I wish I had the time to study this stuff more. I’d love to go back to school and just study the Word. I’m in such a different place now than I was when I actually was in school. One of the things I’d do, if I was a student again, is study the word surrender in the Bible. Actually, there are three S words I’d like to know more about. Surrender, submission, and sacrifice. I think they are key words. Yes, if I was a real student, I’d study these words. And how they relate to that other S word. Service.

(Hey, do you think I use italics too much? I use italics a lot, I know. But I’m limited, pretty much, to bolding and italicizing, which doesn’t give me much to work with. And sometimes I just really want to emphasize what I am saying, you know?  So forgive the over-italicizing, please. We’ll just call it artistic expression or something. If I upgrade my blog, I’ll have more font options. That would be cool.)

But, for now, I am limited in how I can communicate my feelings through this media. Which means I have to surrender to the limitations that are placed on me. (See what I did there?) The limitations are real. There is nothing to be gained by fighting against them. There is, instead, the challenge of working within them.

Maybe this is what surrender is, really. Not defeat. Not giving up or despair or failure. Maybe surrender, instead, is accepting the challenge of working within the limitations.

There are many things I surrender to in my life. I surrender to our financial situation. I surrender to my choice to be a stay-at-home mom, to my age, to my marriage, to my high cholesterol. I can ignore or fight against any of these things, but that does not change anything. It only causes problems. If I ignore my financial situation, the limits of my finances, then I have debt to deal with. If I fight against the limits placed on me by being at home with my children, then my children and I and pretty much every person in the immediate vicinity is miserable. If I ignore my high cholesterol then, well, bad things will happen.

The great surrender, though, is to my God. My creator, my hope, my saviour, my all. I can ignore him. I can try to fight against him. But that only leaves me unhappy, empty, needy.

But to choose this surrender, like any surrender, brings with it the challenge of working within limitations. And the biggest limitation, really, is that surrender to him means it’s no longer all about me. It’s not all about my happiness, or my success, or my goals. But the paradox, the beautiful irony, is that this self-surrender is the only thing that brings true joy and peace and satisfaction.

It’s just what I’ve been thinking about lately.

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Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He  didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death – and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion.

Philippians 2: 5-8 (the message)

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