A few years back, (well, maybe about 25) I worked as a Medical Staff Coordinator in the Administrative Department of our local hospital. I had worked my way up from the Cardiovascular Department to the one job that no one else could do, or so I thought. I felt pretty secure in my job, and as a single mom knew that it could only get better from there…
…until the day I was fired.
I was called into the CEO’s office and let go due to layoffs in the hospital in general. The Administrative secretary had convinced the CEO that she could do my job as well as her own, and save the hospital money. (Which sabotaged her own job in the end, but I digress).
Since they were laying off R.N’s due to the cutbacks, I became the sacrificial lamb, the big example for Administration to use to show they were ‘suffering’ as well.
This lay off came as a total shock and I was just so unprepared for it that it took several days for me to realize I had no income or job in the future. As I drove away from the hospital that last day feeling like my life was over, I drove past a huge dirt lot across the street from the hospital.
“You will work there”, Jesus whispered.
“Huh, what? There? On that dirt lot?” I quivered.
“Yes, you will work in that exact place, Dixie. Trust me!” He said.
Two years later, after a stint of working in a nearby city at a medical clinic, I was hired as the new Human Resource Manager and Medical Staff Coordinator of a brand new medical clinic built on that dirt corner where Jesus told me I would work.
Looking back I see now I was primed to learn about surrendering all to God because I was convinced that I was indestructible and I fully believed that my job was safe, and that it was forever. Boy did I need a few lessons.
It is usually at the peak of arrogance that we feel the first blow pointing towards true surrender, and we reluctantly do it because we have to! Isn’t that God’s patient way with us? He allows us to come to the fact that there is just no other choice.
Here are a few things I have learned about surrender along my journey that I share with you…
By the way, it is NEVER easy because we are human. This is how I learned what surrendering means, the hard way, and the TRUE way:
It is usually when there is no other place to turn but to God; we are maxed out of ideas and there is no way out.
There was no way out. I had no choice but to once again surrender my life and my fears of not being able to support my 2 kids, to God. Why is that always the LAST thing we do instead of the first thing?
In the end we have to accept the changes that happened, that things may never be the same as the way they were, and that we get to make choices.
Stop fighting the reality that this is real.
We could be OK with it and flow with God, or be miserable for the rest of whatever time we struggle.
Stop murmuring and complaining!
Complaining only diminishes your faith and robs you of your joy…you believe it when you hear yourself saying it. It makes us pretty unlovely people and we drive others away from us. Who wants to listen to that every time they are around you?
Someone said that non-complaining is a muscle, and as such, it needs practice.
So practice your non-complaining muscle.
What did murmuring get the children of Israel as they wandered through the desert? Nothing, but Quail up to the eyeballs!
Being thankful for what you have, and, here is the key, WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE…..YET!
Know that He always has a plan and isn’t going to let you sink.
Thankfulness is one of the most powerful forces in the Kingdom of God.
If you list just ten things you are grateful for today then suddenly you have “perspective”.
When you live in a state of thankfulness, you see yourself for what you are, and sometimes you don’t like what you see and now have the opportunity to change it.
Never underestimate the power of gratitude when you are trying to surrender. It is like a shortcut, it gets you there really fast, and underlies how blessed you are, already.
It’s not easy to think with gratitude when we feel like we are in the gutter…
…but let’s just get over ourselves already.
Life is not easy for most of us. It is a choice to rise above our situations at every moment of the day.
BE STILL and know He is God!
Whoa, now this is a hard one and goes back to our minds being the battlefield that either makes or breaks us in our storms. Learning to breath, praise and be thankful, and simply just be in His presence, is right where He wants us.
Learning to let go of our fears and let them go to Him and not allow them entrance into our minds anymore is most of the battle of true surrender.
It was not easy, I wanted to scream, list all the reasons why it was impossible, and complain. But I did not.
When we shut up and just BE, circumstances resolve themselves right in front of our eyes.
I practice shutting up all the time now. I know how powerful it is. Talk about the power of surrendering those words of anger! No room to do that when you are sitting in the presence of God almighty!
GIVE UP CONTROL
In my loss of job situation I could not control anything, but I could “intend” to change jobs. But I was pretty much at His mercy in how it happened. I searched, but He is the one who directed me to the right places to find employment. And I did as I learned to take one day at a time and learned to trust instead of fear.
That took a while…I am no different than you are.
With a clear intention I let go of how I thought things were going to happen because I had no control over the “how”.
Sometimes things move way too slow. Sometimes they don’t move at all. We can intend and keep our vision that He is traveling this journey with us and wait for the break through.
Funny thing about the how…when it happens it looks so obvious and is a “Wow, didn’t see that coming”… but we can never anticipate or control it.
LETTING GO OF THE PICTURE
I have always been one who tried to fit everything into a picture I had in my head of how it was supposed to be. It was my place of denial and avoidance. I learned this mind survival skill as a child escaping my perpetrator who was molesting me. It was no longer working for me as an adult, but I was still doing it. I had to stop and face reality.
Sometimes I get what I want.
But the thing that gets me is that what I get is NEVER how I pictured it in the first place.
As surrendering gets more in tune with God we begin to realize that everything we tell ourselves is just a story out of our own minds, based on our own backgrounds. His pictures of us are very different and is the very best for us.
The mind labels things and prides itself in knowing. But what “is” with Jesus always happens beyond the ideas that our minds wants to box-in.
Beyond surrendering we understand–at a intuitive Holy Spirit level–and we begin to live life as a practice of being present for what is arising in this moment, surrendering all concerns to Him as they show up on our radar.
This leads to seeing everything as spiritual. Because this moment, with its infinite possibilities, is sacred. We are spiritual beings even when we don’t FEEL spiritual.
Miracles happen when we go beyond surrendering and we incorporate it as a way of life. Prayerful surrender becomes a way of life because we have a subtle appreciation that this is the moment where everything is possible.