“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (The Message)
There is one trait about me (okay, maybe more but today we’re talking about one in particular) that I truly don’t like about myself. I’m working on changing it and I’m trying not to pass it on to my children. It’s the fact I can be so stubborn. And stubborn about the silliest things.
Last time we were together I shared how I was given the choice last fall to fully surrender my dreams and plans in exchange for God’s, not knowing what they would look like, but telling Him I trusted Him enough to let go and watch how He wanted to work.
At first nothing changed in my situation or circumstances. However, once I chose to embrace surrender completely, my attitude was the first to get an overhaul. I was happier in my situation because I knew God was working, even if I couldn’t see any results. Eventually, ever so slowly, my situation started to change too. All the while, instead of repeating my mistake in 2013 of taking one direction from God and planning my entire itinerary from it, I chose to continue to complete the assignments He had previously given to me and just wait patiently for what He had planned next. And while at the time of this writing God is working and moving in bigger ways than He has for the past five years, and that is very exciting in itself, there is another benefit I’m enjoying while I’m waiting for God’s plan to completely unfold.
When I surrendered my dreams to God in the fall, little did I know the ripple effect it would have on my entire life. I have more joy and the peace that comes from Jesus Himself because when I surrendered all areas of my life to God, it meant all areas.
I have more energy because I started an exercise program with a friend where we fill up spiritually while we work up a sweat most days of the week. I’m slowly regaining a healthy body that will be ready to step into the ministry God calls me into. I’ve made the choice to fully submit to my husband’s authority as head of our household. While I’ve always said he was in charge, my actions now line up with my words. It’s his rightful place and I fully trust him to lead our family well.
Another benefit that has come from fully surrendering to God is this: While I still write nonfiction and love it (more than I thought I ever would), God has given me back the chance to write fiction. I am currently working on a six-book series which I hope to begin publishing this year.
The difference between my reaction this year versus in 2013? I’m deliberately choosing not to make any plans. I’m asking God what assignments He is giving me for both fiction and nonfiction projects and then working on them one at a time, not planning ahead to fill in my schedule in my terms. Whether He chooses to traditionally publish my books or I continue to self publish, whether He allows me to work less for others and more as a writer, the hours He gives me to serve at church and volunteer at school (or other areas in our lives), that is for Him to decide. I’m along for the ride – watching and waiting for His details to unfold and trusting that they will be better than anything I could ever hope or imagine.
That, my friends, is the best benefit of fully surrendering to the God of the Universe who loves us more than we can comprehend.
P.S. God also allows time for me to bake fresh chocolate chip cookies some days to greet our kids when they get home from school, and while our house isn’t immaculate (it’s better defined as lived in), fully surrendering to God has also meant slowly getting our house in order too. There has been no area of my life God has left untouched and my family gets to reap the benefits of my surrendered life as much as I do.