Surrender is one of the cruxes of a spiritual-religious life.
Religion (real religion done right, not religion-lite) is based in this notion of surrendering — accepting the fact that we are not in charge.
We get into trouble when we think we are in charge.
The two root causes of anger are: 1) not getting what we want and 2) getting what we don’t want. Both happen when we are far afield from surrender.
I am not advocating apathy — not being involved in the outcome of our lives. What I am saying is that we are in trouble when we think that the world ought to pan out according to our sense of how things should be.
God is not our “co-pilot.”
The idea that God is my co-pilot and I’m the one driving is hubristic, obnoxious, and wrong.
I am not advocating any particular theology here. (The) God (of your understanding) is not your co-pilot is also true. It just doesn’t fit on a bumper-sticker so well.
You and I are not God.
Nor are we God’s co-pilots.
Let me give an example of what surrender looks like:
When my beautiful children were both toddlers, their shenanigans (or simply their being rug rats) brought me proverbially, and almost literally, to my knees. One day, Jane was out. I was with the two of them and I was trying to organize all of us cleaning up.
It wasn’t working.
My will was being thwarted. My anger was building. They were laughing. The room wasn’t getting cleaned up.
I couldn’t do it anymore.
I just couldn’t do it.
I thought I was going to pull my hair out or hit one of them. And, then, aloud, I said the words, “I can’t do this anymore.”
And, like magic, things got easier. When I finally surrendered, things let up.
That’s always the pattern, isn’t it? We’re kicking, we’re screaming, we’re grabbing at the proverbial wall, trying to claw our way out of a situation… but it is only when we actually hit bottom, when we surrender and know that we cannot do it anymore — that’s when it gets easier.
It’s not a pleasant process. But it always works. We toil, surrender, and then make it through.
One of the beautiful solaces of being a religiously aware adult is having the wisdom to know we’ll always get through our struggles.
Here’s a beautiful quote by Tayfur Abu Yazid Al-Bistami a 10th century Muslim philosopher:
When I was young I used to pray,
‘God, give me this, God to do for me that.’
But when I reached the shores of enlightenment I said,
‘God, be with me and do with me as you will.’
That’s what surrender is.
Surrender is saying, “God” — or substitute whatever word you like — “God, I’m not in charge. I can’t do this by myself. Can you please help me to let to and not be in charge?”
Set some ego aside and surrender.
Life is always easier once you do.