I’ve been spending quality time with women friends lately, noticing a common theme arising from our conversations – surrender. We’re raising the white flags, relinquishing crippling overwhelm, looming vocational transitions, financial concerns, challenges with our children, and for some marriage and partnership turmoil.
We’re finding controlling our relationships won’t work, goals aren’t panning out, charting new life courses takes time, patience and discernment, adult children need to learn from their mistakes, being parents can be just plain hard sometimes, and overwhelm isn’t productive.
Yet, the surrendering we’re yearning for isn’t the sort of a prisoner surrendering to an enemy. It’s a spiritual surrendering, the deeper knowing that ‘letting go, letting God’ is the only way to true freedom, and the God we’re surrendering to is good, great, all-loving and all-knowing.
My company of beautiful women friends hear a choir of angels beckoning, singing us a deeper tune, “give up, and enter the narrow gate.”
We’re taking a left hand turn to unknown destinations, onto unpaved roads, listening deep within our souls to the song rising through centuries in the Psalms, “be still and know I am God.”
In holy surrender we move into the emptiness and vastness of new life, into a great silence, into the territory like a billion universes and a trillion stars, into the great mystery, the womb of the omnipotent God. As we venture like astronauts into God’s center, gravity shifts, tight grasps loosen, and consciousness widens as we begin a sort of living prayer, surrendering from chronos to kairos – moving into God’s divine time, space and seasons.
Holy surrender opens wide the door to radical faith, a call to believe and trust in the God of promise and blessings, and to know as Julian of Norwich’s once said, “All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
It’s fitting I write this week after Easter, a time when new life bursts forth from death. Just three days earlier in the first Century heat, Jesus cried out in holy surrender on the cross, “it is done”. His work on earth as he knew it was complete. Yet, in the course of three days, from Good Friday, to Holy Saturday, to Easter Sunday, divine work stewed in darkness. In the cocoon of Christ’s death, new life formed wings for the resurrection ahead, a resurrection that would change the world.
In holy surrender we enter our own Holy Saturday seasons of waiting, of entering the cocoon of God’s grace, moving into beingness, nowness, into abiding in God, into the natural rhythm of life no different than a chick forming in it’s shell, a butterfly in it’s metamorphosis.
Holy surrender is a time to relax, let go, and cease striving as we enter into God’s love. As Sarah Bessey says, “living loved we relax our expectations, our efforts, our strivings, our rules, our spine, our breath, our plans, our job descriptions and checklists, we step off the treadmill of the world and the treadmill of religious performance.”
Holy surrender is a grand rest. A Holy Vacation. Just as we give up our days to slumber, in holy surrendering we relinquish the world as we know it, letting go of the control switches, submitting to God.
Frederick Buechner says “sleep is a laying down of arms to die to ourselves”. Just the same, holy surrendering is a time we die to ourselves.
Jesus tells us “truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit”. -John 12:24
And “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself”. Luke 9:23
Webster’s dictionary says, surrendering is ‘to yield power to another’.
Holy surrender is heeding the call of Jesus’ words in the gospel of Matthew,“take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.”
As we yield to the power of Christ, becoming branches on the vine, we also stand on holy ground, in the land of promises, of milk and honey, where joy, truth and miracles bloom, a territory where ‘mountains and forests burst into song, the trees clap their hands’ and ‘springs rise up from the desert’.
As we move into a season of holy surrender, let us remember Jesus’ words, ““Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom”.- Luke 12:32
And remember, God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”. – Ephesians 3:20
Will you join me in Holy Surrendering this week? I invite you to write down one scripture or quote from today’s blog and make it your week’s prayer!