Surrender and Freedom
Surrendering. We discover our true purposes when we let God lead our lives. The most secure place to live is that place where we give our lives up to the One who made us andonly has our best interest in mind. Surrender doesn’t mean losing control. True surrender is the key to increasing faith and finding freedom to trust God’s plans for our lives. Surrender is an expression of dependence on God and makes room for us to walk in our destiny.
I recall a “Twenty One Days of Prayer” at our church in Austin, Texas in 2014. Our Pastor made room and space for our church body to come together for twenty-one days early each morning to pray and worship. It was a pivotal time in the life of my family.
My first journal entry from those days reads 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, or my socio-economic status. It is in Jesus. Period. I hear God saying: Release, Live, and Let Go. What I thought would be ordinary moments of prayer this morning became Holy moments. He is reminding me to live today as if nothing is impossible with Him. Surrender.
I tried to wrap my mind and heart around the words: release, live, let go, and surrender. I began taking mental and spiritual inventory. I felt like I was finally living in complete surrender but knew He was calling me deeper that morning. I began asking God what this meant and what else I needed to let go of.
The next twenty days unfolded like this: An unexpected call that would ultimately lead us to relocating to another state. This was not on our radar. Our entire family is in Texas. Everything felt interrupted and disrupted – sleep, plans, my job, ministry, family, our whole life. I had so many questions and found myself on a flight to Nashville with my husband for his interview before I even began to grasp what this could mean. The result was God calling us to let go of what was familiar and comfortable and lean into a new chapter, and a job offer that we couldn’t deny was straight from the hands of heaven. Have you ever been in a season where you thought you were living open handed, surrendered, and then God invited you to let go of even more?
Have you ever considered that surrendering is not abandoning who you are, but instead living fully in all that God created you to be?
Read Matthew 16:21-28.
In these verses, Jesus predicted His death for the first time. It signaled His announcement of the kingdom of heaven. The disciples had been with Jesus for a while now but still couldn’t grasp Jesus’ true purpose because of their preconceived notions of what the Messiah should be. In the following verses Jesus asked the disciples to give up – surrender – their perspective in exchange for His perspective.
Matthew 16:24-28 (NIV) reads, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
We know that God’s ways are above our ways and His thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). A surrendered life doesn’t try to fit God into our mold. As we place our lives into His mold, He reshapes our hearts and minds so we aren’t hindered by our own expectations, and walk in daily expectation for God’s good plans to come to pass in our lives. Another benefit of a surrendered life is that we don’t have to “drive the bus” anymore. Too often, we agonize over the right next step in our careers, relationships, etc. But when God is in charge, we know that the outcome will always be far better than we could hope or imagine.
With your journal
Read Romans 12:1-2
Is there any area of your life that you need to surrender back to God so that you can fully live in His promises? Consider your thoughts, plans, relationships, ideas, job, past, identity. What does true surrender look like in your life? Where are the places you hold onto because you are afraid He won’t come through?
Sometimes we hold onto little things that seemingly don’t matter – yet those little things could keep us from His best. Is there any area like this in your life?
Father, Thank you that you have my best interest in mind and that your plans for me are good. Please forgive me for the places where I haven’t surrendered every part of me to you. Forgive me for doubting that you will always come through, even when it takes time. Remind me on the hard days that your ways are better than mine. Help me to see any area that I still need to give over to you and please give me the grace to do it. Amen.
With your Bible
Read and say the following verses out loud: Proverbs 18:10 | Romans 12:1-2 | Galatians 2:20 | 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 | Ephesians 1:11-12 Next, choose one or two that stand out to you and write them on your journal page. What is God saying to you?