surrenderIn 1939 Dorothy Gayle watched, horrified, as the Wicked Witch of the West sprawled the words “Surrender Dorothy” over the skies of Oz. The green witch’s maniacal laugh rang out from our televisions as Dorothy’s face drew us into her place of anxiety. This image is just one of the many we think of when we hear the word “surrender.” It’s not usually associated with something positive, but rather always negative. Ultimately, the word typically means one is weak when they finally give themselves up. In our faith, nothing could be further from the truth, and nothing could be more important than fully offering yourself up to The Lord who wants only what is best for you. Being nothing more than God created you to be is often looked at adversely. There are times people say to me, “Don’t you want to be EVERYTHING that God created you to be?” I simply explain, “You will through the idea of surrendering, because your idea of what He wants and what you think He wants, are completely different.”

The word which is associated with so much negativity is actually the only way to happiness. I used to think joy was the final result of hard work when you finally ended up getting all the things you ever dreamed about. You can stop laughing now… I understand that is not the case. What I never imagined in a million years, is real joy comes from being less about yourself and more about others. There has never been more peace in my life than when I have allowed myself to completely be a servant for others and the joy they emit becomes part of me. The only real way you can begin to see the impact of “surrender” is to stop living for yourself and live to help others get all they can out of life. Your eyes become open to see that you are being who you want to be and happiness is found in the love which is only unlocked by sharing all of yourself with people in need.

Giving of yourself is an easier form of surrender, what about when it is just you and God? One of the worst places to be in your faith journey is to give things up and acknowledge faith only when there are extreme emotions being felt within your heart. Typically we only think of handing absolutely everything over to God when we are so broken we cannot go on. Likewise, there are the times we might give Him gratitude filled praise when we have a major life victories, but these seem to occur less and less. God is asking for more than just peaks and valleys though. He wants you to surrender in moments which do not consist of one extreme or another; to be part of the entire life journey you are on. If we do not allow God to be seen in our everyday lives, then we run a great risk of losing our faith when we cannot find God in the moment of crisis. For Him to work completely though us is to have strength when we are tired or hurt, then we must allow Him to consume our very being in all of our actions.

We are told of this premise to surrender time and time again in scripture, from “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mt 16:25) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) “Peter do you love me?” (Jn 21) and so on. Even Christ said at the last supper, as he surrendered to His eventual death to fulfill His will, “This is my body, given up for you.” (Lk 22:19)  The world calls for us to want so much more than we need and drive ourselves to a point we forget about everything we started out trying to achieve in the first place. God works in reverse. He simply asks us to “decrease so He may increase.” (Jn 3:30).

In my own life of ministry, the times I have struggled the most as a speaker, father, husband and even friend, have been when I have pushed Christ aside and worked to do things my way. I have surrendered to Him and now I must trust with my whole heart and soul or I do not allow Him to permeate every part of my being which guides me in the right direction. He is asking you to do the same. Each of us have times when we think we are in control, but the sooner we surrender and allow God to be part of every decision we make, we will find the joy, happiness or contentment we desire. If you think I might be over the top or sound a little crazy in the process, then I invite you to let Him have ALL of you for the next thirty days. After all, what do you have to lose? Just like in the Wizard of Oz, God is writing in the sky this simple word for each of us today; “Surrender, {insert your name}.” Let go, let God and He will take on everything in between.