“I surrender,” I shouted as I was caught during an intense neighborhood game of cops and robbers. I was on my way to the “safe zone” when I was practically tackled by my opponent so they could get the “stolen” object from my hand. My surrender that I said that day, was my cry of defeat, “I’m done, you win!”
I pretty much went through life thinking that is what surrender means, being defeated, being weaker, and giving up, the other opponent or life circumstance wins. That was until one day in 2001, when I was beginning my faith journey, that I read a poem called The Road to Life by an unknown author. The author talked about how they didn’t want to surrender their life to Christ, because they “thought he’d wreck it”, but as the poem went on, little by little, the author put their life and desires into the hands of Christ and was shown beautiful, life-changing things they would never have seen otherwise, and it brought about so much joy, peace, understanding, love, and trust.
What Does it Mean to Surrender?
This poem made me curious about this idea of surrender. Maybe it has nothing to do with being weak and giving up, maybe it’s more about strength, to blindly trust, to let go and let God? I needed to know more. My first burning question was, why? Why is it important to surrender and my second, equally important question was, how?
The answer to my first question “why,” came pretty easily, as I looked into Scripture. It is rich with teachings about this very thing:
- “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
- “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you (Psalm 9:10).
- “Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
We also see that Jesus himself pleads with us to let him take over and surrender to him as he says, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Matthew 11: 28-30). These are just a few of the many rich scriptures that point to “why surrender.”
How I Surrender
Now onto the how… This answer, I found to be a little more complicated. It takes practice to implement and prayer and perseverance to surrender. I like to break down the act of surrendering into action steps.
- The first step is to BELIEVE. Believe that God is who he says he is, and then “Walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7). If we believe that God is who he says he is, which is a loving God who loves us fiercely, then we must trust that he always has our greatest good in mind at all times.
- The second step is TRUST, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3).
- Then we must SEEK, seek to know him and to be known by him. “Seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, * and all these things will be given to you” (Matthew 6:33). Get into His word, have intimate conversations with him through prayer and invite him into your heart daily.
- Then you’ll be ready for the final step, LET GO AND LET GOD.
Don’t be afraid to ask him for help to lay down your earthly desires, sinful nature, or desire to be in control, even ask forgiveness for times you were unwilling to let him lead in the past. He knows you are not perfect, but he also knows your heart’s desire to lay it all down.
Why I Surrender
The reason I like to put surrendering into easy steps, is because it’s not a one-and-done type of thing. Sometimes, depending on the circumstance, I have to surrender several times a day! Being the “take charge” type of person that I am, I sometimes give something over to God in the morning only to find I am taking it back and trying to fix it “my way” in the same day! Once I recognize what I have done, I go back through my steps and hand it over to Him again, which he always lovingly takes back. I am so glad the Lord is patient and loving with me! When I do finally fully surrender to God and say, “Ok, I’m done”, I no longer feel defeated and say “you win” like I did back when I was tackled in the neighborhood game, now I realize when I surrender, I win – because I know God is leading me and this brings about so much joy, peace, understanding, love, and trust, just like it did for the author in the poem. Practice surrendering today – God’s ways are so much higher and greater than our own. It might be scary, but it’s so worth it!
The Road of Life
At first, I saw God as my observer,
keeping track of the things I did wrong,
so as to know whether I merited heaven
or hell when I die.
He was out there sort of like a president.
I recognized His picture when I saw it,
but I really didn’t know Him.
But later on
when I met Christ,
it seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride,
but it was a tandem bike,
and I noticed that Christ
was in the back helping me pedal.
I don’t know just when it was
that He suggested we change places,
but life has not been the same since.
When I had control,
I knew the way.
It was rather boring,
but predictable . . .
It was the shortest distance between two points.
But when He took the lead,
He knew delightful long cuts,
and through rocky places
at breakneck speeds,
it was all I could do to hang on!
Even though it looked like madness,
He said, “Pedal!”
I worried and was anxious
“Where are you taking me?”
He laughed and didn’t answer,
and I started to learn to trust.
I forgot my boring life
and entered into the adventure.
And when I’d say, “I’m scared,”
He’d lean back and touch my hand.
He took me to people with gifts that I needed,
gifts of healing,
They gave me gifts to take on my journey,
my Lord’s and mine.
And we were off again.
He said, “Give the gifts away;
they’re extra baggage, too much weight.”
So I did,
to the people we met,
and I found that in giving I received,
and still our burden was light.
I did not trust Him,
in control of my life.
I thought He’d wreck it;
but He knows bike secrets,
knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners,
knows how to jump to clear high rocks,
knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.
And I am learning to shut up
in the strangest places,
and I’m beginning to enjoy the view
and the cool breeze on my face
with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.
And when I’m sure I just can’t do anymore,
He just smiles and says . . . “Pedal.”
– Author Unknown
Mandi-bre Watson is a passionate follower of Jesus, a devoted wife, and a mother of 4. Through her writing and speaking, she tries to be a beacon of hope as she points people to the Savior. She owns a small marketing company that helps other small businesses and is also the owner of an online boutique, Veiled in Love, where she sells her handmade veils. She is a certified Spiritual Companion through Oblate School of Theology & an active member of St. Francis of Assisi Church. Mandi-bre also served as the Emcee of the 2022 Catholic Women’s Conference and serves as a member of Pilgrim Center of Hope’s Speaker Team.