When you look up at the sun and notice how the rays of sunlight peek through the clouds on a gray day, instead of simply noticing the dark clouds that are covering the sun – that is a “glass half full” type of attitude. It’s a good, but tough attitude to have. People who have that type of attitude have usually worked really hard to get to the point where that’s their default attitude.
Each morning when I wake up, I have to make the conscious effort to surrender. Whether you suffer from any type of mental illness, physical ailment, day to day stressors, or any trial you might be facing in your life, we all must choose to surrender if we want to find peace.
This is something I’ve been learning gradually over time: when I make the effort to think and say positive things to lift up myself and others and to, most importantly, be in constant communication with God, I feel more fulfilled and better able to find peace regardless of the circumstances and situations surrounding me.
Every day when I wake up, I take a shower, get dressed, and sit down at my kitchen table with breakfast and my bible. I read, journal, and talk to God for about 20 minutes every single day. It’s never as long as I would like for it to be, but it’s long enough to remind my hopelessly weary heart where home truly is and that there is greater purpose to life than aimlessly mulling my way through day after day after day.
Self-salvation is a very real and deadly issue, particularly in our western society where there is constantly pressure to always do more, be more, work work work, achieve the best, the highest, the most, etc. There is a never ending quest, it seems, to out-do the person next to us. Constantly.
When we refuse to surrender we are taking our lives into our own hands and allowing ourselves to be consumed by the false belief that we are in control. But our lives are not our own and we are almost never capable of having control over anything around us.
What others do and say, the weather, the traffic, etc – none of it can be controlled by us. All we have a say over is how we respond or react to these things, negatives AND positives. It’s easy to jump for joy and celebrate the positive things that occur in our lives. It’s a whole lot harder to find peace among all the negatives…and there are a LOT of negatives surrounding us – even the cheeriest of optimists has to admit that!
When we surrender, when we find the strength to admit that we have no control and we can’t do this on our own, then (and only then, I believe) we can find peace.
For the sake of vulnerability, I will share that in the past week or so, I have found myself down on my knees on multiple occasions, pleading and bargaining with God. Depression is a very real struggle in my life and Satan knows EXACTLY where my weak spots are and how to attack and unravel me in no time at all. I think this is true of everyone – Satan knows how to hit us right where it hurts the most and he will NOT hesitate or think twice about doing it. Time after time after time, he will throw punches again and again until he’s knocked us down so many times that we can’t get back up.
Or so we think. When we choose to surrender we are actively accepting the fact that life is not and will not ever be perfect. We are throwing our hands up in the air and saying, “God I trust You. I can’t handle this, but I know YOU can.” It’s acknowledging that we will be hurt, lied too, broken down, but not beaten – we can face the battles of our lives knowing that before they even begin, before we have any understanding of them, they have been won.
Thinking that we can somehow save ourselves or control the whirlwind of life that is constantly rushing around us means that all our of security resides in SELF, not in God – that the power of prayer depends on the person praying, not the Spirit responding to the prayer. And ultimately this thought process of self salvation, this trap of unruly confidence, these lies that Satan whispers – they just lead us to a painful and prayerless life. It leads to self hate, self loathing, and anger when we don’t get the outcome that we think we deserved or worked hard for…because we gave ourselves all the power. It leads to strained relationships, manipulation, and the seeking out of ultimate domination and control because we think that we somehow know best, are the best, or even worse…we hate ourselves or those around us because we believe we SHOULD be the best.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. God is the only one who can save us because He is the only one who has any control and power. We can always run to God because His love is unconditional and perfect in every single possible way. He understands because He has felt every horrible feeling that exists on this Earth before we could ever conceive that amount of pain. He also knows our Joy, is our biggest cheerleader, and celebrates in our victories with us – the ones published in the newspaper, and the ones published in our hearts. We can walk with quiet confidence when we choose to surrender and walk with God.
Max Lucado said it best when he said, “The Holy Spirit turns our sighs into petitions and tears into entreaties. He speaks for you and protects you. He makes sure you get heard.” (Grace For the Moment, p 657).
He hears us. He loves us. He is pleading for us to surrender. It’s the hardest thing in this entire world and what makes it even more difficult is that we have to choose it again and again every morning when we wake up.
Life isn’t perfect. It never has been and it won’t ever be. But that doesn’t mean we can’t find peace and joy, even through tears of pain and times of trial. It’s possible to have a “glass half full” attitude when you choose to surrender and focus everything you have on the One who created this entire universe. Surrender. You’ll find your life when you lay it down.
God is life. God is life in action. The best way to say, “I love you, God,” is to live your life doing your best. The best way to say, “Thank you, God,” is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment, right here and now. Whatever life takes away from you, let it go. When you surrender and let go of the past, you allow yourself to be fully alive in the moment. Letting go of the past means you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now.”
― Miguel Ruiz