agenda, my self-reliance, my plans. I believe what you have for me is better. I believe YOU are better.
I will perceive Your strength when I acknowledge my weakness. I will find my way by letting go. I will discover true freedom when I surrender.