At the beginning of 2018, the phrase that I chose to cling to & focus on was, “here I am.” These words were spoken to God by Isaiah, opening himself to wherever & whenever God was going to send him. Last year my goal was to remember these three words and hold them in my heart & mind as a reminder to follow God, even when it meant following him right out of my comfort zone. My prayer was for God to wreck my plans and have his prevail, and I certainly do not plan to stop praying that this year – I do still yearn for God to hold my hand as I walk out of my comfort zone in 2019 and ask that he would call me places I never thought I’d go. But in the midst of beginning my eighth and final semester of my undergraduate career & discerning where I am heading to seminary this fall, I think I’ve settled on a word for 2019:
I can think of no better word other than “surrender” that adequately encapsulates what it means to fully relinquish control, and that is what I want to focus on more than anything in 2019: surrendering all to God.
Relinquishing my desire for control, letting go, having Him increase and me decrease, surrendering my future to God, surrendering my desire to be “strong” and “put together” 24/7, surrendering my fear – my fear of being vulnerable, my fear of losing control, my fear of the unknown. Surrendering all the worries that keep me up at night. I know I’m in good company when I say that I’m a worry wart. (If you’re reading this and you know me, you’re probably chuckling and thinking to yourself, “yep she is”) I think the reason I worry as much as I do is because I fear not being in control and I fear not having all the details. I’m a futurist and I’m a planner, I like “knowing.” But how are we supposed to trust God to the fullest unless we have surrendered control to him? We can’t be clinging to the steering wheel while simultaneously saying we trust God – that action & those words just don’t match. Full surrender, and fully releasing control means letting yourself be led into the unknown, even if fear is present (feel the fear and do it anyways, amen?)
I’ve definitely taken leaps of faith throughout my life and I do find excitement and thrill in the unknown, but gosh, it does still scare me to a degree. When I transferred from Liberty, I had no idea where I would end up. When I landed at community college for a semester and began figuring out which 4 year university I should apply and potentially transfer to, I had no clue where I would end up. When I began thinking about seminary and then applying to seminary, I had no idea where I’d be accepted. Now that I’ve been accepted and may have a better idea of where I’ll end up, I’m still not certain yet, and even when I decide where I’m attending seminary, there will be unfamiliarity, there will be unknowns, there will be fear, there will be imperfection, there will be trials, and anxieties, and stress. But I have watched throughout my entire undergrad career (and before, too) as God has been faithful time and time again, keeping me in the dark about what he had planned but then having his plans prevail and being more beautiful and full of growth than any plans I could have ever established for myself. One of the reasons I have such a hard time making big decisions is because I like to have things all figured out. I need to know all the details. But I’m not God and I’m not entitled to all of the details. I need to surrender the desire for those details to him, trusting it will all work out and what needs to be figured out or revealed to me, will be. But until then, I need to surrender. So this year, I’ll constantly be reminding myself to do just that. To surrender everything. Another reason surrender is my word for 2019 is because its definition perfectly aligns with what I need to do in my recovery, AKA, the most important thing in my life right now. Eating disorders are all about control, so rather than surrendering to the eating disorder, I must surrender the eating disorder itself, giving myself fully to the recovery process. I have not yet recovered fully and I am okay with saying that because it’s true and I praise God I’m able to admit it. If I thought I was fine and not in need of the professional help I would not be in a good place. But how very thankful I am that that’s not the case! I do not want to say that 2019 will be the year I fully recover, because that’s a lot of pressure to put on a process that has no timeline (it’s a daily thing!) but this year, I know I will make strides bigger than I have before, and I have goals and steps and challenges I’m conquering to make that happen. And in February, I’ll be 6 years in recovery which is why my other phrase for 2019, like any other year, continues to be “kick the crap out of anorexia.” If you, too, are in recovery, know that you are strong and capable of surrendering to the recovery process and giving up the control you think you have over it, for the sake of your health. Whatever it is that’s weighing you down – whether it’s fear, worry, your job, your schooling, your future, your relationship, a friendship, your home life, a divorce, a break-up, a mental illness, a disease – it’s not too heavy for God. You can bring it to him. I can’t promise that in doing so, you will feel 100%, but I can promise that God can carry your load. He can carry what you can and what you cannot.
So that is my goal for 2019: to surrender all to Him, every single day.
I invite you to join me as I try (and fail at times) to do so this year.
I am human and admittedly have not yet surrendered all to him. But gosh I want to. So this year, I’m workin’ hard at doing just that. I don’t think it will ever be an easy task, but God is God, and he is a faithful, loving, God, unafraid to challenging us, but only for the sake of growing us. Get to know God more & more & surrendering your life, your days, your worries, your future, to him will become less & less scary.
Here’s to 2019.