(By Christina Draper)
“Give me the strength to let go
Give me the strength to surrender
Give me the strength to stop holding on
I've been holding on so long
Give me the strength to let go
And show me the way to come home”
I like being in control of things. I like facts and certainties which is why I was always better at math than English. I avoid things that have unknown variables and numerous outcomes. If I know what’s coming then I can plan for it and avoid the perceived pain. I spent many years white-knuckling the reins and trying to make everything okay. I was fully convinced I was steering my life in the right direction until I drove it right into a brick wall. Upon impact, I felt the reins slip from my hands, and I had no choice but to let them fall away. When the chaos of the crash had died down though, I picked up those reins in desperate need of comfort. They felt different this time; they felt wrong.
Do you remember sitting down for an exam and getting to that one question that you just couldn’t wrap your head around? You kept reading it and trying to remember the right formula, but you just couldn’t figure it out. That’s what letting go feels like to me, and probably to most. God has been teaching me this same lesson for years, but it wasn’t until recently that I understood His message. Although it is still a daily process, through my journey I have learned that when I let go, I truly gain all the things my heart desires safety, certainty, and freedom.
Safety in Surrender
“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).
When you were a kid, did you ever wake up from a nightmare and make a beeline for your parents’ bedroom? You made a makeshift bed on the floor or cozied into their bed, and fell blissfully asleep. You felt safe. That’s what the Lord wants us to do. He wants us to lay everything at His feet and rest in the truth that He is in control. The beauty of surrender is that we open the door to let the peace of the Lord come flooding through. When we acknowledge that God has a plan for good and not evil, we can rest soundly in His everlasting arms.
Certainty in Surrender
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).
My greatest fear in letting go has always been the unknown. How can I prepare myself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually for every possible outcome if I don’t know what comes next? How can I be sure of the outcome if I don’t do something to manipulate it? What I had forgotten, and what we often forget is that we aren’t letting go and watching the reins slip off into the distance, but instead, we’re resting them in the hands of the Author of time. We are giving control to the One who created the vast complexities of this earth. He alone has the ability to deliver us from and through the unknowns.
Freedom in Surrender
“You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence, there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
When we think of the word “surrender” it doesn’t typically bring the word freedom to mind. We picture troops on the battlefield waving the white flag and admitting defeat. However, there is true freedom in surrendering our life to the Lord’s will. When we give up the reins, we free ourselves of the weight and burden of the future because we are entrusting it to the Lord. With all aspects of life safely in the hands of the Creator, we can live in the certainty of His plan. As we follow His path through life we can experience the fullness of His joy.
I am only at the beginning of my journey to complete surrender. I still slip up and grab the reins from time to time, but the beauty of a gracious God is His patience with us as we learn. As I press on, I will sing the lyrics to the song above with all that I have. I hope you will, too.