In 2011 I was studying theology in England with an organization called Youth With A Mission. A mentor of mine said something that stuck with me through the years –
“When God tells you to let something die, when he tells you to surrender… obey him because when He chooses to resurrect it, it will be untouchable”.
I was thinking about this lately. I used to be terrified of God telling me to surrender something – be it a career opportunity, a relationship, a vision etc. I was afraid of the surrender process because in my head it would be painful – some kind of dying to the flesh that would be awful but worth it at the same time.
I was right.
The thing is, it’s only awful and terrifying because we are so afraid of pain and our own response to pain.
When we learn the real character of God, how gentle and kind and not into punishment He is, then we understand how exactly love casts out all fear. Surrendering becomes a sort of relief – because where we are weak, He is strong (2 Cor 12:9-11.) Why do I kill myself trying to be strong in something that God is far better at doing? The trade off is a win win situation.
My mind is a battlefield sometimes. I can wonder why I said this, or why I did that, or I wish I was better at this, or I wish I was more like that girl etc. I really struggled until God showed me how He loves to come to my aid, how he has a backup plan already devised if I mess up, and how his backup plan was actually the purpose. I learned how to relax. To breathe. Everything would be more than okay and works together for my good.
Let’s get back to the quote, have you ever let something ‘die’ thinking that it was dead and gone, and then God does something you didn’t expect – like resurrect it?
After my mom died I started a business following a trip to Brazil. Two friends and I decided to run an online store importing handmade products from Brazil and selling them to our SoCal audience. Midway through the second year of business, after a great summer run, I completely burned out. I became a walking shell of a person whose hands would shake out of of nervousness but was able to keep a smile on my face and hide the immense pain inside my soul. I sank into a deep depression and long story short, could not cope with life. I heard God very clear inside of me say, “give this to me” along with basically everything else I had going on at the time. When you’re at rock bottom, you don’t really have a choice so I was finally willing to take the guidance offered. I’m so happy I did.
It was a harder-than-it-had-to-be process I’ve been sharing with you in some of my other posts. I will say this again and again – learning the kindness and love of God in these times is a pathway to ultimate freedom and success. You become untouchable in the sense that once you go through this process, you are so full of freedom that people wonder your story – they notice a lightness and a difference about you. It’s very very real.
I have since moved toward a career change and also becoming a simple voice to people who need practical help when it comes to the intersection of mental/emotional health and faith. I have learned the value in people’s stories, their whole stories, because it’s what helps us get through what we don’t think we can on our own.
I was recently offered some unexpected opportunities on the business side. Things that were once extremely difficult have now become fun and easy, a source of joy. Doors I knocked on for a long time with no budge are now opening without even a knock. I get to meet and mingle with lots of people and I also get to find out their stories. This a move from God because there is no way I was able to come back without His grace.
So, for anyone who is in the stage where God is saying ‘surrender’ – don’t be afraid. There is nothing to be afraid of. You will be so thankful when you learn that He really has your back and wants to be your strength so you can rest. Breathe.
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