In truth, there was a time when I completely walked away from my faith. I thought I could find satisfaction, love, acceptance, and freedom – outside of God. For a while, I thought that I had found that satisfaction, love, acceptance, and freedom I was searching for. However, what I found was short-lived and shallow. I began to empathize with that repeated phrase the writer of Ecclesiastes used: It's all meaningless..." Day in and day out, I went looking for satisfaction, love, acceptance, and freedom in all the wrong places and started growing tired and empty when the lifestyle I was living, those vices I clung to, weren’t satisfying all of those desires of belonging. I began to think, "What's the point? Do I even have a purpose? Who am I?" From the depths of my soul I was screaming, “I want freedom! I want acceptance! I want to be loved!” I was left feeling heartbroken and torn, realizing I couldn't find it in this world.
But, then, on July 31, 2011, God stepped in. I realized I had given up all opportunity to find true joy and satisfaction when I walked away from my faith. You see, I didn’t walk away from “just a set of beliefs” or “a system that secured my afterlife.” No, I walked away from a relationship – from the realist being I have ever known. Yet, the beautiful thing was, He never walked away from me.
I knew what I had to do. I had to surrender everything over to God and allow Him to heal those broken places and bind up what was torn on the inside. However, I was scared. Surrender felt a lot like releasing control and falling into the unknown. I knew deep down, I would have to give up my twisted, human perspective and vain pursuits of worldly satisfaction and rest in the fullness of His presence.
God's love chased me down and met me in the middle of my mess, in the middle of my struggle, in the middle of my issues, and in the middle of my doubt. He sweetly reminded me that I was His daughter and that He was my Father. He reminded me that I could find freedom in His presence, and all I had to do was surrender. He told me I could find love, true and honest love, if I surrendered to Him, and that I could find acceptance and a place to belong if only I allowed Him to show me. I couldn’t truly understand or experience these things until I yielded – surrendered – myself, my mind, and my heart to the King of Kings. He is my precious Savior and my Messiah, the one who taught me what unconditional love could give me.
Since releasing my feeble strength of holding onto my life and giving it over to the Life giver and Life sustainer, I have experienced the freedom that His Word says we can experience. I found freedom just like Paul talks about in Galatians 5. Now that I've tasted and seen that the Lord is good and that I can have true freedom in my life, I'm never turning back.
Surrender is messy, but surrender is also awesome. Surrender can be ugly, but surrender is the most beautiful thing you'll ever experience in your life. Surrender is one crazy, wild, and beautiful experience. I firmly believe we must truly trust and choose to surrender every single day. In this choosing, it may seem like you're losing control, but, beloved, it's the exact opposite. Instead of holding on with clenched fists to be in control, you are engulfed in freedom – God's true and honest freedom.