Struggling to Surrender

My high school Latin teacher Mrs. O’brien used to stand at the front of the classroom and read a devotional each day before class. (Note: I attended a Christian high school.) Her favorite was a devotion called “Let Go, Let God.”

She was sincere and at times seemed to be pleading with us to grasp the concept of letting go and letting God.

I didn’t get it.

I still don’t, not completely at least.

As a teen, I didn’t even know what she meant. It seemed like the sentence was missing something. Let go of what? Let God what?

Now, I at least get that I’m to let go of my life, my wants, my selfishness, my _____ and my ______ and my ______. Let go of the word “my” even. And I’m to let God handle it.

But finally getting that what Mrs. O’brien was trying to teach us was surrender doesn’t mean I have any clue how to actually successfully do it.

Years ago a Bible study teacher talked about taking all of our mess, our sins, our worries, our everything and laying at Christ’s feet. That’s part of surrender. But  as this teacher pointed out, what a lot of us do is pick it all back up and keep carrying it around with us. That what’s I do, apparently.

I’m struggling right now with surrender, with truly surrendering my preferences, my expectations and my wants into God’s hands to do as He pleases. I want Him to do what I want Him to do and I want to help him do it. He doesn’t need my help, and really anything I do outside of what He tells me just gets in the way and messes things up even more.

I often come up with things I can “do” or “say” to help God do what I want. I’m a fixer; I want to fix it rather than wait for it be fixed. And I’m constantly feeling his Spirit tell me “no,” “wait” “let me handle it.” When I don’t listen, things get all squirrelly and I find myself thinking shoulda listened, shoulda waited, shoulda, shoulda, shoulda ….

Surrender is hard, thus why I’m struggling with it.

It sounds so simple, summed up in four short words — Let Go, Let God — and it’s a good thing when I make the choice to do it and stick with it. So why then is it no easy to do.

In the Civil War, at the Battle for Fort Pulaski, Confederate Colonel Charles H. Olmstead, surrendered the fort to the Northern troops in the interest of saving the fort and saving the lives of himself and his men. He had the wisdom and intellect to know he couldn’t win and to know that a loss would be more devastating than a surrender. What he gained with surrender was greater than what he would lose if he didn’t.

Now if only I can put that consistently into practice in my own life.

I’m trying. I’m struggling, but I’m trying.


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