16The word “Isreal” means someone who struggles with God. In Judaism we often talk about fighting with God and that the wrestling is an ongoing process.

On the other hand, the etymology of the word Islam, which means “I will be filled” – usually implies that by submission to the will of God, we are complete. And, that is the goal of religion: to surrender ourselves.

Let’s try that perspective change. What if instead of fighting with God we handed over the remote and proverbially let God “drive.” I’m not saying that we should all be blind and apathetic – let everything go and not try to live our lives the best we can – but that perhaps it might behoove us not to question and fight reality as much as we do.

What if – and this is a big one for many of us – what if we sometimes allow God to win?

Here’s a real-life example. About a year ago, Buddha, our 10-year-old dog, had to go to the vet. The vet sent him to a technician to get him checked out, and $837 dollars later, it turns out that he is fine. However, I had such sticker shock at the vet that I went though a yellow light on my way home, was pulled over and got a ticket.

I wish at the time I could have just said, “It is what it is, let me just let it go and not fight with this.” But I couldn’t because I was so upset. There is a refractory period, an inability to be anything but in the feeling.

Later I realized I had to give myself permission to be upset. I had to surrender to my desire to not be upset. I had to accept reality – and about a $1000 loss.

But, then, after feeling my feelings, it could pass.

Surrender doesn’t mean being blissed out. It means giving in to those feelings -and learning to get through the not so pleasant ones.

The truth is you can’t simply decide to let go.

We can surrender to what life brings our way.

As the poet Robert Frost once said,”…the best way out is always through.”

This surrendering is a spiritual practice and practice we must! We must practice accepting the things that we cannot change, not fight to impose our will.

This week’s spiritual religious advice?
Surrender is not about giving up… it’s about letting go.

With love,

rabbi_brian_name_written

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