Saturday, January 24, 2015
"Surrender - to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc. because you know you will not win or succeed." (Meriam Dictionary) UGH!! That last part made me shiver. I am a competitive, stubborn girl. Tell me I can't, I'll show you I can. My motto is, "I will find a way or make one." It has been my greatest strength and it has been my greatest weakness. How does one who hates losing surrender? That's when it all became clear. I can surrender because doing so ensures victory, not loss.
Matthew 16:24-27, "Whoever loses his life will find it" -- WInning! Psalm 37:7-9 "Surrender yourself to the Lord...those that wait with hope for the Lord will inherit the land." Can it get any better? I only stand to lose that which I am afraid to let go. Sometimes life is a great game of opposite day.
My life echoes with examples of God stepping in when I stop fighting, hiding and resisting; times when I struggle so hard to make things work and all I do is tangle things up more. And yet when I let go, God steps in and easily undoes my knots. I want him to undo my knots every day.
Some of you, like me, may struggle with the idea of surrender. It doesn't feel safe. It feels like weakness. I will be the first to tell you not to give up your power and control to people or things. Don't surrender to defeat. Never let another person control your thoughts and actions. The surrender we are considering is not one of becoming a doormat. Surrendering your thoughts and actions to another person is unwise, but God is not just the boy next door. He is the creator, the beginning and the end. He knew you before you were born. He knows your likes, dislikes, passions and desires. He knows what you were made to do and be and if you let him, he will help you do more than you ever imagined. Look back at the verses from Psalm 37."Surrender yourself to the Lord...those that wait with hope for the Lord will inherit the land." That, my friends, is a sweet surrender.
Last week I wrote about how surrender was my word of the year. I left out an interesting part of the story. Over the Christmas holidays I searched for my word. I looked at all the pieces of my life. I am a very blessed girl. God has brought me through so much and each day continues to amaze me, but there are parts and pieces of my life that bring me stress and worry. As I looked at those parts and questioned how I could improve them (perfect example of my "find a way or make one" mentality) I realized that the areas that bring "knots" to my neck and shoulders are the areas that I struggle most to control. The word surrender began to roll around in my mind. I began to doodle it as I thought about it. I started to google it. I couldn't get it out of my mind. I began to recognize the power of surrender. I chose it as my word. As I went to church the first Sunday of the New Year low and behold the theme was surrender. Imagine that. Sometimes God just tickles me. I surrender.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Each year I search for a word or message that I really want to focus on. It represents an area of my life that I wish to improve. My word for this year is surrender. Not in a "surrender in defeat" kind of way, but in a letting go for victory kind of way. That is going to be a tough one! "Hi, I'm Anna and I'm a control freak". I don't give up. My personality likes to have a firm grasp on the pieces of my life. I like owning my work, my plans, my family, my health, my finances, my future... you get the point. In that lies a major source of my stress. That which drives me is also that which can destroy me. In dealing with "The Nuisance" I have become fully aware that I cannot control much in life and yet there is a part of me that fiercely continues to try. That is the reason for my word surrender. In the struggle for control I actually have a negative impact on the things I hold most dear. Need for control brings worry, doubt and fear. I have no time for that. There is no room for that in a joy filled life. So here is one of my first writings about surrender.
Since 25 A.D. the white flag has been waved as a sign of surrender. It sends an international message of truce or ceasefire. The negotiator that carries the white flag sends a firm message that they are unarmed and either wish to surrender or communicate. The bearer of the flag is under protection. They cannot be attacked or fired upon according to the rules of war. The white flag ultimately serves as a sign of a desire for peace.
Other flags by comparison are covered with markings to represent nations or people. We use them to mark territory, show pride, promote things. We wave them in victory. We use them to taunt opponents. They signify anything but surrender. They represent pride and ownership. Images flash through my mind of the flag on the moon, the famous image of the raising the flag in Iwo Jima, the flag that first responders raised over Ground Zero. I picture flags at the ceremonies of the Olympics, at ballgames, in parades. People are willing to compete for, even die for, the colors of their flags. No surrender.
My life is often marked by a vibrant colored flag waving fiercely over a life of pride and ownership. It is splashed with all the colors that represent things I hold dear -- my family, my friends, my job, my home, my health, my finances and on and on. And there, down in the corner, do you see it? A teeny-tiny patch of white - a small part of me that I have surrendered. But there is no protection under my flag. No peace. The struggle for control of the things represented on my flag leads to a war of worry, a battle of stress. Communication and truce do not take place under my flag. I want peace. So here I am. I am trading in my tie-dyed flag of control for a white one. I am going to surrender my flag and wave one white as snow. Even as I type that phrase, my body bristles a little. Surrender goes against my nature, but this is what I know. In battle when one surrenders, they are giving over authority to one who is an enemy. Someone they don't like, don't trust, don't agree with, will now hold control. That is not the case in my fight. The one that I surrender to has proven time and again that he loves me. He has shown me that I can put my full trust in him. He has taken the most terrible experiences that life can throw at me and shown me joy, hope and peace. He has proven his word to be true time and again. In the moments that I had no control, he showed me not to worry because he did. This surrender is not in defeat, it is in victory. So I pick up my white flag. I surrender my marriage, my children, my health, my home, my job, my finances, my everything to the giver of peace. I call for a ceasefire of worry and stress and under the protection of this white flag, washed in the blood of the lamb, I find joy and peace.
What about your flag? Want to trade it for a white one? Come on, you know you want to! The promise is sweet my friend! Peace! Let's have a white flag parade!!