How do you see surrender?

IMG_3194I’ve got to admit I’m struggling with it. As a girl who until just a few years ago would answer “fine” even when I was half dead, and seldom trusted anyone with my thoughts, the advice to keep learning to write more and more vulnerably is stretching me. It’s also adjusting the way I think about surrender.

What image comes to mind when you think about surrender? For me it has been Jesus in the garden, sweating drops of blood as he pleaded for the cup to be taken from him and added “yet not my will but Yours be done.” It’s a hard image. And a true one. Surrender involves sacrifice.

But surrender does not equal sacrifice. To equate them misses the point. Discipleship, discipline, obedience: Christian surrender is never about sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice. It’s always about relationship. Intimacy. Union. The goal of surrender is crucial. “Who for the joy set before him endured the cross. . .”

We’re not asked to surrender to just anyone. We’re asked to surrender to the God whose love is, as Brian Doerksen sings, “purer than the purest heart.” We often won’t understand what He’s doing. Surrender will involve struggle and pain and tears. But for a people whose God is their husband1, making them his beautiful bride, the mutual surrender of the marriage bed is as appropriate a picture of surrender as the cross. And a whole lot easier to desire.


1. Isaiah 62:3-5; Ezekiel 16; Hosea; Ephesians 5:25-33 and many others

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. JA


  2. Jo Dee Ahmann

    Thanks, Carolyn. I can surrender to the One I trust. Trust is difficult. I find myself thinking over and over again about God’s character–purer than the purest heart. What a great picture. Thank you for writing and thank you for your vulnerability.

    1. hearingtheheartbeat

      Thanks, JoDee. Yes, it’s God’s character revealed in Scripture and in the unfolding of our own lives and the lives of those we love that helps us learn to trust, isn’t it? You so often help me with that in your sharing of God’s faithfulness in your own difficult and beautiful journey. Thank you!

  3. Hannah

    I thought of surrender as “you lose”. The marriage bed as “you win”. I need to re-think surrender. thanks love you Hannah

  4. Tabitha

    Carolyn, I have to tell you that I look forward to your writings every Monday. I agree surrender is not about sacrifice. I find it a challenge to live each day surrendering myself to God. I too shy away from exposing my vulnerability. But the more I surrender unto him, the more love, grace and faithfulness I feel. In my vulnerable moments I feel raw and exposed. I need to see my surrender as not a sacrifice of my vulnerability, but as an opportunity to feel his love unconditionally.

    1. hearingtheheartbeat

      Thanks for your thoughts and encouragement, Tabitha. It’s so true that the only way to know we’re truly loved, the only place we can really experience grace and faithfulness, is in our vulnerability. Isn’t it interesting that even knowing that it is still sometimes so hard to go there?! I can say for sure, though, that the more I experience of God’s faithful love the more possible it is to choose to trust and go to the hard places with Him. And in those moments when I’m able to make the shift of perspective you mentioned I even find myself WANTING to be more and more vulnerable because I want more and more of God and I know that’s where I experience Him most closely.

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