Think about these:
When you surrender, you are calm. When you give up, you are exasperated.9
When you surrender, doors open. When you give up, you slam the doors shut.10
When you surrender, you soar to unknown heights. When you give up, you delve into the depths
Some people may scoff at the idea. We are the masters of our fate! Why will we sit down and surrender? Much like the paradox of control, surrender also is an irony of its own. But “it’s not about inaction. It’s about taking action from that place of surrender energy.”12 Surrendering may also be akin to waiting. “Waiting requires more discipline, more self-‐control and emotional maturity, more unshakeable faith in our cause, more unwavering hope in the future, more sustaining love in our hearts than all the great deeds of derring-‐do that go by the name of action… All we know is that growth – the budding, the flowering of love needs patient waiting.”13 In surrendering, we are also being called to be patient. “Sometimes the same tasks have to be repeated, like tearing up weeds of closing holes that appear after unexpected rain. Don’t let that annoy you – that is part of the journey. Even though you are tired, even though certain tasks are repeated so often, be patient.”14
How does surrender look like? “We trust that we’re okay no matter what circumstances come our way, we don’t need to micro-‐manage the universe. We let go. And we open ourselves to all sorts of wonderful possibilities that aren’t there when we’re attached to one “right” path.”15 True to its literal meaning, it also means to stop fighting. “Stop fighting with yourself. Stop fighting the universe and the natural flow of things. Stop resisting and pushing against reality.”16 Einstein once said that “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”17 And that is where you can let go of control and embrace surrender. When you believe in a friendly universe, you know that it “is supporting you at every turn so that you don’t have to worry yourself over the details.”18
Another meaning of surrender is “to be present and being fully accepting of what is, in the moment. By releasing physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual struggles, you experience the freedom to respond to life, rather than living life through reaction.”19 It also means “being open and flexible to the unpredictability of life and flowing with them with a sense of curiosity and adventure.”20 “Surrender allows us to attract new possibilities and invites the Universe to shower us with blessings and gifts. Surrender connects us with the Divine and defuses fear.”21
When Did You Surrender Control?
Think about a moment in your life when you surrendered control. What was the situation? What made you surrender? What happened after that?
The Best Vessels Surrendered
There is a beautiful metaphor narrated by Brian Eno, “Old wooden ships had to be constantly caulked up because they leaked. When technology improved, and they could make stiffer ships because of a different way of holding boards together, they broke up. So they went back to making ships that didn’t fit together properly, ships that had flexion. The best vessels surrendered: they allowed themselves to be moved by the circumstances.”22
Exercise 2: How Can You Surrender?
Choose one of your three things you mentioned in Exercise 1 that you feel strongly about taking control.
Vinita Wright shares this thought on matters that interrupt our control:
The unexpected is simply the life you have but don’t yet know about. The wise woman accepts that reality. What does she do with the unexpected, the disruption, the unwelcome call or caller? She engages with it, with everything she has. She looks for the layer of grace and God-‐ness that is always there, somewhere and somehow. She pays attention and looks for the wisdom waiting to be tapped in the day that has suddenly changed direction.23
People have the idea that surrendering is a cowardly act. The irony is it is a more courageous act. When you hold on tight to control, you are merely hiding behind the so-‐called shield of power but it does not give you power. When you surrender to the possibilities, many things beyond your wildest imagination suddenly open up. But you need to discern when that happens, and make that leap to the wonderful life that was meant for you. So, are you ready to surrender control?