It’s funny how ‘freedom’ and ‘surrender’ are two words that seem to contradict each other—freedom usually referring to “doing whatever one wants.” But I learned recently that sometimes the opposite is true: that freedom, in the deepest sense, is surrendering what we want in place of something greater.
There was something in my life that I wanted badly—like, really badly. Even now it perplexes me how deeply this desire was rooted in my heart. I often wondered if God had given it to me intentionally, because the desire was so appallingly strong, so unyielding that no matter what I did I couldn’t seem to turn it off (unusual, since I had a lot of self-control).
But I also knew that “now” was not the right time to receive it. It just wasn’t. As much as I could whine and complain and wish for it to be, I knew I’d never be at peace until I accepted this truth. It was hard. I couldn’t understand why God would give me these desires, yet still “withhold” them from me.
I realized, however, that God wasn’t withholding anything from me at all; he was setting me free. I had to make a decision: whether to take what I desired, so close it was within my grasp, or to release it in place of God’s timing. Believe me, I struggled badly with this. I was afraid—afraid that if I let it go, no other opportunity would come in the future. I was afraid that letting go would mean losing my security, losing everything I’d craved and waited so long for. Nonetheless, I couldn’t escape the feeling that more peace would come with choosing the crazier route: the route of letting go.
So that’s what I did. I let it all go. I wanted this desire badly, but I wanted God’s timing more. I wanted his will more. And the moment I made that decision, the most amazing peace fell on me. Tears of sadness became tears of joy; the release and surrender I felt was so freeing. It turned out that I’d been clinging on to my desires out of fear. But letting go propelled me towards hope instead.
Stripping myself of everything I’d ever wanted–as crazy it sounded–made me feel even more beautiful. I realized that true beauty was letting go of one’s vices to be completed by God instead. I wasn’t scared anymore. I didn’t need affirmation. This was enough for me. This was all the security I needed.
For the first time in a while, I felt truly in place. No more regrets. No more wishing I was somewhere else. No more second-guessing myself. I was certain that I was exactly where I needed to be. Removing potential distractions, I committed myself to being undivided; if this was where God called me to be for the time being, this was where I’d remain. It was simple. I never realized how courageous I was until I allowed myself to be. Never realized how capable I was of waiting and enduring until I dared to.
And it was worth the dare.
The point is that there is beauty in surrender. It seems illogical, seems to go against the grain of what we think is humanly possible, but it’s true. Only by surrendering do we become free, 100%.
Because let’s face it: it’s tempting to see God as restraining. Sometimes he seems like an authoritative figure, giving us a list of do’s and don’ts, limiting what we can have. We fear that by surrendering to God, our lives will somehow be deprived–that we won’t be as satisfied as we want to be. But know this: God knows the truest desires of your heart and will never withhold anything from you. He’d never give us ‘guidelines’ if they weren’t for our own good. They’re meant to set us free, not hold us back.
Like a mother who gives up her life for her son, or a man who gives up his seat for an elderly woman, there is power in sacrifice. Sometimes it’s better to give up our immediate desires in place of something greater. So don’t be afraid to let go if you are called to. Just surrender.
WHERE ‘YOU’ COME IN …
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