Today we’re talking about surrendering to God for more peace. What does it mean to surrender? It’s more than simply knowing what you are in control of and what you are not. I’m sharing what we need to ask ourselves if we feel like we need peace, or if we need to surrender but we aren’t sure how to get there.
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN:
- [3:50] Managing our minds through surrender
- [4:21] The gifts of surrender
- [7:50] How to find more peace by surrendering to God
- [10:04] Determining what we are responsible for so we understand how to surrender
- [14:21] Determining what we are NOT responsible for so we understand how to surrender
- [16:48] Choosing to surrender based on our responsibilities
- [19:13] Why surrendering to God is an important aspect of creating a new mindset
[3:50] Managing our minds through surrender
Let’s talk about what it means to manage our minds through surrender and get past the cliches of what it means to surrender. In the church we are all really good about saying “let go and let God” but we are going to dive deeper today from that statement and get to the root of what it looks like to surrender.
[4:21] The gifts of surrender
You may be wondering why surrendering is so important. In Isaiah 30:15, we learn that we find rest in surrender, in that confidence that God is there and He is working.
Isaiah 30:15 says:
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.”
There is usually a point when we are going through something difficult when we need to stop fighting and just take our hands off the wheel. At this point, we just have to say “Okay God, I am sitting before you. I am quiet and I am trusting you.”
Psalm 59:9 says:
“You are my strength, I wait for you to rescue me, for you, oh, God, are my fortress surrender.”
At the end of the day, the gift of surrendering is a gift to us. It is not a gift to God. It is a gift to us because we are choosing to let his peace reign. We are choosing to let His quietness, His confidence, His strength, we are choosing to trust Him. This can change our ability to handle stress in a dramatic way.
Another gift of surrender is that it allows us to step into hope that something good will come. That God will bring healing, purpose, and He will turn this around as it says in Romans 8:28.
When we can surrender and sit in that place as that gift, we now can have hope to keep going. It gives us hope to carry on.
Psalm 5:3 says:
“Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord, each morning, I bring my request to you. And I wait expectantly.”
Do you wait expectantly when you come to God with prayer? Do you offer those requests with the idea that God hears, that God cares, and that he's moving into action?
We can switch our thoughts and say “I'm expecting God to do something. I don't really know what it is. I don't have to know what it is. And it probably is going to be different than what I think it's going to be but I serve a God who loves me, and who cares about me. And He cares about the situation deeply. And so I know He's going to do something awesome.”
It is almost like on Christmas morning when you know you have some great gifts waiting for you but you don’t know what exactly they are. The gift of surrender is expecting God's goodness to come through. We can't get to this level of surrender by choosing to let our “what if” thoughts continue to spin in our head. That's not going to solve it. We have to come to a place of absolute surrender–a belief that God’s faithfulness and love for us will shine through, no matter what we currently can see.
[7:50] How to find more peace by surrendering to God
How can we find more peace by surrendering? First, we need to simply identify what is and is not in our control. The main thing that is in our control is ourselves – our thoughts, emotions, actions, and behaviors in this moment.
Although this is important, there are a lot of factors that we do not have control over. For example, we do not have control of what happened in the past as we cannot change that anymore.
We also cannot control what we will do in the future. We can decide now what we want to change in the future but we can not control what we are going to do or say 5 years from now. The only thing we can control is ourselves right now in the present moment.
What’s not in our control? Pretty much everything else including other people and their actions. We can see trends and patterns and have predictions on what will happen in the future, but we really do not know for sure because God holds the future.
There are things happening right now that are out of our control, acts of God like earthquakes, hurricanes, natural disasters, even COVID. So our goal is to focus on controlling what we can.
[10:04] Determining what we are responsible for so we understand how to surrender
We are responsible for ourselves – our thoughts, our emotions, our actions and our behaviors. We are also responsible for our past, present and future. Even though we cannot control the past or the future, we are still responsible for them.
Christ forgives us from the things in our past, He gives us the strength and the Holy Spirit to make good choices in our future. If we have made mistakes in the past or we make mistakes in the future there is hope and healing. However, we still are responsible for what comes out of our mouth and the behaviors that we make.
We are also responsible for influencing the people around us toward God’s truth – our children, our peers, our friends and family. We are responsible for influencing the people in our sphere in a positive way because God has given us this light, this salvation, this message, this hope, He has given that to you and me. And He wants us to be responsible for it.
What do we do with what we have been given? I love the story of the talents in the Gospels where Jesus says, “He tells the parable of a man who goes out and He gives a bag of money to three different people. And He says He goes away on a trip. And the money that he gives to each different person is a different amount. When He comes back, He asked each one of the people what did you do with this money? How did you invest it? How did you make profit on what I've given you? And He doesn't commend the one who got the most money. He commends the ones who take what they have, who invest it, who multiply it, who do good things with it. He condemns the one who says, “Master, I knew you were a harsh man, and I was afraid of you. So I took what you gave me and I buried it.”
We are all given different resources to influence this world. What will you do with the talents that you have been given?
[14:21] Determining what we are NOT responsible for so we understand how to surrender
What are we not responsible for? If we are not the deciding factor in a situation, then we are not fully responsible for the outcome. We are responsible for our part in it but we are not responsible for the entire outcome.
We are also not responsible for other people’s actions, including our children, family, and friends. Even as parents, we can influence our children, lead them to Christ, take them to church every Sunday and every Bible study and youth group and tell them about God and read them devotionals at night and pray over them and pray with them. But at the end of the day, they have the ability and the responsibility to decide what they're going to do with that knowledge which can be a really hard pill to swallow as a parent. We can influence them but we are not responsible for what they do after that.
Lastly, we are not responsible for how God decides to handle a situation. God may decide, “My daughter, I'm going to take you through this trial. And the results of that test are going to be cancer.” He has the ability to save us from the situation, but it’s His decision whether or not we walk through different seasons. We know that God's wisdom and his reasoning is outside of our understanding but that all of His decisions must go through the filter of His love for us.
So we have to come to terms with the reality that sometimes things happen that God decides that don’t make sense to us but we are not responsible for how God decides to handle that situation.
[16:48] Choosing to surrender based on our responsibilities
When we know what we are responsible for and what we are not responsible for, we can take different actions depending on the situation and figure out what we can and cannot surrender. If we know these actions based on what we're responsible and not responsible for, then we can know what we need to do in the situation.
For example, if we ask ourselves, what do I need to take hold of as my responsibility in this situation? That responsibility might be confession. What are the ways we've messed up that we need to confess to God and to others? Or that might mean ownership by saying, “You know what? I need to step up and do this.”
We take a completely different action when we surrender those things that are outside of our responsibility. These actions include acknowledging that this difficult situation is happening. We can say, “It's hard, it hurts.” This type of surrender often leads us through seasons of grief and trust for what’s ahead.
Surrender happens on both sides of the coin, whether or not we are the responsible party, and each type of surrender looks a bit different.
[19:13] Why surrendering to God is an important aspect of creating a new mindset
We discuss surrendering to God on a deeper level in the Christian Mindset Makeover. We have an entire module on surrender when we ask ourselves, “What do I need to let go of? What do I need to pick up and take responsibility for? What do I need to confess? What do I need to take ownership of? What do I need to release?
This lesson in the Christian Mindset Makeover is one of the tougher ones because you really have to take a look deep down and be honest with yourself. We also have specific surrender exercises in the program to help you understand this concept more fully and to take surrendered action.
One of the exercises is the Responsibility Proclamation. Many of our students have told me that having this proclamation in their back pocket (and even saying aloud) is so therapeutic and helpful in this process to remind them of where the surrender boundary lines begin and end for them.
We also have another exercise called the Surrender Board which is an amazing process that really gets to the root of surrender itself and walks you through a specific step-by-step act of surrender. We also talk how surrender is related to our need to feel safe and our ability to trust in God.
Even if we have trust issues with God, God is big enough for us to come to Him with our frustrations or our anger. We can ask Him, “Why did this turn out like this?” or “Why did you allow this to happen?” He's big enough. And He wants us to come to him just like if there was an issue in our marriage or in a friendship. We can't lean and trust on somebody in a deep way if there's been some sort of breach in that trust. So, often part of learning to surrender is coming to God and saying, “I need to share this with you. I'm upset at You about this.” When we work out these issues with God and restore any trust that’s been broken we can lean into surrender much more easily.
I would love for you to be able to experience this type of healing and surrender. I think of surrender as having moments where we take a stand, and we decide to act a certain way or not act a certain way or to release holds on things.
However it’s important to remember that while surrender can be a one time event it's also an ongoing process. The battle is won or lost in those moments post-surrender when we must stand firm in our convictions. Being able to surrender is a huge part of being able to take back control over our negative thoughts, and that’s why it’s a big part of the in-depth work we do together in the Christian Mindset Makeover. Go to ChristianMindsetMakeover.com to check out this amazing course and live support that uses brain science and biblical truth to help you heal from negative thought patterns.
I know we covered some heavy material in this episode so just take a moment and let everything resonate with you and write down any takeaways you had. I encourage you to take action in some of these ways that we have shared about surrender. I look forward to our next conversation. I will see you back here next week.
OTHER PODCAST EPISODES ON SURRENDERING TO GOD:
- Ep. 60: When You're Waiting on God (5 Secrets for Waiting Well)
- Ep. 63: Finding Unshakeable Hope in Uncertain Times
- Ep. 120: The Truth About Finding Contentment in God During Trials with Nicole Jacobsmeyer
- Ep. 128: Mindset Coaching: “How can I overcome my fear of pursuing God's calling?” with Stacey
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