At the beginning of this year I was asked to prepare a mini-sermon for my class. The theme I kept encountering was on surrender. Funny how I never anticipated for this to be the theme of my year…
A couple months back I had a housemate ask me a startling question. She looked me straight in the eyes and asked: “Are you upset?” Taken back by her question I really didn’t know how to respond. She quickly countered with: “Upset isn’t the correct term. You just seem restless.”
It’s been a few months since I’ve written. Mainly because I’ve felt conflicted writing about depression when I felt like I was in the midst of it. How could I help someone else, when I was full frontal facing it myself. This season had hit me to the core, often feeling dazed and confused about the predicament I found myself in.
Twenty-six has been a year of detoxing. Intentionally listening to the narrative I cultivated, and the self-worth I believed to deserve.
My wilderness has taken place in the beautiful country of Australia. Where I’ve fought kangaroos, conquered cockroaches, survived on chicken broth, dislocated ligaments, gotten into a pricey car accident, and wrestled with doubt and shame. It’s also where I have been surrounded by an incredible community. Where I have gained tenacity and grit. A wilderness that has softened me, making me even more compassionate and gentle. Less self-centered, less worrisome, and a whole lot more brave!
The process of surrender has done its magic. Unfortunately surrender didn’t come easy, but it has brought peace, and liberated me to love the process I was currently in.
“Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God. I am the God above all the nations, and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth.” Psalm 46:10
Surrender isn’t passive. It’s actually an active verb of giving over or yielding to. For me, it’s been a process of deliberately taking moments to pause. To reflect on the goodness within my life, to take deep breathes and remember to watch the leaves in the wind. To be compassionate towards myself in the process. It honestly takes a whole lot of mindfulness. Surrender is an invitation to smile. Surrender means accepting what is, and letting go of what isn’t. It’s acknowledging and loving every imperfection, every struggle, and every heartache. “Empathy and connection require us to know and accept ourselves before we can know and accept others.”(Brene Brown) How sweet that my God has never asked me to be perfect in order for him to use me. He loves our humanity.
As I’ve been reading I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) by Brene Brown, she synthesizes it so perfectly. “Compassion practice is daring. It involves learning to relax and allow ourselves to move gently toward what scares us. To let fear soften us rather than harden into resistance.”… “Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and wounded, but between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
So here I am, 7 months after I spoke on surrender. And I am so grateful that I got to learn to become more compassionate towards myself. To learn to smile even in the confusion, to ask for help even when I wanted to isolate. To trust the pain was only temporary and that God would revive what felt dead. I’ve gotten to experience His goodness firsthand and relearn to trust my Creator. To love myself fiercely, and to be vulnerable, to truly be authentic with the process. More importantly, I am learning that I am so much more resilient than I dared to believe and He will never leave or forsaken me.
Thank you to every angel that accompanied me on this journey! I am eternally grateful.