My hands gripped the arms of the chair so tightly that I feared my fingers would find themselves permanently stuck in that position. I tried Lamaze breathing to calm down my beating heart that I was sure was loud enough for all to hear. Prayers lifted in rapid succession as my breathing matched the staccato of my prayers. Lying in a chair covered in a thick plastic-like vinyl did nothing to calm my fears. I was well on my way to a total lack of control. Not my happy place at all.
Control is my friend. At least that’s what I tell myself. I tightly grip what I deem to be important believing I have it all figured out. I forget that letting go is a step in the journey to surrender.
That day in the dentist chair is one example of how control is elusive. I’m not a dentist and I needed to rely on the capable hands of the one who has the training.
The same thing happens in other areas of my life. Just when I think I have everything figured out, I’m thrown a curveball. Letting go and turning to the One, who is the keeper of all control, is the best solution. So then why do I tend to do the opposite?
If only I had the answer to that question!
God knows my struggle with control. In fact, He took this year to teach me about surrender. As January began this year, God gently assured me He had my best interests at heart.
I’ve been holding on tightly ever since. Tightly to God and the path He created for me.
A look back at my journey to surrender is a path of growth, new identity, and God’s truth. Walk with me, as I reflect on this past year.
I’m not one to make waves or go against the grain, but learning the ins and outs of surrender has left me holding onto things a bit longer than needed. Just when I felt the need to hold on, God called me to let go. The tension in the act of surrender increases as we go deeper in the process. Click HERE to read how I started on the road to surrender.
The journey to surrender over these last eleven months has been life-changing. It is no mistake that God chose the word “surrender” for me. He saw the depth of my fear and unworthiness and gently pried my fingers apart to receive His love and grace.
He reframed and reworked my belief in myself to include words such as “enough”, “daughter of the King”, “beloved”, and “worthy”. My shaken identity disappeared and the truth of God took its place. I rest in a place of knowing I am loved and chosen by a God who desires to see me grow.
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 NLT
Surrendering myself to God’s truth involves a daily reckoning. Each day leads me one step closer or one step farther away. The choice is all mine.
But more often than not, I choose the baby step toward God. Each tentative movement is only possible in the act of recognizing God’s truth. The importance of accepting who God says He is became a turning point. A reference of how far I’ve come. The pivotal piece of the process that moved me from holding on tight to gradually letting go. There is so much more I can say about the truth that only comes from God, but for now you can read more about this part of my journey HERE.
[Tweet “A look back at my #oneword SURRENDER.Find out if my journey to surrender is over. #TellHisStory”]
As with all travels, you begin, stay the course, and pray you make it to the end. Some travels, continue beyond the anointed time. Surrender is ongoing and as the calendar year draws to a close my journey is far from over.
I shared these words last week: “I have a feeling that God’s call for me to surrender will not end on December 31.”
But the context surrounding that statement is how surrender blossoms in obedience. The word obedience is the factor that will keep me walking toward surrender the rest of my life.
In my imperfect humanness, obedience is the area where I flourish or struggle. It takes a daily awakening to the “yes” God creates for me and the willingness to choose it again and again.
How do you surrender daily and work to make your “yes” a “yes” and your “no” a “no”?
Blessings on the journey!
Look for a sign up document next week to become a featured guest at #TellHisStory. I am looking at the third Tuesday of each month for one of you to share your story. We are better together and His story is your story. Won’t you join us as the story continues with you?
#TellHisStory holiday schedule
Christmas Day- no link up
New Year’s Day – no link up
Link up resumes on Tuesday, January 8, 2019
I might post a message on each of these holidays but I know how important “presence” is during the holidays. I pray you find time for your own “presence” moments.
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Thanks for the linkup and the reminder that I’m always choosing a step toward or away. On my best days, I start by opening my journal and writing the word “Lord,” then turn my thoughts/concerns into a prayer. I can’t help remembering that he can be trusted.
What a beautiful way to begin your day! I have my journal nearby but don’t always stop to recognize the fact that God gifted me with a new day. Thank you for joining us here today.
What a journey. Thank you for including us in it. laurensparks.net
Yes and journeys are what life is all about. Blessings on your own journey.
Wow! I loved the part about referaming your situation. My husband and I have been doing a detailed study of the adrenals and the function of nightly downloads of God’s goodness that reframes ever situation with HOPE. Thanks for sharing your heart! You are the best!
I wold like to hear more about your study of adrenals. Sounds interesting! God is the Master at taking our lives and making them better. Blessings!
I have been so blessed reading along with you over your journey this year into a deeper surrender–especially since my word of #sufficient involved so much of my own surrender to find God’s sufficiency. It truly is a process, but I am also so grateful for the lessons that the Lord has brought through this path. Going forward, still more to come, but that is where He will bring His help again, right? Blessings to you over this Advent Season!
I love hearing how certain words seem to connect with each other on our journeys to diving deeper into a “one word” for the year. The words I have had along the way will always be with me. I believe God carefully weaves them together to make the journey that much stronger. Blessings!
I have loved following your journey of surrender this year, Mary! It was my word for the year in 2016 and I also found it to be a life-changing word. I agree, it’s a life-long journey. There are still plenty of places where I struggle with control. It is a daily choice!
I remember you sharing that surrender has crossed your path too. I agree that life-changing sums it up well. May we all learn that choosing surrender daily is a good thing.
Surrender and obedience are synonymous, don’t you think! Oh Mar’ two very hard things but ever so necessary. I linked up twice – hope that’s okay. xoxo
Necessary and hard, but on the other side–abundance. God is reworking and refining me and it’s all good. No worries that you linked up twice.
I love reading of your surrender journey, Mary. Surrender can be so hard! It truly is a moment-by-moment, lifelong process, isn’t it? I am learning that what helps me is when I focus on the truth of who God is and always will be. I have such a long way to go. I so easily slip into the “not enough” identity instead of who God says I am. It can be grueling sometimes. I find it so true what you write – “The tension in the act of surrender increases as we go deeper in the process.” Thank you for the encouragement! Love and hugs to you!
God’s truth is the perfect place to focus when we are struggling with letting go. I understand the feeling of “not enough”. I have struggled with it all of my life. But during this year, God has reworked that part I claimed as my identity and showed me who I really am. May you find surrender is a gift filled with beautiful abundance on the other side.
Mary, I identify with your need for control at all costs. The dentist’s chair is a great place to learn the benefits of surrender. Thank you for sharing!
The dentist’s chair is a good place to learn about surrender but it is my least favorite place. May we learn to lessen our grip on those things that God already has under control.
“Surrendering myself to God’s truth involves a daily reckoning.” So true, Mary! Each day we have to decide. We can’t be neutral – not even once!
I think I’ve told you before – I collect pictures of paths, so I enjoyed your photo you used to illustrate today.
I love paths and the excitement of never knowing what’s around the bend.
You have told me of your love of paths. I have not run across a path I didn’t love! May we follow where God leads even if we can’t see around the bend.
You’re right, Mary! Surrender to God is a day-in-day-out, moment-by-moment process for me too. I so often try to take back control the moment after I’ve laid my all at His feet! But if I keep viewing each moment as another opportunity to surrender, I find myself surrendering much more often and readily than when I get caught up in the business and bustle of life. Great post! Pinning, my friend!
It sounds like we both are good at grabbing back the control once we let it go. I know that when I am willing to completely surrender I find myself in a better place than when I don’t. I’m praying we both open our hearts to daily surrender and find out it is exactly what we should do in that moment.
I needed this reminder! I’m struggling at work right now because I’m working extra due to people taking time off or illnesses in my co-workers (we don’t have many subs). These unexpected things take hours out of my day that I’ve carefully scheduled out for writing, housecleaning, paper grading, and preparing for a wedding in January. I like control–subbing makes me feel out of control. But I need to surrender sweetly and pitch in to help with a smile!
I understand the difficulty of taking on more responsibilities with a smile. We want to do the right thing but feel overwhelmed. I pray you find that in letting go your feelings to God, the extra work doesn’t feel so burdensome. And just so you know, I could never sub in a classroom because of my issues with control. 😉 Thanks for being here.
“My shaken identity disappeared and the truth of God took its place.” What an answer to prayer, I’d say! So much freedom when we keep surrendering to our identity in Him. An advent message of Hope reminded me when we look to ourselves to ‘fix’ we enter more into the darkness instead of into the light of Him. Your post also teaches that when we surrender to Him, we also enter His light!
I can say that this year God has not only taught me so much through my one word, but I have received and embraced the lessons. It has been so rewarding. May we choose to let go to make room for the Light of the World. Your perspective is always appreciated.
Oh Mary … I can so relate! Learning to loosen my grip has been a lifelong process. For me, the key to surrender is the simple prayer, “Not my will, but yours.” It’s one that God is faithful to answer, over and over again. I haven’t been able to link up for a few weeks, but I love the new time look and forward to seeing what the new year holds for #TellHisStory!
I am going to begin repeating “not my will, but yours” on the days I struggle with letting go. I agree that God is faithful and will answer accordingly. Blessed to have you here today, Lois!
You’re so wise to be looking back on your year and making note of the life lessons around your 2018 word. Control is also my default, so I completely identify with your struggle and have also been making some baby steps in the right direction–and have so far to go.
And thank you for the thoughts on “presence.” It will be good to take a break in December, and we’ll return in January with enthusiasm.
Thank you for your vote of confidence on being wise, but really this is just another step God is calling me to take on mu journey to surrender. Taking a look back is a good way to see the progress we have made. I encourage you to do it for yourself. 🙂 May we all enter this season seeking Jesus’ presence rather than taking on busyness.
Awww, Mary. Your words resonate with my heart. We have definitely shared similar struggles. I love the beauty that God has formed within you as you’ve walked out surrender. I’ve also gleaned so much from your posts of what you’ve been learning. You are a shining example of yieldedness to our Father.
It helps me to know that I am not alone on this path to surrender and giving up control. You have walked a similar pathway and your words have been a beautiful beacon for me. Thank you for building into me and leaving such kind words.
I often struggle with surrender, too. It can be so scary! What helps me most is to turn my thoughts on the One who asks for my surrender, His character, His trustworthiness, His love for me. Though sometimes He takes us through difficult paths, He promises His presence, grace, and strength. Unfortunately, I have to keep reminding myself of these things whenever a new opportunity to surrender comes up, but thankfully He is also patient.
You have a beautiful way of showing us how to turn to the One who will help us on our journey to surrender. It is a day to day, baby step kind of journey and it is one I will be on for the rest of my life. But the best part is the Guide we have that will always get us to where we need to go. Thank you for sharing so openly. Your comments are a blessing!
I’m kind of relieved to know that I’m not the only one who finds the dentist’s chair a place to totally lose it, Mary. We want so badly to control. And when we find ourselves in those places of vulnerability, we realize how little we truly own.
Thanks for giving us a walk through what it looks like to surrender. It’s a moment by moment, lifetime goal, isn’t it. Three steps forward, two steps back.
But we’re moving in the right direction, aren’t we. Right to the One who loves us most.
Just another thing we have in common – total fear and lack of control when at the dentist’s office!
Surrender has been a huge learning curve for me. From January until now I feel like I have made progress, but still have so far to go. I’m thankful for a patient God and the ability to make mistakes along the way.
Mary, this was such a good reminder. “Surrender” is not a one and done action in our life but a continuous and ongoing action. May we surrender each and every day to His leading.
Thank you, Joanne! I’m thinking surrender might be my “one word” for next year too. At least there is nothing else not the horizon. I’m in agreement with you to surrender daily to God. Blessings!