Learning to Surrender

Learning to Surrender

My pastor, Pastor Mike of First Corinthians Baptist Church in New York City, said in a sermon recently that sometimes we are so busy wallowing in our own limited capacity we miss the enormity of God's dream for us. Click To Tweet The enormity of God’s dream for us. Wow. God has a dream for each and every soul he creates. A dream more enormous than we even have the capacity to imagine. While there is nothing wrong with having dreams for ourselves, many of us struggle with choosing between our dream and God’s dream. Indeed, I believe the great work of our lives is finding a way to live in alignment with the enormity of God’s dream for us; finding a way to surrender our dreams, expectations, and desires for God’s.

This path of surrendering our dreams to become in alignment with God’s is a long and windy one. It starts with the decision and willingness to put His dream over your own, but it doesn’t end there. Day end and day out, moment by moment you’ll have to ask yourself is this what God wants or is this what I want? Am I willing to surrender what I want if it is out of alignment with what God wants?  For the majority of my life, the answer to the latter was, no.

I may have told myself that I wanted whatever God had for me, but my actions were quite different. I bucked against the winds of my reality time and time again, trying to force my will over my life, never even inquiring about God’s. I thought I had my life figured out more than once and had no problem pleading with God for what I wanted. You know how we do. Please God, this is the man I’m supposed to be with. That’s the school I’m supposed to go to. That’s the job I should have. Never pausing to consider, “Is this what God wants or what I want?”

As expected (though unexpected for me at the time), those things never worked out. Then I would be left trying to figure out what could have possibly went wrong. I had done everything I could, gave it my all, and still “failed.” The relationship ended. I didn’t get the job or get into the school. It made no sense to me then, but I know now that those things were not the life that God had dreamed for me.

The Unpopular Path

I’m aware that what I’m saying goes against today’s popular rhetoric. Zealously chasing your dreams is not only applauded, it’s expected. I’m sure there are people who wake up every morning and listen to Eric Thomas screaming, “You have to eat the dream! You have to sleep the dream!” And I’m not judging those people or Eric Thomas. Chasing your dreams, motivation, and ambition are not inherently bad. I’m just suggesting that sometimes our dreams are not aligned with where we are in our lives or in the universe at that time. And being out of alignment with the universe can feel like riding your bike uphill against the wind currents. But if you can find time to mute those voices telling you to chase after your dreams in spite of it all and quiet your own thoughts and expectations, you can feel the vibrations of the direction you are supposed to go. Sometimes you’re not supposed to go anywhere or do anything at all… sometimes all you have to do is surrender.

Surrendering is often seen as the weaker option as opposed to fighting for what you want. In this context though, surrendering takes great strength, composure, and faith. To fully surrender to God’s dream or the universe (or whatever you call it), requires you to believe in good. To surrender, you have to believe that whatever God has planned for you is better than anything you could imagine for yourself. To surrender is to accept that the only things you have control over are your own thoughts and intentions. To surrender is to stop dangling your love over your spouse, children, friends, and family in exchange for them meeting your desired expectations. To surrender is to stop being slave to your expectations yourself. As I said, this is not easy, but it could be the best decision of your life.

For me, there’s nothing more liberating than surrendering to the present moment and the realization that I’m not the one in control. I encourage you to take a few minutes to sit down in a quiet space today, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and reflect on this one word:

Surrender

Surrender

Surrender

surrender.

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