Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Throwback Wednesday: Surrender

A little over five years ago, my pastor at the GFMC preached a sermon series called "Harnessing the Power to Change." This was during a tumultuous time in my spiritual life, and God definitely used these sermons to do a transformative work in my heart. I wanted to share with you something I wrote during that time. These are my thoughts from October of 2008:

All the things in my life have led me to this point. I may not like the person I’ve been in the past, but I’m starting to like the person I’m becoming. God has been so good.

My xanga profile pic from 2008
I’ve had a xanga for well over three years, and I had a livejournal for the two years previous to that. I recently reread most of both. It’s been an incredible thing to see my musings, thoughts, writings, and actions from the past five years. Sometimes I made myself laugh, sometimes I remembered people or situations fondly, but most of the time I disgusted myself. I have been childish, immature, jealous, selfish, and stubborn. I’ve been judgmental, vulgar, angry, cynical and condescending. I’ve been inconsistent, arrogantly feeling tight with God one moment and defying Him the next. I’ve been analytical, unsure, broken, insecure, and faltering. In short, I’ve fallen short.

I’m grateful that I write. I’m grateful that I’ve kept careful record of the person I was. Of the activities in which I’ve participated. of the people with whom I’ve associated. Because knowing who I was will allow me to know who I am and who God wants me to be.

Doug’s sermon series on harnessing the power of change has been what it was meant to be, transforming. Last week's was on the power of cataclysm—what it means to surrender the self. Through the story of Jonah, Doug espoused three lessons that Jonah himself did not necessarily adhere to. Jonah was the ultimate "what-not-to-do" in terms of surrendering.

The first: let a specific desire of yours be overpowered by a specific command of God's.
He gave a few common desires as samples: to be liked, to be loved, to avoid pain, to be right, to acquire, to be noticed, for comfort, for pleasure. When I read my old journal entries, I realize that most of my activities and thoughts have centered on wanting to be loved, wanting to be right, and wanting pleasure. So now, as I receive and understand God's commands, I must be prepared to surrender those domineering desires in my life.

The second lesson: surrender not only to God's specific commands but also to His permitted outcomes.
This one's much tougher. I may be able to say, "Okay, Lord. I surrender my desire to be loved so that I may obey what you've told me." But it will be much tougher to accept that if I obey, I may not be loved by who I want to love me. I must adapt my hopes and expectations.

The third: surrender to God's passion to be gracious to anyone no matter whom, no matter when.
This one seems like it should be the easiest. It only involves loving others and extending the grace of God to others. I’m not so good at that. For someone who only desires to be loved, I certainly have a rough time loving others outside of who I deem "important" to me. But as Doug said, grace received but not expressed becomes grace forfeited.

I’ve been given a formula. I must obey, I must adapt, and I must love. And right now, right here, I choose to surrender. I surrender my desire to be loved, as hard as that is to even type, in order to follow any command God throws at me. I surrender my hopes and expectations for whatever the outcome may be. And I choose to love.

God, do what you will.



  1. Megan, Thank you for sharing this entry from your life.. Thank you for being vulnerable. Your words, and Doug's, tie closely into some of the thoughts and personal efforts I am working on as part of reading Don't Sweat the Small Stuff.

    I know this is not just an easy fix, so keep truckin' friend! Love and grace!

  2. Thanks, Bobbi! I hope that some of my thoughts and struggles inspire people to go deeper with God in their own lives. :)