I have to say I was excited when I saw this word come up as the prompt. A year ago, my reaction would have been the opposite, but then “surrender” was the word God led me to focus on as my word for 2016.
At first I was reluctant. It was definitely the first act of surrender to embrace the word, and it has been an interesting journey from that point on.
It started with an important lesson about what the word “surrender” really means and the realisation that God does not look for a forced surrender, but a willing moment-by-moment obedience.
I explored the book “Anything” by Jennie Allen, which helped me to face a lot of the fears I associated with surrender and to reach the point where I truly believed surrender to God was worth it and I was willing to step into that.
It has led me to places I never would have expected: being part of a new church plant. This has blessed me in ways I would never have imagined and after a very love/hate relationship with church for several years, I have finally found a place where I feel like I belong, where I can connect with people, where I can use my gifts, where we can make a difference in the community.
Then there was surrendering the pseudonym I used throughout my first year of blogging to blog under my real name. Again, something I had not planned to do but which I am so glad I did. I worried a lot about surrendering the protection of a pseudonym, but actually I feel I have found my voice more and deepened many of the connections within the blogging community.
There has also been lots of behind the scenes work going on that I haven’t written about here.
What I’ve learned is that surrender is terrifying- it is like jumping off a cliff, just hoping that someone is going to catch you. It involves faith- that if God is calling you, somehow it will work out.
It is not for the faint-hearted, it is difficult and it means dying to self, but it is also tremendously life-giving- opening the doors to new possibilities and unexpected blessings.
I’m glad this has been my word for the year. It’s not over yet, and learning to surrender to God will be an on-going lesson, but it is one I’m glad I have begun.
“Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35 NLT)