Surrender: My Life Is Not My Own
“Your life is not your own.”
The first time I heard that statement echoing in my head was in 2015. I had a new baby, two kids I was homeschooling, and I was helping my husband run our small business during the busiest season of its existence.
As I tried to balance working with teaching and running my home, it seemed like my life never stopped. I felt like a circus performer, constantly turning to the next act, keeping the balls spinning, trying to keep everyone happy, and all of the details accounted for.
I felt like I was failing at everything.
As I sat in my home office, looking out the window, wondering how long I’d need to keep this pace, I heard a calm, steady voice say, “Your life is not your own.”
I’d like to say it gave me instant peace; an a-ha moment; a sense of, “Yes! It’s true! Now I can go on living like a crazy woman because I know MY LIFE IS NOT MY OWN!” But that wouldn’t be the truth.
Instead, it made me feel tired. And annoyed.
If pouring myself out for everyone, all of the time was what I was supposed to do…I was tired of doing it.
I mean, I know the Bible says we are to love our neighbors as ourselves; to serve one another in love; and to lay down our lives for one another…but could I just get a few hours to read a book, just for the fun of it?
Women’s magazines tell you about how important it is to make time for yourself; to take care of yourself; to do things for YOU. And I agree…But the fact is that some seasons, if you have to choose between a shower and reading a book, the shower wins. You can give up reading for a few years, but you really can’t give up showering for too long before people start to notice.
When I was done feeling tired and sorry for myself, I felt a sense of surrender. Surrendering to this busy season of life. Surrendering my ambitions and dreams and idea of what life was SUPPOSED to look like, and instead resting in God’s plan.
When I think about all of the things that cause me stress, me wanting to do life MY way, according to MY plans is probably right at the top of the list. My natural inclination is to become frustrated when things don’t work out quickly enough; or if I have to break plans to accommodate a last-minute need; or if life doesn’t stay in the confines of my perfectly laid plans.
But here are some things I’m learning about planning:
– Plans get broken.
– The best-laid plans can lead to disappointment if you hold them too tightly.
– Planning can make you into a control-freak…because when there IS NO PLAN, you have to trust God, and surrender to the fact that His plans for your life may look very different than yours. And then surrender to the fact that His plans are perfect. And are for your good. And…here’s the kicker…they are not all about YOU! You are not in charge of finding the perfect plan…you can leave that up to God, and simply do each day’s work, and enjoy each days’ blessings, as best as you can.
I’m becoming aware of the fact that God is much bigger and active than I realize, and He is working on details in EVERYONE’S life ALL OF THE TIME. In fact, I think the more people you have in your life; the more He will use you to affect change in the community around you.
If you have children in your home…God will write chapters into your life to grow THEM and change their lives…
Which means there will be hardship to grow THEM. There will be challenges to write a new character trait into their lives…or my husband’s life…and inevitably my life, as well.
So, sometimes God might have you move across the country to align your child’s life for their next step.
Sometimes He might write a broken leg into your life, or a trip to the hospital, just so you can meet a mom who really needed a friend just like you.
Sometimes, He might allow relationships to break because you rely on them in a way that only He should be relied upon…
And sometimes, He writes in a vacation where you have time to FINALLY READ A BOOK just for fun!
After the craziness of the last three years, I am fully aware that my life is not my own…it is His. And as I learn to surrender more and more to His plans, I find a new sense of peace and rest, even in the busyness of this season.