When I was 17, I surrendered my life to Jesus.
I had grown up in church, loving churchy activities and hearing about a man called Jesus, but I never truly knew Jesus. It wasn’t until life was much worse, much more broken, much more fragile, that I finally got to know Jesus personally. His love breathed air into my gasping soul. My circumstances hadn’t changed, but I had a Partner, a Love, a Friend.
Those days, surrendering to Jesus was easy. I had nothing in my life that I was even tempted to keep for myself. It was easy to give everything to Jesus when all I had were problems and ashes left behind from dreams that used to be. Of course I gave all I had to Jesus… I had no clue how to put the broken pieces together myself.
But then life changed, for the better, mind you. Things came together. I learned to dream again. I started to care more and more about the outcome of my life, what I wanted out of it, and prizing Jesus as the satisfaction of my being became more and more of a struggle. Apparently, handing Jesus my problems is a lot more convenient than handing Him my deepest desires, the dreams tucked way way deep down in my soul. Because of who I am, my mind runs rampant with new ideas and dreams and all the magic that might be in the future, and because of this, I’m having to relearn the art of surrender.
Just to preface, I. am. terrible. at. surrender. Hear me. I am awful at it. My heart and my brain are two completely different creatures and extremely dislike unity with each other. Therefore, what I’ve “surrendered” in my head I tend to find captive in the clutches of my heart. I’m a woman that holds tight to the things that I love… which is fine and dandy until it makes me an idolater.
Truthfully, I’ve been stuck wrestling with Jesus these past weeks because His plans don’t resemble any of my original blueprints. The spoiled brat inside my heart kicked and screamed for awhile before the Lord sweetly reminded me the art of surrender. So what did I do? I crammed my desires way deep down and refused to acknowledge them and acted as if they didn’t exist because that’s what surrender looks like, obviously… (insert hair flip). And I genuinely lived that way until I took the time to ask Jesus His thoughts on the matter.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
Friends, surrendering to Jesus doesn’t mean we stop caring about what we most desire… it doesn’t mean that we stop praying for it or even thinking about it. He doesn’t expect us to perfectly hand over the thing that our soul holds as dear. It simply means that when we do think of it, we know that in Jesus we are already complete without that thing. That we consciously make the decision each time to offer it to him as a love sacrifice, as a “not my will, but Your will be done.” And that every time we think of it, we put it at the feet of Jesus and teach our souls to prize Him as the most precious, knowing that He is the ultimate prize, not that physical thing.
And honestly? Sometimes I act like surrendering my treasures to Jesus is the very worst idea ever. And it would be if we had to give our dreams and hopes and deepest desires to God without full assurance that He was trustworthy or on our side… the whole act of laying our lives down would be stupid, if not impossible. But Jesus is trustworthy. Do you hear me? He’s safe. He’s pure and righteous and just. He’s compassionate, merciful, and kind. He’s generous. His unchanging, unshaking, unrelenting love for us is what makes surrender possible… and even wonderful.
He, in His loving kindness, doesn’t command us to pretend our desires don’t matter… He tells us that He wants to hear about them! And He doesn’t ask us to hand over our favorite gifts as if He’s a thief of joy, but because He’s the author and fullness of joy who died to give us access to Joy Himself in abundance. You can trust that the gifts you surrender to Jesus are kept watchfully, known fully, and (if He chooses) withheld thoughtfully and for the purpose of drawing you closer to the heart of the Gift Giver Himself. And even if we’re left empty handed… even if our dreams fall through our fingers like sand, our souls can sing It Is Well knowing that our One True Hope still reigns supreme no matter how many smaller hopes have to be sacrificed to keep our hearts set on Jesus alone.
Buds, I’m not saying it’s easy. Surrender is a hard thing. It takes so much time and conscious energy and continual hypothetical hand opening toward heaven… but just know that Jesus is worth every single second. He’s worth every single tear. He’s in every single disappointment and leading you to His heart through every single trial. We just gotta keep our chins up and trust that Jesus knows where He’s taking us.
All my love,