The Art of Surrender

13 Apr

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of surrender – what it means physically, spiritually and creatively. It seems I’m not the only one. A number of people I know are wrestling with this issue as well.

Animals and children seem to have surrender down pat. One look at my cats konked out on the couch informs me they have no problem letting go, the same as kids who in a game of make believe master being present, fully surrendered to their joy.

I understand a fair bit about surrender of the body. I know how the breath allows the muscles to soften; how a smile relaxes the face and laughter releases built up tension. I also know the more an artist (or athlete for that matter) becomes one with the act of creating instead of striving for a result, the more aesthetic and authentic the expression.

But what does it mean to surrender spiritually? 

Turns out is isn’t quite what I thought. For many years, I thought to surrender spiritually was to “let go and let God.” To not only trust Him explicitly but also to be relaxed and in balance. 

I realize the concept of balance is a sham. It’s impossible. As humans, we’re always vacillating between poles of tension like a teeter-toter. While it’s important to strive for balance, we never 100% arrive at it. Instead we juggle the dimensions of reason and emotion, rest and activity, order and chaos as expertly as we can but knowing that sometimes a ball will fall and we’ll have to pick up and start all over again.

But how do we find a sense of ease as we navigate the road between surrender and will? And how do we listen to God’s call to duty in our lives without getting too freaked out? How do we do what we need to do, meeting challenges and sustaining growth while also trusting that He will not let us fall flat on our faces from either failure or exhaustion or both? 

I was talking with a good friend of mine the other night about this for both of us have a tendency to be a little agro. That’s our terminology for being a little over-zealous and intense in our passions and expectations of ourselves. Discipline isn’t really our problem yet sometimes because we’re this way, we don’t completely rise to our full potential (or God’s calling) out of fear, depletion or procrastination.  

I know for a fact that God is calling me to stretch myself – to be a disciple – which requires discipline. But I also know God doesn’t want me to be agro or to have a nervous break down in the process. He wants me to marry surrender with action; to embody his Source moment by moment whether that is the demands of work tasks or in the slower rhythms of domestic life and quiet time. But I haven’t quite figured this one out yet. Because ultimately, my faith isn’t mature enough yet. I don’t know how to fall at His feet or to breathe in ecstasy when I’m scared, over-worked or multi-tasking.

This is an art form and I the apprentice. He the Master.

Leave a Reply