Every year for the past 8 or so years, I have chosen a “theme” of the year…some call it their “word” of the year. It’s not something that I “invent” but rather something that I prayerfully consider and ask the Lord for guidance on.
This morning, my word for 2024 came to me as I was reviewing my 2023 journal… the word is SURRENDER.
I actually started with the word TRUST.
In 2024, I felt led to work to begin to trust the Lord more. To stop trying to do everything in my own strength. You would think (if you’ve read this blog and seen the miracles I’ve experienced and witnessed) that I would trust God more than I apparently do.
It’s so easy to SAY “let go, and let God”…but it’s a whole other thing to actually do it. It’s easy to trust the Lord when there’s not a lot at stake…but I know that God doesn’t want us to trust him just in the little stuff.
Think of it in the context of a marriage…how deep and strong of a relationship would you have if you only had a little trust in your spouse? You marriage wouldn’t be very strong would it? The foundation would be rocky and you’d probably want to bail at the first bit of adversity.
Trust is the foundation of any solid relationship.
God wants to be in a relationship with us. For us to experience the depth of His love for us–we have to trust Him. So how can you and I do that practically?
It’s an interesting word….SURRENDER. When you think of what it means- one of the first definitions that pops into your mind is probably “to give up” or “abandon”.
When you go with that particular definition, “surrendering” is a form of weakness. It’s undesirable. But that’s not the only definition.
Surrender also means “To give up in favor of another, especially voluntarily.”
That’s what I believe the Lord is calling me to do in 2024. In fact, it’s something He’s called all of us to do-to surrender our own plans and to follow Him. Jesus said: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24
I think this is one of the HARDEST things to do…and it’s one of the biggest obstacles that I think most people face to having a relationship with God– the notion of surrender.
Why Surrender Is a Good Thing
When I insisting on doing things my own way…it’s typically because I feel that I know best. It may be because I have past experience to to lean on, or I have been “trained” to do it, or I have seen someone else do it.
Sometimes it’s because I feel that if I do it my own way I can somehow control the outcome.
Other times I insist on doing things my own way out of a fear of the unknown– which at the root is a misguided sense of control.
Here’s the truth. Ready?
(1) I don’t control anything. It may be a tough pill to swallow. And while I would love to think I’m in control, I’m not. Truth is that we’re not omnipotent (I.e, all powerful) but God is. Matthew 19:26.
(2) I don’t know best. I just don’t. I might feel that I know best– but our feelings deceive us. We are not omniscient- only God is. Psalm 147:5
But is it SAFE to surrender to God?
I think that’s at the core of a fear of surrender for both believers and non-believers alike. Do we 100% believe that (1) God is real and that (2) that He has our best interest at heart?
Is God Real?
For me, if you have read my Faith Walk, then you know that I believe beyond the shadow of a doubt that God is very real. Beyond that…I recently gave a talk where I shared the mathematical probability of God’s existence.
There are 322 life “parameters” that are required for a life-sustaining earth. Some really smart people figured out the probability that any ONE of these things spontaneously occurred. Then they calculated the probability that all 322 of these life parameters spontaneously occurred.
Less than 1 chance in 10282 (For those that don’t know what that little 282 means… it’s one million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion) exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.
Wow. To put it in perspective… our chance of winning this month’s Powerball Lottery is 1 in 292 million!
Does He have our best interest at heart?
God knew us before we were formed. Psalm 139 is one of my favorites…
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
And He has GOOD plans for us. According to Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I believe that God very much has our best interest at heart. That said, His ways are not our ways. God is NOT a genie. In fact He shouldn’t just give us the whims of our heart.
He sees an entire picture- the full beautiful eternal tapestry, when we only see tiny knots of our own experiences. His plans are BIGGER and BETTER than anything we can fathom. I have learned that time and time again in my faith walk.
I want to experience that richness of life that God has planned for me. I know He’s written a great story for my life. He gave me free will- and gave it to you too.
The question is…will we choose to SURRENDER our own plans and allow our All Powerful, All Knowing, Loving Heavenly Father guide us to experience all of the goodness He has planned for us?
For me, the answer is yes…
I know it won’t be easy…the Enemy will do his best to try to deceive me back into trying to “control” it all…but for the rest of this year and in 2024, I will be making it my mission to surrender and see what a life of surrender looks like.
What will you choose?
Will you take on the challenge and surrender?