Summer & Surrender
Posted by Stephanie Griffin, July 18, 2023
The Christian life and summer have one thing in common: surrender. It’s a season where you get to relax, have fun with family and friends, rest, try new recipes, travel to new and old places, read that book your friend let you borrow, and just LET GO! Are you feeling me? Maybe you are in the midst of this surrendering season––this fun-filled, memory-making, letting go of all the tension that we have built up all year. Can you hear Elsa in Disney’s song, Frozen sing...”Let it go! Let it go!”?
Yet, for some, it might be a more difficult surrendering season––a season of caring for a loved one, expectations or dreams dashed, a loss of someone or something important, waiting on the doctor to give you a test result, waiting on a prodigal adult child to return to their roots, or a physical pain that you are praying for healing for. You might be in this season where you are learning and yet not in control.
Surrender actually means “to give up or hand over.” (Webster) It also means to relinquish something granted to you. This could include your possessions, power, goals––even your life.
In Luke 9:23-24, God tells us, “Whoever wants to be my disciple, must deny themself and take up their cross daily and follow me.“ Whoever wants to save their life will lose it. But, whoever loses their life for me, will save it.”
Yet, the world tells us that freedom is found in doing what we want––having fun, living in the moment, and not looking back.
In God’s kingdom, true freedom is found in following His will and then experiencing the true peace and joy of God.
So, I’ve been pondering this this summer. What does it look like to fully surrender to God’s will? Can I experience true freedom?
Let’s look at Jesus’ example. Jesus lived a surrendered life. “I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me...” (John 6:38) Christ never did anything on His own. He didn’t make a move and didn’t speak a word without being instructed by the Father. “I do nothing for myself; but as my Father has taught me. For I do these things that please Him” (John 8:28-29). Jesus’ full surrender to the Father is a perfect example of how we should live. He didn’t talk of His stresses or His “issues.”
He lived content and joyful. So what is God calling you and me to surrender to Him?
For me, it is learning to be completely satisfied and surrendered to Him. No other vice, shopping, binge-watching TV, emotional eating, busy-ness, or anything else will satisfy the way He has and is in my life when I go to him first versus later. I’ve tried...and it is fleeting. I don’t want to spend a lifetime in this cycle. And yet this summer, I realize that it has a whole lot less to do with any action I might take and a whole lot more to do with how I position my heart toward Him.
I remember the story in Matthew 19 of the rich young man who came to Jesus and explained he was following all the rules of the Old Testament, yet he still felt unsatisfied––like something was missing. Jesus responded to him that if he wanted to be whole, he should go sell all his possessions and give it to the poor and he will have treasure up in heaven. However, we all know of this “poor” man’s decision. So, I guess this is it…Jesus is asking me, asking you: “I want you to give up the one thing you crave more than me. Then, come follow me.” Ouch! Can I do it? Can you do it? God wants our undivided heart. And, He also wants what's best for me, even if I can’t see it. So as I lean into Him, might I see it as aligning myself with His will versus giving up something that was never truly mine? Free will. He’ll never force us but invite us. And that invitation, Girls, will never expire.
Walking in God’s grace and love is a lot like summer…it’s surrender.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for living a life of surrender. You sacrificed yourself on the cross so that I might be forgiven and renewed with you. I want to surrender all to you, so expose those areas I have not. I want to walk in Your will, so guide me, walk with me, strengthen me, I need your divine help with each choice I make every day. Help me to come to you FIRST, not last. As I hold my hands up to you, I praise you for your ultimate sacrifice and surrender, which saved my life. Thank you, Lord!
Welcome Stephanie Griffin, our Deeper Still Guest Writer this week. Stephanie is one of the editors of our blog and is an active part of Touching Hearts. She has a servant’s heart and shares her many gifts with others. What a blessing to hear from her heart this week.