The word “surrender” has been thrown around my entire life. A lot of times, it was used in the context of war or battle, where one side is dominating another, and so the weaker end “surrenders” so as to save themselves. It was almost used synonymously to “give up”. Meaning if you didn’t surrender, you weren’t giving up, and would continue to fight.
Because I have a strong Christian background, the term surrender was used a lot more regularly too. You’re constantly told to surrender everything to God’s plan. Whatever God’s will is, you must submit to it. Get rid of all your preconceived notions and your own agendas, and surrender. And for most of my life, I’ve had this mentality that when I’m supposed to surrender things to God, or when I decide to surrender things over to God, what’s supposed to happen is I’m supposed to give up everything and do a complete 180.
But the more I think about it, the more I recognize that my thinking is not right. I’m starting to see surrendering as being the willingness to follow another’s direction, to let someone else lead instead of yourself. But just because I’m letting someone else lead, that doesn’t mean that I was headed in the wrong direction to start. Sometimes, you can surrender an area of your life over to God, without actually changing your direction, but more just changing your process and your thinking.
My education and future have been big things that I’ve been trying to surrender to God. I truly don’t have 100% direction as to what I’m supposed to be studying, and what my future holds. But when I say that I’m going to “surrender” that aspect of life to God, am I supposed to change my major now? Am I supposed to find another career opportunity? I don’t think so. Before I surrendered, decisions were made because I was selfish and looking out for simply myself, and I would be too stubborn to change any part of my thinking. But now that I’m surrendering it, I’m continuing down the same road, but this time it’s with a greater vision for God’s kingdom, seeing how this affects other people, and I’m willing to make changes if need be. That is surrendering.
So many times we fall into this false mentality that every act that we’ve made without giving it up to God is the wrong act. The act itself might not be wrong. The part that is initially wrong is the motive of your heart. Obviously, there will be times when our acts truly are wrong, and we do need to make a 180 degree turnaround to fix it. But we shouldn’t simply assume that that is the case. That’s like the easy way out. Instead, we need re-evaluate everything, and recognize first where our heart is at. Then, by changing our hearts towards the Lord’s, we can start to plan out our lives again. Maybe the Lord will tell us He wants us to do something completely different. Or maybe He wants us to continue down the same path, but just with a different heart. If you weren’t surrendered with your first decision, don’t believe that just doing the opposite is surrendering. That’s just false assurance that you’re doing what is right. This life is not made of cut-and-dry, black and white decisions. God’s not sitting up in heaven just watching where you are walking, and thinking “ooh, if he went right, he would have been in the good area.” No, it’s more than that. God wants us to think. He wants us to reason. He wants us to understand things. This life is filled with grey areas, and He wants us to be able to take past experiences and prior knowledge of Christ to know and understand what to do in those situations.
Surrendering is important. The will of God is greater than any of our wills. We need to be more willing to have the heart of surrender, more so than just the act of it.