By Amanda Stephens
If you’re anything like me, you love to have control. In a lot of ways, you have the ability to make your own decisions. By having this ability, there is an illusion of control that we think is ours. I want to control and plan out everything about my life, which leads to a selfish desire to only think about myself. I want to do what is best for me.
How can I get ahead? What can I do better? Am I making the right decision? How can everything I do somehow benefit my life? These are all questions that I find myself asking, especially during a time like college when we are pressured to figure out what we want to do for the rest of our lives.
I want to be successful by our society’s standards, which construes my ability to see the world through the lens of faith. My life isn’t actually mine, so why do I try to keep parts of it for myself? My life is to be given away to the Lord for Him to use to bring about healing in the world.
Part of the issue is my pride. Sometimes I think that I deserve to be selfish or comfortable with how I live my life because I earned it through my talents or decisions. This feeling of deserved ownership really jades how I am living my life for Christ because it’s difficult to be selfless when you are caught up in living for yourself.
What does it mean to live a surrendered life?
I have always thought that I have been committed to my faith, but I have realized that it goes much deeper than merely a checklist of what and what not to do. Following Christ isn’t a simple transaction; it is a way of living. I admit that I have not been giving everything to Him. Recently I’ve felt the pressure that comes with planning out college schedules and being expected to have everything figured out. Now, I’m not saying that it is bad to plan things out, because organization and planning are necessary skills when balancing your daily lives. However, I think what I have learned is that you can plan, but you need to be flexible, realizing that everything may not turn out the way you expected and admitting to yourself that you may not know what is best.
I would argue that God meets us in our plans, providing us with opportunities and relationships that we could have not planned out. We meet people that we could not have planned on meeting. Doors are opened. Opportunities arise. God sets up divine encounters.
The problem was not the fact that I wanted to have a plan, it was that I was trying to figure everything out on my own; I was not giving up this burden to God. Satan is telling me to be selfish, while the Spirit is telling me to surrender. How do you give God your burdens? For me, prayer and seeking wisdom are essential to giving over my troubles. Sometimes I don’t know what God wants me to do, but the act of prayer immediately lifts weight off of my shoulders because the problem is no longer mine. The Lord provides me with peace. This burden of planning out my schedule was important, but it didn’t change how much He valued me. The point is that I don’t have to face these problems alone. When we pray, we recognize that God is sovereign. From everyday troubles, to your entire life, the Lord wants you to surrender all of it to Him.
In Romans, Paul talks about surrendering as an act of worship.
Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God- this is your true and proper worship. -Romans 12:1
This is a daily struggle where you have to decide whom you are going to give your life to: the culture or the Kingdom.
It’s nice to think that I can give my life away to Jesus, but it’s easier said than done. Living for Christ can cause anxiety at times because you don’t know where it will take you in life. And for someone who likes to be in control, this feeling of uncertainty makes me afraid and uncomfortable. What if I mess up? How can God use someone like me? I make up these excuses, but then I remember,
Jesus emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. -Philippians 2:7-8
Surrender. Let go of whatever you are holding onto so God can fill it with something so much better. He has so much more life to offer than you could ever plan for.