“Often times, the more we surrender to God, the greater our ability to see God’s hand in our life.”
How many of you get anxiety about being a passenger in your car instead of the driver? If you could see me right now, I am slowly raising my hand in confession. I am the worst backseat driver, and have been known to slam down my right foot on an imaginary break while riding along. The reason I feel uncomfortable sitting in the passenger seat is because I prefer to have control of where my car is going. I don’t trust the driver more than I trust my own driving, which in all honesty is questionable. Just ask the police officer who gave me a speeding ticket last month.
What I’ve realized about my faith is that I tend to desire the same control over my life as I do when I’m in the car. I’ve struggled with surrendering the driver’s seat to God, but through Kyle and our story, I’ve experienced the freedom and joy found in fully letting go.
After Kyle and I met, I was dead-set on keeping him in the friend zone. At the time, he was living in Washington, D.C. while I lived in Atlanta. The long distance gave me an easy reason to stay away. He sent sweet text messages, called occasionally and sent bright, colorful flowers a time or two. I enjoyed the attention, but was focused on how I imagined God would answer my prayers (which didn’t include Kyle!).
Fast forward to about 6 months later. Our matchmaker Kelly and her now husband, J.P., were getting married, and Kyle kindly asked me to be his date to their wedding. He still gives me a hard time for this, and I 100% deserve it, but I told him we could go as “friend dates.” Friend dates? What does that even mean? I can’t believe he went for it, but he agreed to go to their wedding with me as “friend dates.”
I wouldn’t let go of my expectations even for one evening.
However, Kelly and J.P.’s wedding was a turning point in how I viewed Kyle. I don’t know if it was because Kyle looked handsome in his grey suit, or because the warm summer air was blowing just right. Maybe it was his slick dance moves, or the fact that he had the “Thriller” dance memorized, but that night I slowly let my guard down with Kyle. I let myself enjoy his company instead of push it away.
In a sloth-like pace, I started to lower my emotional stiff-arm toward Kyle. I began to give him a chance. Finger by finger and hand by hand, I let go of the tight grip I had on my expectations. I started to give the driver’s seat to God and began to scratch the surface on what fully trusting Him looks like.
Kyle and I began to communicate more and more after Kelly and J.P.’s wedding. We went from occasional text messages and phone calls, to multiple calls a day and planned FaceTime dates. I was still cautious, but started to view Kyle as a kind, loving person instead of a non-Christian, or someone who didn’t match my “spouse list” to a T. Candidly, if Kyle would have showed up in my life a few years earlier, I might not have given him a chance at all. But at that point, I felt peace from the Holy Spirit to continue growing our relationship.
The moment I let go of what I thought my perfect fairy tale relationship should look like was the exact moment I started to have some real fun. I stopped thinking so much about “is this my husband?” and enjoyed Kyle’s presence and communication for what it was in those early days. I stopped worrying about what people would think about his tattoos. I stopped disqualifying him, and started opening my heart and mind to the idea of him being an answered prayer even though there was still a huge missing piece, his faith.
However, our relationship took a turn during one, critical conversation.
I’m going to let you in on that conversation next week - BUT that's because I want to share 3 important lessons I learned up to that point!
3 Truths to Remember in Surrender:
1. Surrendering your fairy tale to God does not mean you are letting go of the desires of your heart.
God isn’t asking you to let go of your deepest desires, He’s asking you to trust Him with them. God knew I wanted a spouse one day, but more than fulfilling the desires of my heart, He wanted me to let go of my perceived control and trust His provision. No part of dating Kyle made sense to me, but God was fulfilling the desires of my heart all along. He must become more, we must become less.
2. Submission builds humility.
When we continually practice surrendering to God, our hearts begin to change. We learn that humbly submitting ourselves before the Lord is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. I love reflecting on who Jesus is when I have the urge to seek control; He’s all-knowing, almighty, loving, kind and pure. The more we choose to submit to our Father, the more we look like Jesus. Submission builds humility.
3. Surrendering creates space for peace.
Quite frankly, my fairy tale expectations became what robbed me of my own joy. I got in my own way, and missed seeing Kyle as a blessing for months. When you let go of what you are clinging to on this earth, you allow God to fill that space with His presence and goodness. This applies to all areas of life; marriage, parenting, your career, etc. Fighting for control is wasted energy. The more we surrender, the more we see Him at work. Surrendering creates room for peace.
See you next week for part 3 – love y’all!
Do you trust God more than you trust yourself?
Do you feel like you are fighting with God for control over certain areas of your life?