Strength in the Surrender
It’s been written in my birthday and Mother’s Day cards. It’s been used as encouragement on days when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’ve been told that it is the reason that all of the circumstances from throughout my life haven’t been able to keep me down. “You’re the strongest woman that I know.”
I’m sure that you’ve been told that a time or two throughout different seasons of your life. My husband is one of the sources of this testament for me. Every time that he tells me how strong I am my reaction is always, “No I’m not.” Why is that? I do a lot as the women of the house. I maintain everyone’s schedule in the household, I cook for the family, I meal prep for myself, I clean the house and do the laundry, I buy the birthday and Christmas presents and remember all of the special occasions in our family and outside of it. I work a couple times a week, I do homework and make lunches, drive to swim lessons and soccer practice and all while trying to make sure that my husband and children know how much they are loved by both God and myself. I support and encourage all members of my family. I try to be a teacher of God’s word and an example of his ways. So why then am I so quick to say “No I’m not”? Why then do I breakdown in tears when all of the stresses of parenting and marriage and schedules and life become too much for me to handle. If I am so incredibly strong why am I showing so much weakness?
It has somehow become a belief that the more you can handle the stronger you are. The more stress you carry and the more burdens you bare the more your strength shines through like a badge of honor. It sure as hell doesn’t feel honorable when I’m crouched down in the corner of my closet sobbing because the bickering between my seven and four year old has finally become too much and my husband still doesn’t know that he has to wash both the inside and the outside of the dishes. It feels ridiculous. It feels like I’m living in a constant state of weakness only to walk outside of my closet and put my proverbial big girl pants on and handle the day like a boss.
The deeper I’ve gotten into my need to control all things, the worse things have become. I recently sat down with a couple of friends of mine that helped me realize that when the plans that I have for the day don’t pan out or when my husband doesn’t get that overtime shift that we were counting on it is because it wasn’t God’s will for us. I left our Gatorade date (I don’t drink coffee) thinking about God’s will. What do I know about it? I know that His will for our lives is good. I know that His will is better than anything I could imagine. I know that inevitably it is His will that will be done and not mine. So why then am I fighting tooth and nail to hold on to the control when I know that He is in control? Why am I trying to hold the power in my own life and be the deal maker when I know that I am powerless without Him; all deals go through Him. I finally realized that I haven’t trusted him in any area of my life. I have a heart problem.
Although, I as a Christian can talk a big game as to where my heart is, my controlling behavior says otherwise. Our behaviors are mirrors into our hearts. Our behaviors are not caused by the circumstance in our season but by the fractures on our heart. I say I believe that God is in control, but is it true? No, I believe that I am in control, that I can handle it all. Worst of all I believe the lie that God cannot do what I can. How’s that for belief?
I have become such a control freak that I began thinking, how could God overcome anything that I can’t. Then I go to church, where the sermon is about God doing immeasurably more in our lives; how surrendering all to him opens the door for Him to do the unimaginable in our lives.
It’s like going to a financial advisor to invest your money because you “believe” that there is opportunity for it to grow substantially by doing so. Only to hold the money clenched so tightly in your hand as you extend it to him that he isn’t able to do anything with it. I’ve had my fists clenched so tightly around all that involves my life and then pray to God to help me with it. How can He? Have you ever heard of the saying let go and let God. Well, this is what it means. Let go of all that you are guarding so that He is able to do great things in your life; things that you are not capable of.
If our purpose in this life is to become more like Jesus, then we have to let go of our non-belief. Where would Jesus be if he didn’t believe? Can you imagine him nailed to the cross with a heart lacking belief? We cannot be who God says we are without the belief that He is who He says He is.
Today, I prayed. I sobbed and begged for His hand to be in every area of our life. Today I promised to surrender. I am fully aware that I am human and have strong urges to control and to be my own boss, but I am also aware that I am chasing something bigger than my own urges. I am chasing a heart that has surrendered all to a powerful God. Today a piece of my strength was found. Not in myself but in my King. It was not found in how many tasks I accomplished or in how much stress and pain I could bare before I broke. It was found in the surrender, in the release of my grip on everything He has given us.
So now would I say that I am a strong woman? No, but I would say to you that I’m going to be. One day at a time, one act of trust at a time and hopefully one less tear at a time.
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24
Do you struggle with your belief? What areas of your life harbor a heart problem?