In 2003, I was engaged to a very nice man we will call Allen. I have talked about this engagement before. As a recap, Allen had a six year old daughter. He also had a mother that considered the daughter her daughter. So, in his mother’s eyes, I was taking away her only son and her “daughter” she had a “special relationship” with. Furthermore, the daughter had ADD, and I was trying my best to create a healthy lifestyle for her to help with her ADD.
I was trying to force my will against something that, frankly, wasn’t going to change.
One morning, the mother/grandmother came by to pick up the daughter/granddaughter. I was still in bed. It is funny how you know the sounds and routines in your house. I could tell by the pause from when the front door opened and when it closed that the mother/grandmother had a “little conversation” with Allen. And my intuition knew exactly what the conversation was: she was upset at how I had “treated her” the night before at a family function.
And inside, something broke.
I realized that I was striving for acceptance in a family that didn’t like me. I was trying not to act like a mother while doing all the “mom” work. I was twisted in knots and not being myself. That break was me surrendering. I surrendered to the reality that I was sacrificing who I was in order to be with him…and it wasn’t working.
With reality of the situation hitting me, I realized I had two choices. If I stayed in this situation, I would not be who I was in 5 years. I would be someone completely different. And if I left, I would be breaking off an engagement and hurting someone I truly cared for, but I would be saving myself from destruction.
When Allen came into the room to tell me what his mom had said, I told him I already knew. And I told him that if I continued this way, in 5 years I wouldn’t be myself. He agreed that would be a shame. And in that moment, I knew I was worth walking away.
I had seen the situation for what it was and decided to stop trying to make it something else. I had surrendered.
What exactly does it mean to surrender?
The definition of surrender is to “cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.”
That’s one type of surrender.
Then there’s spiritual surrender. Surrendering spiritually means to completely give up your own will and release you thoughts, ideas and deeds to the will of a higher power.
And then there is my belief in healing surrender. I believe that surrender, when it comes to healing, means to stop, look around, and accept what is.
Not all of the surrendering moments in my life have been as dramatic as ending an engagement. At one point I surrendered to the idea that I had gained too much weight and it was making me miserable. I realized that going on a diet wasn’t going to be fun, not even a little bit. But it had to be done. Better to be miserable on a diet on the road back to happy than be miserably overweight.
Another time in my life, I realized that I was never going to meet the man of my dreams in a bar, or even through friends. I surrendered to the idea that I needed help. So I joined an online dating website. A month later I met the man of my dreams, my husband.
Here is something else that may or may not be true for everyone. For me, these surrendering moments are also “aha!” moments. It is like a fog lifts and you suddenly see what the reality of the situation is and what needs to be done. My decision to leave Allen happened in a matter of 5 minutes or less. My realization that I needed help finding a partner happened and within 5 minutes I was on the computer. When I decided I needed to go on a diet, I was on the computer looking for guidance, planning meals, putting my plan in motion.
This is why I believe, when it comes to healing, surrender is spiritual. I believe spirit sees when the moment is ripe and swoops in to lift the veil and give you the opportunity to move in a different direction. We just have to listen.
We work so hard to control our lives. We think we know what is best and move like a tank in that direction. Meanwhile, spirit is waiting for you to pop your head out of the tank so you can look around and see what is really going on. Half the time you realize you aren’t in a war. You are creating the war.
I know people who have been miserable in their jobs for years, but unaware of just how miserable they are. And one day, they stop and look at the situation and surrender to the idea that the job is never going to change. YOU have the CHOICE to change.
I know people in a push and pull war with friends or relatives, hoping that this other person will one day wake up and do the right thing. And one day they realize that other person will never change. Nothing they say or do will ever make that other person change. But they have the power to change themselves.
Surrendering is when you realize you’re viewing the world through your own perspective and refusing to see the reality of the world. Surrendering is when you stop fighting a war that cannot be won.
When I was working in the corporate world, I was a very angry feminist. I was constantly getting my back up at the unfairness of the world. My corporate boss used to say to me, “You must make peace with the world.” I thought my boss was being naïve or just didn’t understand. “How can I make peace with the world? What is happening every day is unjust! And it is directly affecting ME! How can I possibly make peace?” It wasn’t until I watched “American History X” that I finally understood what she meant. I surrendered. I didn’t surrender to the injustice of the world. I finally saw the anger and judgement I was carrying around inside and that it was doing no good. It was only hurting me. I surrendered. That didn’t mean that I still didn’t speak up when necessary. It meant that feminism wasn’t an obsession.
Surrendering can be a relief. It takes energy to fight reality. It takes energy to ignore what spirit is trying to tell you. When you surrender, you are letting go of what you think you have control over. When you surrender, you release the chains have been keeping you unhealthy. When you surrender, you open yourself up to the wisdom of spirit.
Have you ever had a surrender moment? Did it happen like a bolt of lightning or was there a trail of signs that got you there? Did you feel relief? Share your story in the comments below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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