Everyone is allowed a couple of these in a lifetime: some little personal epiphany that to others, no doubt, is the sort of thing that belongs on an inspiration poster with a basket of kittens and daisies. But the other night I was thinking about the idea of letting things go, and handing them over to God. And I was recalling all those clichés you hear about God takes you to the end of yourself so you learn to trust him and how his strength is made perfect in our weakness (well, that one is in the bible so I probably shouldn’t call it a cliché) and how you don’t know Christ is all you need till Christ is all you have etc. And I recently read snippets such as this in, you guessed it, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp:
Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control … let go of my own way, let go of my own fears. Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy’s fire. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love and whisper surprised thanks … Fullness of joy is discovered only in the empting of will …
And I was pondering how it’s unfortunate that it takes us (me!) so long sometimes, but often it’s only when you are completely ready to give up, that you finally give things up to God.
And do you see what I did there? “Give up”?
I actually started to think about the origins of the phrase “give up” and why we say that (because I’m like that). And you know, apparently it’s from the mid 12th century and originally meant “surrender”. (It seems it only came to mean something like “lose hope” in the 1500s. See the bottom of this page etc.) How nice. I think you can all see where I am going with this …
See, I was actually having a little conversation with God the other night, in which I told him that if he was going to make certain things so difficult he was just going to have to do them himself, because I couldn’t do it anymore, but I suspect that’s actually been the point all along. Now that there is nothing left that I can do about it (not unless I just want to destroy myself in doing it), I have to finally let God take care of it.
And so I have decided to change the meaning for myself of “I give up”, and also what I do when I am at that point, and use it rather as a prompt to surrender things to God.