I Surrender … All??
It is human nature to want to be in control. We learn from a young age that if we say or do certain things, we can get “our way”. As infants who cannot speak and tell our parents what we want, we cry. As parents who don’t know what it is the cry means, we change the diaper. Crying persists. We feed the baby. Still fussy. We keep trying to figure out what it is our infant needs that will quiet them down. I had one child who just wanted to suckle – a lot! It was the only thing that kept her from crying. I spent hours with her in my arms just to keep her quiet!
As we grow a little older we learn how to manipulate our world to get what we want. Did you have a child that asked the same questions incessantly? Mommy, can I have that toy? Mommy I want to eat (even though they just finished a meal). The word “NO” is not in their vocabulary. No matter how many times you tell them no, they persist. In fact, they may resort to screaming, crying, pouting or other behaviors. And you give in! We’ve all done it. Some parents are stronger than others, but even the strong parents have to admit there were times they gave in just to be able to have some peace and quiet.
This form of manipulation or control morphs over the years. Sometimes it takes on a life of its’ own. We WANT to be in control. We NEED to feel we are in charge of our lives. We spend a lot of time trying to control our environment – our home, our kids, our spouses, our jobs, etc. If we can control the world around us, we may feel more secure within ourselves.
We know we cannot control everything. No matter what we do, the sun will always rise in the East and set in the West. If it’s raining, we cannot stop it. If the birds are chirping, we cannot stop them. We cannot stop every car from crashing, every child from falling, every person from bullying, every loved one from dying. It is just not possible to control every part of our environment. Not that we can’t do our part to help prevent these things. But sometimes no matter what we do, these things are going to happen.
I recently struggled with issues of control. It’s any easy trap when you have a loved one who is sick. You want them to feel better, to do better, to achieve a greater sense of purpose, to have a better quality of life. You, like me, try all sorts of tactics to make that happen. You remind them of things you know they already know – “You need to eat more.” “You need to drink more.” “You need to move or exercise more.” “You need to get out in the fresh air or sunlight more.” Poke, prod, cajole, remind. Anything to motivate them.
When that is met with resistance either because they can’t, they don’t want to, or some other reason, you get frustrated. You feel that you have lost control.
Funny thing is – you never had the control to begin with. Another thing I have learned over the years, but sometimes forget – is the only thing you really have control of is yourself. You cannot control others actions or lack of actions, you can only control your actions and reactions to others’ actions. You have the ability to forgive, forget, enjoy, be angry, love, hate, lift up, put down and all the other types of emotions. Those are yours to own. Every time something happens in the world around you that you like or dislike, you have the free will, the choice, to decide how you will react.
We forget about that – I forget about that.
Then, I am reminded through song or prayer that I have to surrender my control, to turn it over to a higher power to handle. It’s not always easy. I struggle with this issue. You may struggle with this issue. To be in control of the world around us gives us a sense of well-being – to give up control may make us feel weak or defeated. Do we have to give up ALL control? Is everything really out of our hands? The answer is yes – with the exception of controlling our own feelings, actions, reactions. You cannot control others’ actions. You may be able to help shape or influence theirs, however if they are not willing to learn or listen there is nothing you can do.
As parents we do try to shape and mold our young ones’ lives. We show them what is right or wrong. We do our best to make them “good people”. Once they become adults, it is up to them to determine what kind of person they want to be. They may ask for our advice but choose to toss our advice out the window. They may do things we don’t like. Some lose control due to disease or mental illness. They are no longer ours to control.
Do I have the ability to surrender everything to God? No. I am human and I am imperfect.
In my world right now, I can only control my own behaviors. I have made a conscious decision to back off and not try to be in control of others. It’s not easy, not by a long shot. Since doing this, not only now but in prior situations, I find that I do not get frustrated as much. I am more content. Does that mean I have stopped entirely? Of course not. I am more cognizant of my actions and reactions and carefully choose how to act or respond (or not).
When this song comes up on my playlist, I lift up my hands and try to remember what I must learn to do. It’s a process. I’m not perfect. But I will try…. to surrender all.
I SURRENDER ALL
All to Jesus I surrender All to Him I freely give I will ever love and trust Him In His presence daily live
All to Jesus I surrender Humbly at His feet I bow Worldly pleasures all forsaken Take me Jesus take me now
I surrender all I surrender all All to Thee my blessed Saviour I surrender all
All to Jesus I surrender Make me Saviour wholly Thine Let me feel the Holy Spirit Truly know that Thou art mine
All to Jesus I surrender Lord I give myself to Thee Fill me with Thy love and power Let Thy blessings fall on me
All to Jesus I surrender Now I feel the sacred flame Oh the joy of full salvation Glory glory to His name
Songwriters: Eric D. Dawkins / Winfield Scott Weeden / Judson Wheeler Van Deventer / Derek Clark / Anson R. Dawkins
I Surrender All lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group