Surrender. It’s just a word, Allie. It does not define you as a person, but yet why are you so thoroughly terrified of that word and its personal implications?
My answer to that question is two-fold, and unfortunately I am only proud of one of the reasons I am going to outline.
The first answer to my irrational fear of surrendering correlates with the reality that my INABILITY to surrender has in fact enabled me to overcome many challenging obstacles in my life.
And for that reason, I am proud of NOT surrendering. I am proud of looking my fears of academic inadequacy in the face one long night of studying at a time. And I am proud that I did NOT surrender to my crippling anxiety surrounding my autoimmune illness. Because guess what? Looking back I can now see that my ability NOT to surrender myself to sin's temptation has and CONTINUES to save me from depression's strong pull.
So, what’s the big deal? By many accounts my reasons behind my total resentment towards being a surrenderer appear rational, and perhaps even praise-worthy? But it is a big deal, and here’s why: the OTHER reason why I am terrified of being a surrenderer is built on a throne of PRIDE, HYPER CONTROL and FEAR OF INADEQUACY.
Because here is the gnarly and honest truth: I am terrified of the surrendering my ideal plans, expectations and emotions to God. Because when I don’t get my way (Oh yes you know the way that I am referring to: my perfect, Pinterest, predictable way), my inner toddler arises, my fist grips tighter and my heart begins to YELL in a retrospectively embarrassing way: “Why is THIS not going my way?”
What is the “this” that I am referring to, and obviously desperately trying to cling to with tightly gripped fists? Well, It’s my life - MY WAY. It’s prayers and praises, UNTIL my prayers stop getting answered and my previously abundant praises suddenly become few and far between. Even as I write this, I can’t stop asking myself, “Where does my sense of entitlement get off?” How is that I am entitled to a life with a perfectly outlined roadmap courtesy of me, when my life has never been mine in the first place?
The only answer I have is that I am a sinner. I am a sinner who has been, and continues to be, called to SURRENDER my life- in all its parts, expectations, dreams and pride, to the only One who has the power to reveal to me my true purpose and destiny.
And so as I stand here, for reasons that I am not able to share yet, fearful of surrendering certain expectations and dreams of mine to my Almighty Savior, I am purposing to reflect on specific and tangible times in my life in which I have encountered an unpleasant and challenging cross-road: to surrender my will to Him or to turn my back on His difficult plan for me. Because as I sit here right now, my life - my way, is just about as out of my control as Donald Trump’s mouth, and in order to surrender my expectations to Him, I know I need to remind myself of all those precious times that I found FREEDOM through complete SURRENDER.
And I apologize for that ridiculous metaphor. I tried to think of something profound, but my brain isn’t working too swiftly these days and I’ve also been watching too much Jimmy Kimmel live. Hehe.
Growth through, "Will you still serve me?" periods in my life:
I remember growing up hearing up about suppressing traumatic events or times in one’s life, but I never fully grasped the concept of suppression until about a year ago.
If you don’t already know, from the age 10-13, I battled a mysterious autoimmune disease, chronic mono and nerve damage in my throat. And although not everyday was terribly traumatic, most days were engulfed with feelings of social isolation, confusion, and topped of course with physical pain. *Cue the sad music for Allie's pity party.
Actually though, I promise, I'm not trying to be dramatic, but instead realistic, knowing that suppression of traumatic events is inevitable and unfortunately I can attest to this reality. However recently, as I have been going through a new and difficult time in my life, I have been forced to remember similarly traumatic times in my life. Times when I also felt hopeless and abandoned.
You may be asking yourself, (and rationally for that matter), “Why are you trying to depress yourself even more Allie?” Well the truth is that I am not depressing myself.
No, quite to the contrary. Rather, by purposing to remember these tangible and terrifying periods of trial in my life, I am also intentionally remembering what magnificent growth came through these unique periods in my life, and mainly because I learned to SURRENDER my expectations and vain earthly plans to my Savior with no hidden reservations or secret agendas.
Because through the pain, suffering and resentment during those three years of chronic illness, I was finally broken, and in the MOST incredible and life-changing way possible. I was broken because after years of no relieve and unanswered prayers, I needed to stop ignoring the gut-wrenching question that God called me to ask myself, specifically, “Will I still serve God if He doesn’t take this illness away?”
And then years later, through the mental confusion, peer-pressure and depression during my adolescent years, I was broken ONCE AGAIN. I was forced once more, (and quite against my will for that matter), to step back and ask myself, "Will I still serve God if He doesn't take away my current insecurities?"
There it stands. That question. The “Will I still serve God IF...," question. It’s a simple question, but its implications are profound and never cease to leave me scrambling for an emergency exit - especially when my current circumstances are not in line with my personal expectations.
Nevertheless, in both situations, I found FREEDOM through facing what remains one of my most terrifying fears: surrendering my life, expectations and plans to God with no reservations or secret agenda.
And finally, I sit here today, needing to ask myself if I will still serve my divine Savior, despite whether or not He has chosen to support my perfectly outlined plan filled with prosperity and confidence. And as I walk forward into this new chapter of my life, with my Pinterest board life deleted and many of my expectations slashed, I am clinging to those precious times in my life in which my surrender to God has transformed into a magnificent outlet for my personal and spiritual growth.