Unleashed - Week 1: Surrender
“One does not surrender a life in an instant. That which is lifelong can only be surrendered in a lifetime.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
Surrender doesn’t mean losing control, it’s key to finding freedom to trust God for His plans for your life.
It was Day 1 of “21 days of early morning corporate prayer” in 2014 at our church in Austin, Texas. We had never participated in anything like this before – mainly because of well, 6 AM. I’m a hit the snooze button ten times and a bucket of coffee kind of girl. But this time… neither Mark or I could deny the feeling that God was inviting us into this season of prayer and that it wouldn’t be about our comfort or convenience. We felt Him calling and we didn’t want to miss a thing.
My first journal entry of 21 Days read like this: I feel like God is saying to release all of my ideas of what life looks like. ALL. My identity is not in what I do, where I work, my title, my socio economic status. It is in Jesus. Period. I hear God saying: Release, Live, Let Go. What I thought would be ordinary moments of prayer just became Holy moments. He is reminding me to live today as if nothing is impossible with Him.
I tried to wrap my mind and heart around those words “release, live, let go” and began taking mental and spiritual inventory. I felt like I was finally in a season of complete surrender. What did this mean? What else do I need to let go of?
The next 20 days unfolded like this: An unexpected call that would ultimately lead us to relocation. Everything felt interrupted and disrupted – sleep, plans, my job, ministry, family, life. So many questions. A flight to Nashville for interviews. A job offer we couldn’t deny that God was smack in the middle of. Fresh revelation. New realizations. Hope.
God was so present. In all of the questions, fears, expectancy – He was there.
My last journal entry of 21 Days read like this: God is saying be still. He is God. He will not delay. This song and dance of his whispers and his word lure me to keep believing, keep trusting, follow. He is saying it’s time to dream big dreams again. Different dreams. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. He is here. We are free.
Every day we are a living sacrifice. And every day we have to die some deaths to our own selves – our flesh, our ideas, our agendas. Every day I die a thousand little deaths to myself – and sometimes I don’t surrender all that I need to, but I want to. Because I have learned that surrendering all of me to all that God has for me is so much better than any plan I could dream up.
Surrender is a lifetime act – a lifetime death to self. My weaknesses push me to need God more.
Every part of you and your life matters to God. He made you. He knows you. He gave you all the gifts and wants to give you the desires of your heart. Surrender isn’t a call to abandon who you are, it’s a call to receive the destiny He has for you because of who He made you to be. We discover our true purposes when we let God lead our lives.
Matthew 16:24-26 (The Message) says, “Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. ‘Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the drivers seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself – your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?”
No matter the act of obedience – whether it feels big or small – God sees every little surrender, even amidst the mundane. It is His plan to give you His BEST. Surrender begins with an honest look at what it is we are holding onto.
Is there any area of your life that you need to let go of? Is there anything you need to surrender? Thoughts, plans, relationships, ideas, job, label, identity?
Why is surrender hard?
Sometimes we hold onto little things that seemingly don’t matter – yet those little things could keep us from His best. Is there any part like this in your life?
Knowing God as my redeemer, healer, “meter in the mess” – the God of miraculous whom we can trust – I am convinced that we cannot have complete freedom without complete surrender and that we cannot walk in the full destiny He has planned for us without both. Death to our own ideas is opposite of what the world says.
I hope you will join us here for interactive discussion on the questions, comments, prayer, and encouragement.
You are always welcome at our Table!
For further reflection:
Isaiah 55:8-9 ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 ~ Psalm 138:8 ~ 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 ~ Proverbs 19:21 ~ 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 ~ Psalm 115:3 ~ Ephesians 1:11-12 ~ Romans 8:28