Sweet Surrender and the best question ever!
"Ask and it will be given to you; search and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened." Matt 7:7-8
Just finished reading Richard Rohr's book: Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps. What an incredible read. Very helpful for every person who is seeking freedom and deliverance from whatever ails you.
Step 3 (Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.) Welcome to death. :-)
I've always considered surrender about 'giving up' and of course, in my kind of personality I don't get to this easily. I consider it an admission of my own weakness and sinfulness and think I deserve to be punished if I fail - actually, my own self longs for punishment because that keeps me in control... if only I had done better I wouldn't have to be 'bailed out' again by God.
But step three is less about 'giving up' (we've already done that in step one if you are tracking with the step blogs) it's more about 'giving in'. See, giving up connotes that I'm still in charge just making the next move... and giving in changes the whole paradigm. God is on my side. God is on your side. He is not watching or waiting for you to make a mistake so he can swoop down and solve the issue and then set you back at it. God is with us. It's this 'incarnational' piece of the revelation that is essential (and timely since it's christmas and everything). God is love. God is love with us. God is for us.
So, surrender is not giving up to get righted and outed and take the penalty... surrender is sweet because it's giving in to the greatest power that is the deepest love.
And what are we giving in to? God. God's love. God's acceptance. God's power. God's agenda. God's ideas. God's future. God's present. We are giving in to God. It's sweet in it's entirety.
So why is that such a big deal? And who finds this extremely difficult?? Well, Richard Rohr's experience teaches him that the greatest obstacle for full and complete surrender is the myth of sacrifice.
"The most common substitute for renouncing our will: the myth of sacrifice... the common way of renouncing the self, while not really renouncing the self at all, is being sacrificial! It looks so generous and loving, and sometimes it is. But usually it is still all about me."
Wow. It gets even better.. "False sacrifice is an actual avoidance of any real 'renouncing' of the self, while looking generous or dedicated.... it is no surprise we couldn't turn our lives over to God as we understood him, because we understood God's love as tit for tat and quid pro quo! As long as the spiritual journey was a moral achievement contest, none of us felt worthy, ready, or able to come forward." Ouch.
I just did a video re-inviting people to Pharisees anonymous and I had no idea how true it was. What does real sacrifice mean? It means giving into God's complete and total love. It means giving in to His direction, power and control. It is complete defeat, total surrender, and acceptance. Yes, acceptance.
Now for the best question ever:
"You will never turn your will and your life over to any other kind of God except a loving and merciful One. Why would you? But now that you know, why would you not?"