I’ve been reading about surrendering lately. It’s something that’s hard to do. Thinking about it makes us feel like failures, like we are not in control. Maybe that’s the point.
Americans aren’t supposed to surrender. Growing up, we read in our textbooks that we went to war. Many wars, and that we always won. There was no such thing as surrender for our founding fathers or our military leaders. That’s not the American way.
But I feel like surrendering. Throughout our lives, we carry good and bad. We live with the decisions that we make. Sometimes they feel very heavy. We are weighed down by our feelings, our past actions. Those things we need to surrender.
It can’t always be a bad thing to surrender or to admit that you are not strong enough to do something on your own. You need something else, someone else to help you accomplish what you are trying to achieve. Acknowledging that is a form of surrender.
Many of us, especially men, go our whole lives trying to prove something. That we are strong and independent. That we only need our very own minds to think things through. “I can handle this,” we say to ourselves. “Don’t worry, I got this,” we say to others. What we are saying is that we don’t need anyone else to give us support or help. That would be surrendering.
The more I think of surrendering, the more I like the concept. The acknowledgment that I alone am not enough to conquer my fears and my challenges. That I can’t go through life living like I am the answer to everything around me. That I make better decisions about big things when I seek the advice of others.
I used to think that surrendering meant giving up. It does. It means giving up the idea that you are going through life alone. That you only have yourself to rely on in times of trouble. What would happen to this world if we all surrendered a little more? Rulers and decision makers. Bosses and heads of households. We could all use a little more surrendering.
Once I fully understood the concept of surrender, a feeling of freedom overcame me. For the first time in my life, I felt like I could take on the day no matter what came my way. The pressure of making choices, of meeting deadlines, of accomplishing goals, was lessened. We still have daily challenges. We still have to make choices. We still have goals we want to achieve. Yet, now, there is a sense of liberty that comes with it all.
Surrender can go both ways. We can choose to surrender to good or bad, to easy or hard. Surrendering to good isn’t always easy. It takes humility and submission. Those aren’t virtues we celebrate in our society. Doing so also means that our lives are not our own. They belong to someone else.
The world has some major troubles at the moment. Wars between nations. Diseases and extreme poverty. People are being imprisoned innocently. No matter where you travel or what corner of the world you point to, trouble seems to be brewing.
Maybe those in charge aren’t doing too much surrendering. They are relying on their finite minds, their own judgements to make decisions that impact all of us. They are not seeking wise counsel or trust in others.
We can’t go through life on our own. We’ve done that for generations, and this world has become a messy place. I choose surrender.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
Abe Villarreal writes about the traditions, people, and culture of America. He can be reached at email@example.com.