Grateful That I Was Wrong About Surrender

Grateful That I Was Wrong About Surrender

Posted on November 30, 2019

BY MICHELLE WILLIAMS, GRACE ATTENDER

For the majority of my 20ís, I didnít attend church other than as a visitor a few times around holidays or special occasions. The reasons for that could be their own storyóbut I point that simple fact out for a reason. When my husband and I landed at Grace Church after a long period of being unchurched, I felt hyper-aware of how out of touch I was with religion and I assumed that everyone else sitting around us was very much in touch. Up to that point in my life, I didnít feel like I had put much effort into ďwalking the walkĒ that I perceived to be an expectation of being Christian. I held my breath hoping that no one would ask too many questions about my journey because I mistakenly feared the truth might threaten my chances of belonging at Grace Church.

Within the first few months of our time here at Grace, we witnessed several people surrendering their lives to Jesus and getting baptized. This was all new to meóI was baptized as a baby and didnít have much exposure to what it might mean to surrender and be baptized as an adult. Of course, that didnít stop me from forming a subconscious perception about it, and I realize now that the faulty perception I formed was that surrendering meant making a promise to live a perfectly ďsin-freeĒ life. I also held a subconscious assumption that there were several factors holding me back from being able to make such an important promise.

Ultimately, these unfortunate perceptions only served to erect an imaginary barrier between God and me. I didnít feel capable of making such an important promise, partly because I knew I didnít even understand the full extent of such an overwhelming promise. As a result of this, I felt like I didnít stack up to the type of child that God would even consider holding precious.†
Of course, hindsight is 20/20óand wow, was I WAY off!

It took a while to chip away at this misunderstanding. But we kept coming back, and we kept learning more. I deconstructed and actually spent some time pondering these questions with God in prayer instead of trying to figure everything out myself. I finally woke up to the realization that I had been wrong about surrender the whole time.†

Surrendering isnít about making a promise to change and begin living a perfectly sinless life (whatever that means). Surrendering is more like making a promise not to turn away from God when I feel like Iíve messed up. Itís about accepting Godís love even when I donít feel very lovableóaccepting that my identity is in Christ and not some imaginary scorecard. Itís about promising to believe that I serve a purpose in His Kingdom even if I have a moment where Iím not feeling very worthy. Itís about promising to trust the cues of the Holy Spirit even when I feel uncertain. Itís about promising to work at identifying and rejecting the lies that have strongholds in my life.

Itís not a promise to change so that I can receive the love of God. Itís a promise to accept the love of God so that He can work to transform me. Itís an awakening to the truth that we are not loved because we are valuable; We are valuable because we are loved.†

Can I just say how grateful I am to have been dead wrong? Flipping the script on that misconception has brought me to life. Jesus revealed to me His living water, and I eagerly went to Him to receive it. Thatís surrender. And itís so much better than I could ever have imagined.†

Questions for Reflection:

  • Consider the story of Jesus and the Samaritan Woman in John 4. Meditate on John 4:10. Jesus tells her ďI would give you living water,Ē but what does He say before it? What does this mean to you?

  • Many people struggle with a notion that Godís favor must be earned, which may hold them back from choosing a surrendered life. Has that ever applied to you or someone you have known? Consider why this notion may have existed. You may choose to study Romans 11 as you consider this question.

  • Consider the difference between a declaration of lifetime surrender and living a surrendered life on a daily basis. In what ways do you seek to live a surrendered life on a regular or continual basis?