The Secret Joy Of A Surrendered Life

Day 3 of 5 • This day’s reading


How Do I Surrender?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a good grip. I can hold on to old hurts. I can hold on to faulty ideas. I can hold on to pride by refusing to ask for help. I can cling to the moral high ground in a situation where a little grace would be way more Christlike, not to mention constructive. And if I’m not careful, I can hold on so tightly to yesterday’s blessings that I couldn’t possibly receive anything new from God today.

When I look back on the death grip I had on some of the blessings in my life—my quickly growing family, opportunities to sing and speak—I can see that that grip was hurting my family and was especially hurting me. I was clinging to the messed-up thinking that I was in control, and that if I felt out of control, I would seem ungrateful for the blessings God had given me. “Help me, Lord!” was the extent of my not-so-quiet time most mornings, but even that hurried SOS was a prayer God in his mercy answered.

It is impossible to accept anything from God when you’re holding on tightly to something else. Receiving one thing new always requires the letting go of something else. The empty spaces in between where we are and what’s next often terrify us, yet it is a necessary part of letting go. It’s also the incredibly fertile place where our faith is strengthened and our understanding grows. I can know in my head that placing my trust in God and giving over control to him is right, but that doesn’t mean I feel terrific in the moment about letting go. And honestly, it’s okay that I don’t.

None of us surrenders just once, or ever quite surrenders all. On this side of eternity, we will never be done with surrender because it’s not a one-time decision for us. It’s a commitment to a lifestyle. Every day will bring us a new opportunity to offer our surrender to God and to let something go. And we’ll keep on giving over to God things we thought we released to him fully once-and-for-all but didn’t. Not because we didn’t want to—because we couldn’t yet.

If I were in control of my life, I might want to do away with waiting and struggle and confusion. But if I did this, I wouldn’t make the world a better place or myself a better person. These are the very things God uses to draw me closer to him in trust and dependence, and to make me more like his beautiful Son. Because of the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus we have peace with God, even in the midst of suffering or doubt or trouble. No matter what I face, I have good reason to hope, every single day. 

As a worship leader, I can tell you something with 100 percent certainty: I’ve never seen anyone worship with clenched fists. What I do see, and often, is a sea of open hands raised toward heaven. Arms up. Palms out. Fingers extended. Holding on to nothing. My prayer for myself—and for you—is that we would peel our fingers back from whatever it is we’re clutching and release it to God. Even if it’s our own brokenness.


What are you holding onto that you need to surrender to God? How does believing God, with the help of his Holy Spirit, impact your ability to surrender to him?

What changes in your thinking need to happen for you to surrender control of your life to God?

What reasons do you have to hope, in spite of what you’re facing? How can you act on this hope through surrender to God? What aspects of God’s character inspire hope in our surrender?