By: Sherrell Moore-Tucker
Many times when we ask God for something we are thrilled when He says, "Yes". But, what is our reaction when we hear a resounding "No" or nothing at all? For me, a no is one thing but silence from God would send me into a tailspin. I spent years trying to figure out what the silence meant. During the silence I would look for signs and wonders and beat myself up wondering what sins had I overlooked. It wasn't until recently that I grew to understand God's silence for myself. The way I dealt with the silence changed when I changed my focus. Instead of focusing on what wasn't being said I chose to focus on God. Yes, it's just that simple but I can tell you when you're in the midst of a situation and need an answer it can be very difficult to accept silence.
Just like Job I would find myself asking God why over and over again and it got me nowhere. Ultimately, those experiences taught me to surrender. I don't know about you but I'm a fighter and surrendering doesn't come naturally for me. So of course when I stopped fighting He showed me what surrender was really all about and once I began the surrender process my stress level decreased and my eyes were opened. It's amazing the insight you gain when you stop fighting.
One of the scriptures God led me to was Psalm 37:7, "Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for him." Whatever you are going through God wants us to do two things: Surrender and wait! So what does that really mean? Well when you surrender you yield to the power of another; give up one's power; give up; render up, etc. There are so many definitions but there's a commonality among all the definitions and that is letting go of something. That something may be a desired outcome as it was in my case or letting go of someone.
Surrendering to God is a daily process and the process builds our trust in Him when we don't necessarily know what the outcome will be. Surrendering our thoughts to God not only impacts us spiritually but physically as well. When I was fighting and trying to figure things out on my own I dealt with anxiety and more stress brought on my need for control, which had a negative impact on my health spiritually and physically.
Anxiety is an emotion of excessive worry that can affect the lungs and large intestine. Specifically it is reported in the Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation website that anxiety may lead to shortness of breath and inflammation of the large intestine and prolonged periods of stress may weaken the heart and brain. Remember God heals the heart and renews the mind.
I invite you to surrender to God's will daily and to reap the eternal benefits like the ones listed below:
REASSURANCE- In a day and age where people are rewarded for being super men and women it's not surprising that many believe people have a "I can do it all by myself" attitude. Asking for help is sometimes viewed as a sign of weakness but the Bible says, "...My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." We have to remember not to get caught up in the day to day hustle and remember that we need Him. His power will be magnified and made perfect in our lives when we stop using willpower and our own selfish efforts to do the impossible. He's already done it! We can't save ourselves. We are weak, lacking, deficit, imperfect, and we fall short but the power of God is illuminated in our mess confirming for us and the world the unbelievable power of the Almighty God.
TRUST - When I surrender I learn to trust God more. Just like surrender, trust is a process as well. I trusted God for some situations and not others. It's laughable when I think about it. I trust Him for one situation and not the other as if His power changes somehow. My ego-filled thoughts beg for me to believe that I am somehow more capable than God of handling a particular situation. On this journey of surrender I've learned that God has a big-picture view of every situation and that our feeble attempts to understand, based on our limited intellect, fail every single time. I must admit things don't make sense sometimes. However, I'm learning everyday to trust that God has all the information: The beginning, the middle and the end. Trust is not easy but as we renew our minds to the Word of God daily and lean not to our own understanding we can rest in the process as we trust Him more.
REST AND PEACE - I don't know about you but fighting is exhausting so when I surrender I immediately find rest in Him. There's nothing like the peace of God and that relaxing physical rest. That's not a coincidence either. God designed how our bodies function and science shows that when we breathe deeply, relax, and meditate that it initiates the "Rest and Digest" response versus the "Fight or Flight" response brought on by stress. When stress isn't properly addressed it can lead to unhealthy behaviors such as overeating or poor sleeping which may cause high blood pressure.
When we surrender our thoughts to Him and focus and meditate on Him and all that He is we can truly experience rest and peace that no man can provide. And our bodies can relax and function the way they were designed to function.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the U.S., African Americans have far higher rates of high blood pressure than whites and other minority groups. Further, the American Health Association (AHA) says that more than 40 percent of non-Hispanics blacks actually have high blood pressure. Since high pressure doesn't have symptoms, it is important to incorporate proper nutrition, exercise, and meditation as keys for healthy living.
There are many parallels between our spiritual and physical health. God wants us to meditate on those things that are good and pure. We do that for more than our spiritual development. He designed us as whole beings, meaning that our thought life affects our body, soul, and spirit. Meditating on God's words doesn't have to end at church or during your devotion. Turn your fitness into a moving meditation. There are programs like Holy Yoga that are especially designed for this. It strengthens all the muscles in the body, stimulates internal organs, improves breathing, which aids the mind/body in relaxation. God wants us to come to find rest and peace in Him and Holy Yoga does just that. Holy Yoga is an intentional practice of connecting our entire being, body, mind and spirit with God: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. With complete reliance on God's Word and prayer, Holy Yoga invites us to surrender and introduces us to grace.
Surrendering to God's will isn't easy and we can't do it on our own. We must rely on Him to show us how by renewing our minds to the Word of God. We are reminded not to be anxious about anything and to present our requests to God in Philippians. When we get closer to God through meditation, prayer, praise, and worship Jeremiah 29:11 can become our new perspective and reality, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Allow the scriptures to come alive in your heart and soul and by faith surrender your will to give way to the plans and to the future that the Father has designed just for you. Whatever the situation, I encourage you to go to God with an open heart, and ask Him to show you what to surrender and how to surrender to his will, and I promise you that He is just and faithful to answer.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
1. What happens when you surrender?
2. Do you find yourself fighting and resisting like me or are you surrendering in some areas of your life and not so much in others?
3. How can you remain focused on surrendering? What specific practices can you set in place?
About the Author: Sherrell Moore-Tucker is a registered yoga teacher with the National Yoga Alliance, Holy Yoga Ministries and a certified group fitness instructor through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), writer, dancer, and speaker. In 2013 she created Fit & Flow Yoga with Sherrell to provide Christ–center yoga for those seeking a mind-body connection that is line with their faith. You can find out more about Fit & Flow Yoga with Sherrell at: www.fitandflowllc.com.