Sep 18, 2013

Staying Afloat

As we have been walking this unknown path these last few weeks of unemployment I've taken great comfort in the writings of David G. Benner from his book "Surrender to Love".  Ironically, I was reading this book before these events unfolded.  I thought I'd already 'surrendered to love'.  I was about to find out just how wrong I was.

I've heard the term 'surrender' most of my life.  I'm very familiar with it.  I thought I knew exactly how to 'do it'.  Afterall, I 'surrender' something to God at least every 2.7 seconds throughout the day. Apparently I like to take the 'surrendered stuff' back once I give it up to Him and have to go back to Him with my tail between my legs and give it Him again.   Humbling, yes.  If I've supposedly already learned this lesson, why then do I keep trying to take back control?  Why am I more comfortable in the position of control than allowing God to be?

Easy...I haven't completely surrendered to love.  We hear so much in Christian circles about how God demands/commands/requires our obedience to surrender.  Is God really that militaristic?  I don't think so.  Maybe that's why we have a hard time surrendering...who wants to surrender something to someone when you're afraid of that someone on some subconscious level.

Surrendering to love comes out of the deepest knowing that you are loved in your most vulnerable, naked state.  You know you have nothing to offer.  You know you can't make yourself look better, do better, be better, yet you are desired above all else - and you actually believe it.  That is transforming love.  That is unconditional love.  That is a safe place.  That is the truest sense of love.  And in that most peaceful, content, restful place you can't help but trust, you can't help but yield out of love for the one who loves you.  Surrender isn't demanded from this lover, it is a result of knowing and being in love.  It happens naturally.  It's a response to love.

Then it dawned on me....I've never truly surrendered to the love of God.   Maybe at times I've tasted that delectable goodness and freedom and joy but then let it go out of fear that I might lose it.  Twisted thinking, I know, but true none-the-less.  Fear is like that.

Dr. Benner gave the most amazing analogy to surrender that I've ever read or heard about and haven't been able to get it out of my mind. I was hoping to write a poem about it, but it never came to me in that form.  So I'm writing it down in this format to keep this picture alive in my mind and heart and so maybe one day my kids can read it and find peace when they need it.

He explained that God and His love are like a river.  We surrender when we float on this river.  When we struggle, we sink.  When we try to tread water, we eventually sink.  When we pick our head up to look around to see where we are, we sink.  When we are afraid we're going the wrong way and panic, we sink.  We only float when we rest and let the river carry us.  The only effort floating takes is letting go of your trying.  It is being in a state of rest.  That is surrender.  And that is beautiful.

So I'll just be floating down the river today if you need me.
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