Continual Surrender

Saying that surrendering gets easier is not the whole truth. There are ways in which surrendering gets harder. This is the irony: the more you give of yourself to God, the more He gives in return. What He gives may not necessarily be what you want or the way you want it, but more nonetheless. The more you have to hold on to, the harder it is to give it up again, and again, and again.

Stairway in blue heavens
Surrender is not a one-time decision. An initial commitment is necessary, but if you are going to give yourself to God—your time, your gifts, your money, your talents—you must decide to do so continually. In some ways, this gets easier with time. With discipline and grace, good things can become second nature after a while. Because old habits (good and bad) die hard, moments will come when you can just dance and not have to think about your feet.

To lead in the most effective way, one must continually surrender to God when times are easy and difficult. I know some of you are taking your very first steps out of a very dark place. The idea that life will ever get easier sounds absurd, but it will, I promise. Just as the heartbroken teenager cannot imagine a moment will ever pass without her thoughts drifting toward the one who broke her heart, they eventually will. She will someday get to a point where she rarely (if ever) thinks about that young fellow. So too will there come a season when you look back at the mountain you are climbing now and it will appear much smaller than it does now. This trial will not last forever—you will.

Saying that surrendering gets easier is not the whole truth. There are ways in which surrendering gets harder. This is the irony: the more you give of yourself to God, the more He gives in return. What He gives may not necessarily be what you want or the way you want it, but more nonetheless. The more you have to hold on to, the harder it is to give it up again, and again, and again.

I don’t know why this cognitive dissonance exists. It would seem that the data would lead a rational creature to make rational decisions. If God cannot be outdone in the “giving life department” then we should have an ever-decreasing angst about surrendering ourselves completely to Him. We are not merely rational creatures. If we were, no one would smoke, date people who are bad for them, root for the Cubs, or eat Mexican food, but people do all of these things.

We need more than reason alone to surrender. We need faith. We need people around us who will inspire us. We need a vision that pulls us forward and is greater than we are. We need to remember that God is better than we know and bigger than we can comprehend.

See Also

For what it’s worth, I’ve never met someone who has regretted giving himself fully to God. I’ve never regretted one day surrendering to God as best I could. Here’s to another day, another choice, another opportunity …

What practices help you surrender to God daily? What things are most difficult to surrender on a daily basis? How does your eschatological view of a new heaven and a new earth alter and redeem your understanding of traditional Aristotelian virtue ethics?

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