Acceptance and surrender – two concepts that hurt the most before we do them.
Yet, these are two of the main things that can move us forward in life.
The Word tells us we will have trials and tribulations (troubles). (Jn.16:33) There will be afflictions in this world. Being saved and a beloved child of God doesn’t mean life is going to be perfect or without pain. It just means we know where to get strength and peace from in the midst of all of it.
Coming to acceptance of something is a huge step. It doesn’t mean we give that thing our approval, or that we like it, or that we don’t wish it would change. But it does give us a starting place. Once we accept something (or someone), we can ask God how we should pray, or what decisions we may need to make.
For instance, my mother is getting up there in years (86), and with her living alone in the same house I grew up in, there are some challenges that come with her situation. There are always things to be done — the house needs repairs, a large yard needs to be tended, doctors appointments to go to, prescriptions to pick up and more.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my mom; but over the past years, handling her affairs as well as my own has been a bit strenuous at times. And resistance is futile. I cannot change this situation with my mother. So rather than fight an un-winnable battle, I try to make the choice to accept it and surrender to God’s will. (Some days are easier than others.)
This surrendering is a yielding to the plans of the Holy Spirit, not mine. I still have to balance my family, work, and home with my commitment to her, but staying in a negative mindset, always wishing things were different doesn’t change anything. Instead it just makes me more stressed or worn out.
But once I accept and surrender (in everything), my stress level goes down. I accept that the line I’m in is going to be the slowest and take a lot more time than I’d hoped for; I accept the person I love is not going to change so I need to figure out how to love them just as they are. These are decisions I have to constantly make. When I exchange my judgment for mercy, my anger for joy, life begins moving forward again.
These two things — acceptance and surrender — truly are hard to do, but with God’s help, and sometimes a support group or counselor, we can get to the other side and continue to grow and mature more into His image. (2 Cor. 3:18)