I am the worst New Year’s resolution person I know. I’m horrible at making resolutions. I don’t even know where to start. Then, keep that resolution – that’s an even more insurmountable task. Invariably, I forget about the resolution I’ve made. Or I give up on it. I’m a total resolution quitter.
So, when Jesus woke me up with a song this morning, I wasn’t surprised. Songs of the Morning are a blessing that comes frequently. But the song He left today, that was hard to miss. The tune and lyrics deeply implanted themselves into my spirit this morning.
I surrender all, I surrender all, All to thee my blessed Saviour, I surrender all.
Instead of resolutions, I feel challenged to think about the surrenders that need to occur in my life.
Typically, resolutions help people (clearly not me) make strides in their lives. Workouts are resumed or at least started. Diets are undertaken. Bank books reconciled more often. Paper filed more regularly. These are all good things but are definitely in the self-help section of life.
Surrenders. That has a totally different connotation. The image of a white flag flying. The give up, I quit, I said “uncle” seems to carry an attitude of self-defeat and hopelessness. And surrendering usually happens under some sort of duress. Someone demanded that I give up and give in. Because that feeling of quitting and giving up so often resonates in my soul, I have sung I Surrender All with a begrudging spirit. My mouth sang the words but my head and my heart didn’t really agree.
Instead of surrender being something that happens grudgingly or under compulsion, I sense Jesus asking me to open my hands and to trust Him. The surrenders He is asking of me are not about an exercise in power or persuasion, but a testament of love and devotion. He knows my life. He knows its complexities. He knows the aches and pains that are a part of it. He knows the moments of joy and pleasure. He knows it all. He knows the parts around which I’ve clenched my fists, firmly believing that I know better than He does. Sometimes, He’s let me hold onto that piece of life until its crumbled into dust and, at the last, I’ve admitted that I bungled it all and He did know better. Other times, He’s gently pried my fingers back giving me glimpses into what He has planned. The times that are best are when I hold my life with open hands welcoming and allowing His hands to shape and form each part as we journey together.
I have much to surrender.
My time – I spend my time all sorts of ways. Some of it productive, some of it completely lazy. However, each moment is precious and a gift. I have been given much.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
My plans – I make all kinds of plans. Events to attend. Trips to take. To do lists for all sorts of parts of my life. The plans always work best when they have been prayed over and committed to the One who orders my steps. Walking in step with Him is the best plan I can make.
But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Psalm 33:11
My hopes – My life does not look the way I once imagined it would. I have choices about how I view it. I can live upward looking with my eyes fixed on Jesus, the ultimate Hope Giver. Or I can wallow with downcast eyes drowning in rivers of doubt and discouragement. I choose to pin my hopes on the One who is my Good Father. The One who has stood with me in every single part of life. He has never forsaken me. He is Faithful and True.
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. Psalm 56: 4
I choose to start 2017 with open hands and surrenders. I don’t know what journey Jesus has for me this year. I choose to walk holding tightly to His hand. His way is best.
“I Surrender All” Music and Lyrics by Judson Wheeler Van DeVenter and Winfield Scott Weeden Public Domain