“Life is not about decisions. It’s about surrender.”
I heard that quote yesterday as my sister Rosie, our close friend Shauna, and I were listening to a podcast in the car on the way home from our girls trip to Dallas. A deacon gave the sermon from Rosie’s local church in Wichita called Journey The Way. As we were challenged by the message, I saw this truth about “surrender” apply so much in the past year of my life.
Over a year ago this week, I graduated college. My past year has been defined by a lot of really big decisions, especially the one I wrote about a few weeks ago, reflecting my choice to not play pro softball this summer. Among that, I got married, I moved into a new house, I bought a car, I worked like six different jobs, and I budgeted my family finances for the first time, just to name a few. I’ve made so many decisions that you think by now I’d have life figured out! Unfortunately, the truth is, I am no closer to figuring out my life then when I started.
Just when I was hoping that the decision-making would be over and life could carry on, I am now facing a few more options in the present, specifically in regards to my career. I have come full circle to acknowledge that there is never really going to ever come a point in my life when I’m not having to make big decisions. I guess as the saying goes, life is full of choices all around us!
Yet the biggest decision that I have ever made in my life was my choice to follow Jesus and to dedicate my life to becoming His disciple. See that choice changed everything.
I am reminded of that decision and the weight of it as I have been reading through the gospel of Luke. In Luke 9:55-62, the ESV translation titles the section “The Cost of Following Jesus.” Then as if it wasn’t already made clear, a few chapters later, we see the section title “The Cost of Discipleship” in Luke 14:25-33. Read carefully the parallels in the following verses:
Luke 9:23, 61-62 says, “And [Jesus] said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me’… Yet another said ‘I will follow you Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’”
Luke 14:27, 33 says, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. … So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
What is the cost? The cost is all that I am. There’s not one thing I can hold on to unless it is glorifying to Him, nothing of this world I can look back at. I make a daily surrender to deny myself and to follow God.
See, it’s less about “deciding” to follow Jesus, either for the first time, or day-by-day in our life. It is much more about surrender. When we decide, we come to think that we are in control. Many of us will then wait to “decide” to follow God until we’ve done a certain amount of things, controlled a certain aspect of our life, or maybe until we “feel” a certain way. We think, “surely you can’t give your life to Him unless you are 100 percent certain, right?” WRONG. That couldn’t be further from the truth!
That moment in your life when you surrender it all to Jesus, every aspect of you life, and truly commit your life to following Him, is the moment that you pray, “Lord, I do not have control. I want YOU to take control. God, I believe in you, but please, help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24) I even surrender my DOUBTS to you, my FEARS to you, my INSECURITIES to you, my LUST, my SIN, my GREED, my ADDICTION, my PAST, my FUTURE, and my PRIDE. I am not merely deciding to give these things to you Lord, but I surrender them to you. They hold no power over me. I deny myself.”
So in processing this idea that life is not about decisions, but about surrender, I came to realize that my past year has not been defined by decisions. In my day-by-day walk with God, it has been defined by surrender. And may I pick up my cross and carry it on my back, always seeking God’s will above my own no matter the circumstances, for the rest of this life.
A personal note: True surrender is to acknowledge that we don’t have the control and to invite Jesus to take control. In order to follow Jesus at all, you must count the cost, and surrender everything. If after reading, you realize this in your own life, (maybe it has come after graduation, uncertain summer plans, a big life change, a hard circumstance, or simply just desiring to not go through the motions of life anymore) I would love to talk with you about it or pray for you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me. God bless!