Surrendering to God
I’m going to confess something. I have lived most of my life in rebellion to God and most people haven’t noticed. You know why they haven’t noticed? I’m nice. I’m kind. I go to church on Sunday. I used to be a church pianist. I have a good job and pay my bills. I don’t watch porn, I don’t drink, and I rarely swear. I’ve had a couple of more obvious rebellions, such as having a child out of wedlock, divorce, and buying a fancy red sports care that screams look at me, but my daily life looks pretty Christian.
I suppose my rebellion is subtler than most. You see, I try to provide for myself. I try to control my life, people in it, and the things that happen to me. I really like to be comfortable. I don’t like conflict. I don’t like to be too hot or too cold. I don’t want to be inconvenienced. So, I control.
How do I do this? I people please. I plan things in advance—I over-plan to the point of driving people around me a bit crazy. I don’t go places that make me uncomfortable. I stay in my bubble. I don’t take risks, even healthy risks. What I lose when I try to control too much is my own self-control. I spend so much time focusing on others and my surroundings that I lose control…I’m not present. I’m in the past or the future, trying to wrest a new outcome from what has been and mitigate any discomfort in the future. I am anxious. Tired. Irritated. Depressed. Afraid.
I was a small child, with chubby cheeks and a little bit of a temper. Imagine me as a small child, demanding my independence, telling God, “You’re not the boss of me! I can do it on my own.” Too bad I didn’t grow out of that like I grew out of my fist-pounding temper tantrums. Instead of throwing an out and out tantrum, now I control and I get angry when God doesn’t make it go my way.
It has taken me a really long time in life to realize that I’m not meant to do it on my own. For a time, I started to get better at asking people for prayer or at least being honest about my struggles. But that was the extent of it, I’d ask for prayer and then go right back to trying to figure it out on my own. Problem-solving is a good thing, until it becomes a way for us to try to remain in control. When my own problem-solving wasn’t going so well, I would turn to other people and start trying to solve their problems. Yep, I’m annoyingly helpful that way. Ultimately, that sums up how I have tried to live most of my life. Definitely time to change my perspective.
I’m not completely there. I struggle everyday with surrender. As much as I know I need to, that little girl inside wants to control. But, I’m learning. I’m learning that, first, I need God, in everything, every day. Second, I need the body of Christ, other believers to traverse the rugged terrain of life. I’m not any better or any worse than anyone else. I’m human. I’m a sinner. I’m in need of a loving savior. What I can tell you is that its better being surrendered and in a state of need to Christ. Life feels more manageable. I’m kinder. I’m more patient. I take bigger risks. I have less fear. It’s good to need Jesus. Very good indeed.
Contributed by Liz Hunt
Cloud, H., & Townsend, J. (2004). How people grow: What the Bible reveals about personal growth. Zondervan.