Surrender. In common terms surrender is the act of giving up one’s power over something. In relation to God, it is one’s active choice to yield all decisions and all control to Him. Surrender is a bold act, and it is brave, courageous, and often we dive into it head first thinking that the road will be easy. The road to surrender is definitely not one of ease. It is bumpy. Full of fits and starts. Stop signs, and lanes that only seem to go one way. A roadblock up ahead, or two, or three.
Surrender may make you want to renege on your decision to surrender it all. Like seriously just give up.
Where am I going with this? Let me explain.
I choose a word to define changes I plan on making each year. I don’t make resolutions, because my resolve is to always make sustainable, consistent, and everlasting change. Not a year-long goal that ends when the new ball drops. So this year: surrender. I felt His tug on my heart (and my brain and body) to stop moving, and allow Him to move. To stop trying to control everything, and let Him handle it. It hasn’t been easy, so I am sitting back, and letting things be a bit.
Some things I have breezed through. Like a phone call later in the winter stating that there could be a barrier to preparation for my ordination service I hoped to be attending in July.
Oh, well if you have that one class left you may have to wait until next year.
He meant next year…like a whole new year. I really wanted it this year.
So you know how I knew this surrender thing was working? Up to this point anyway…
Because if this had been last year…you know like 2020 last year, I would have come undone. I would have been in a puddle of tears on the floor after that call. But I wasn’t.
I just said to the advisor: It would be a disappointment to wait even longer after such a long time, and working this hard, for just one class…but if that’s what God wants. Then that’s His will. I’ll roll with it.
Until, the time came. And another meeting came. And, well-I didn’t roll with it. I knew in my heart I was supposed to be surrendering. And, come on. That is what we all do, right? Thy will be done, God; but…can you please do it this way? In this amount of time for me? Thanks!
That class did in fact become a hiccup, among some other things. And I do in fact have to wait another year. And, no…I didn’t roll with it. I broke down. I spent weeks in discouragement. Convinced I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t cut out for this. I had done something wrong. God was mad at me. I failed. I didn’t measure up, and I was just going to give up. And I told a beloved friend this. And this is what I heard…January, have you ever quit anything? Really, you haven’t have you? So why quit, now?”
And he was right. I hadn’t. I always finished. I may have taken detours. Started at different times than others. Maybe a little later. Taken a little longer. Maybe even a break or two. But I always finished.
I am not a quitter.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6
So, I started that last class this week knowing it was the last one I would have to take, and knowing it was up to me to continue to surrender to His will in all of this. Even if it was not exactly the way I wanted it all to turn out.
His timing. Not mine. Because if it had been up to me, I would not have quit that class back in December. I would have pressed through, exhausted, worn, and weary. And gotten nothing out of it.
He knew I needed to wait.
Because when I opened the book, read the intro and saw the author had also struggled with giving up in ministry. When I read about the heart to embolden women to walk in their unique purpose. When I felt the Spirit tugging and pulling at me-I knew this was the time.
I had wanted to give up. Walk away. I quit the class out of necessity, but I was on the verge of quitting the journey all together.
But He knew I was just in a waiting season.
I just needed to be patient. I just needed more time.
His time. Not mine. He knew I was not a quitter.
I remember a poem I had to recite in 7th grade. Not read. Like memorize. Stand up in front of class and recite by memory. I still remember it. Still remember many of its lines. I will leave you with a couple of those lines today…emblazoned in the memory a woman, much older than that 7th grader, but still determined to never, ever quit.
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit. -John Greenleaf
Don’t you quit. Don’t you dare quit now just because it is taking a little longer. Don’t you dare let the devil’s ridiculous voice convince you to quit. You, you…you just keep rolling with it.
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9