A Note From The Editor:
While we are not a religious site, I am always willing to publish religious philosophies, memoirs, and stories about the changes that people experience from all faiths. That, after all, is freedom of expression. We as writers see the world, and we write about the things we see, experience, and feel. We use the five senses to convey a message to an audience.
We have published works from Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists (to name a few) – we are about sharing the world as “we” (the rhetorical we) see it. Anel shares her experience with her faith and how it changed her life in this short memoir piece. Enjoy!
It’s easy to say, “Just have a little faith.” But do you know what it really means? Do you understand the continuous surrender that goes along with having a little faith?
What if nothing works out as you planned it? What if, no matter how hard you try, you’re still stuck? How do you get out of a sticky situation, when all your plans fail?
You just keep on keeping on.
I realise that this is much easier said than done, but honestly, that is all there is to it. Keep at it. Most of us are self-sustainable and VERY capable of coming up with different plans and ideas to create new opportunities, from which we can gain. In any given situation we are able to make a plan. The point is not that it is wrong to make plans, but rather, just to clarify, that there is a very fine line between finding the balance to make plans and waiting for God’s plans to find you.
So, what do you do when you get to the end of yourself?
At the end of myself
Here’s what I mean with “at the end of myself”:
- I felt that I had absolutely nothing left to give or gain from any situation.
- I did not see a way out of my situation – at all.
When you find yourself, at the end of yourself, you have absolutely no hope left. Here’s where it gets complicated though, because: You will never really have true hope when you place your hope in yourself.
I found that in order to really have true hope, in the first place, I had to place my confidence in God. I had to be able to surrender the hope (and burden) I’d placed in myself, onto the One who knows the plans He has for me.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
- Jeremiah 29:11
I Just had to surrender. This shouldn’t be a power struggle, but rather a deep realization that in our surrender, lays our freedom and hope to pursue those things we were created for. In our surrender lays the ability to clearly see and discern that which we were created to pursue. It’s really about giving up those things which bear us down to a state of hopelessness…. So, how did I do this?
A life of surrender
This is by no means the ultimate truth of how to live a life of surrender, but here are three ways I found to work:
- Choose it
This is a daily practice. Every single day I have to choose to surrender all my thoughts and actions to God. How do I do that?
Through continuous prayer. Short little prayers that I say when I’m on my way to dropping my kids off at school, or on my way to work; while I’m sitting in a conference meeting; when I’m on the soccer field; while I’m preparing dinner. I learned to pray whenever I realized that I was trying to take control (in an unhealthy way) of a situation. I would just quiet my mind and just surrender whatever I needed to, to God.
You really shouldn’t have a slave mentality about this. I began to think about it as having a problem, which I really couldn’t figure out, which I just needed to take to my dad. Just take it to your Dad, and let Him figure it out and show you the way.
And in this whole process, I learned to trust Him to be true to His word. He clearly says that “He knows the plans He has for you, to prosper you and not to harm you…” I choose to believe it.
- Stick to it
When my circumstances seemed to overwhelm the truth, I put practical steps in place to remind myself of the truth. It is very difficult to keep on having faith when things around you seem to fall apart. So, here’s what I do when things get overwhelming:
- I literally stop dead in my tracks.
- Recite God’s promise to me (Jer. 29:12-14).
- Take a deep breath in…and out. (repeat a few times if I need to)
- Continue to wherever I was going.
See, the point is that you really have to stick to your choice to surrender your anxiety and doubt to God, continuously. And the only way that I was able to do this was to have a practical way to reinforce this choice.
I had to repeat these two steps as often as I needed to, throughout the day. The more I practice believing the truth, the easier it becomes for me to live a life of, what I like to call, free-surrender.
Here are some key points to take away:
- Coming to the end of yourself and living a life of surrender, will inevitably cultivate a life of faith.
- When you have absolutely nothing left and have completely run out of options of how to proceed, you realise that the only thing left is finding hope in your faith.
- If faith is what you fill your heart and your mind with, during the times of doubt and when ALL your plans fail, you will prosper.
- The Lord is good, ALL the time. No matter your circumstances – He remains good and faithful to His word.
Anel is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader. With a background in teaching English literature and language she now pursues her own writing career. She is an Alumna of Stellenbosch University, in Cape Town.
Growing up in Namibia, Anel has a deep appreciation of the vastness of nature which echoes the vastness of humanity. “I love to write about the complexity of our humanity and that which forms our very core identity.”
Anel has been married for 7 years and has one daughter. The journey of being a wife and a mom has also inspired her to write about, and share, her own experiences. She is currently working on her first book: “10 Lies we believe about marriage.”
Visit her blog or follow her on social media.
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