Sometimes I wonder if I'll spend the rest of my life learning how to surrender. As beings that are both spiritual and physical, navigating life and relationships in a world filled with real challenges, real people, and real problems can be daunting. In the face of these obstacles, how can we fully surrender ourselves to a God who is Spirit, trusting in His help and care for us?
The Challenge of Surrendering
Surrendering to a God who is Spirit requires us to let go of our earthly concerns and trust that He is present and active in our lives. This is particularly difficult when our physical reality seems to outweigh the presence and care of our Heavenly Father. How can we, as the Psalmist says in Psalm 46:10, "be still and know" that He is God?
When I say that Prayer Scarves is the fruit of clinging to Christ through thick and thin, I mean it. I have and continue to endure extraordinary threats to my peace, joy, and well-being, as well as that of my family. I can testify to seeking God's will, even in the face of present danger, and witnessing His manifold wisdom in working things out for my ultimate good.
The Art of Listening
To master the art of surrendering to God, the most important skill we must develop is listening. Studying the Bible lays the foundation for understanding God's character and truth. It is foundational to knowing His voice and discerning His will which is crucial for surrendering ourselves to His guidance.
Through prayer, praise, and worship, we cultivate a relationship with His Spirit that continually reveals the depths of His Word and calls verses to remembrance at the right time, guiding us in our decisions and actions. How can we grow more attentive to the voice of the Spirit?
Recognizing the Barriers to Surrender
There will always be internal and external battles against oneness with God, and there are common barriers to surrender that many of us face. Embrace the opportunity to examine these obstacles before God, so they can be resolved. However, be cautious not to let the acknowledgment of these challenges lead to feelings of condemnation and shame. Remember, recognizing these issues within ourselves is a blessing, and it's even more of a blessing to be able to bring them before a God who tells us to call Him Father, invites us to reason with Him, promises forgiveness, extends mercy, and gently corrects us.
Common Reasons People Struggle to Surrender
Lack of trust: People may struggle to trust God due to past hurts, disappointments, or the fear of the unknown.
♥Ask yourself these questions before God: Are there areas in my life where I find it difficult to trust God? What past experiences might be influencing my ability to trust Him fully? Are there instances where God did not meet my expectations that have left me with hidden resentments or mistrust?
Pride: Pride can make it difficult for individuals to admit they need help or guidance, causing them to resist surrendering to God's will. Pride may also manifest as a response to insecurities, leading to a greater concern for being accepted or admired by others rather than pleasing God. This subtle form of pride can deafen our "ears" and blind our "eyes" to God's guidance. In James 4:6, we read, "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble."
♥ Reflect on this in the presence of God: Am I willing to admit that I need God's help and guidance in my life? Is pride, whether overt or subtle, hindering my ability to fully surrender to Him?
Desire for control: Many people want to maintain control over their lives and decisions, making it hard for them to let go and allow God to take the lead. Jesus tells us in Matthew 16:24-25, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it."
♥ Bring these questions to God in prayer: Do I struggle with the desire for control in my life? Is it a lack of trust in God that makes it hard for me to surrender control? How can I relinquish control and trust God's leading?
Unresolved sin: Unaddressed sin can create a barrier between us and God, making it difficult to surrender fully to His will. 1 John 1:9 assures us that, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
♥ Acknowledge God's presence and examine your heart before Him with these questions:
Is there unresolved sin in my life that is hindering my relationship with God? How can I repent of this sin to fully embrace His will?
Distraction: In our fast-paced world, it's easy to become distracted by the numerous demands on our time and attention. These distractions can divert our focus from God, making it difficult to fully surrender to His will. In Luke 10:41-42, Jesus reminds us of the importance of choosing what is better when He says, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
♥ Reflect on these questions: Are there distractions in my life that are keeping me from fully surrendering to God? How can I prioritize my relationship with Him amidst the busyness of life?
👉 Practical Tips for Surrendering to God's Will
Cultivate trust in God: Strengthen your faith by studying the Bible, learning about God's character, and reflecting on His faithfulness in your life. Share your concerns with Him in prayer, and ask for help in trusting Him more deeply.
Practice humility: Acknowledge that you are not in control and that you need God's guidance in your life. Take advantage of opportunities to serve others and put their needs before your own, as this can help you develop a humble attitude. Reflect on your insecurities and the ways they might be impacting your relationship with God and your obeisance to Him. Be intentional about focusing on pleasing God rather than seeking acceptance or admiration from others.
Let go of control: Surrendering control means being willing to accept God's plan, even if it's different from your own. Develop a habit of including God in your plans - talking openly about what you want to do, seeking His guidance, and spending time listening in prayer. Pray for the strength to let go of your desire for control and the wisdom to follow God's leading.
Confess and repent of sin: Examine your heart before God and confess any sin that may be hindering your relationship with Him. Seek His forgiveness and make a decision, every day if you have to, to turn away from sinful behavior. Ask Him to help you live a life that aligns with His will.
Engage in regular prayer and meditation: Set aside time each day for prayer and meditation on God's Word. It invites the supernatural work of His Spirit, helps you to stay in tune with your connection to God, and preserves a posture of surrender.
If you are determined to live a surrendered life, remember that the process is ongoing, and it requires patience, persistence, and faith. In surrendering to God's will, we open ourselves up to His blessings, guidance, and provision, experiencing peace and rest in the knowledge of His eternal presence.
Prayer to Learn to Surrender
God in heaven, yet also within me, help me to follow your lead.
I know that you know what's best for me. I know that you know what lies ahead. I know you will never leave nor forsake me. I understand that this world is full of troubles and that following you won't always mean walking an easy road, but I trust you to lift me up above my circumstances with peace that surpasses all understanding. You are my peace. You are my portion. I don't deserve you, yet I have you, and you deserve to be glorified in my life.
You said you would help me to do what pleases you.
Help me to be a good and faithful servant in Jesus's name.