I’m done! This is so hard!! I’m overwhelmed, so Eff everyone!!! Overwhelm stinks, but what if you are creating that feeling yourself?
I don’t know about you but I’m kinda stubborn. Surrendering anything is super hard for me. Control in parenting, choice of paint color, anything. The curse of the recovering perfectionist.
In addition to that personality trait, the trauma I experienced as a child had me toughen up and take responsibility for things I shouldn’t have at an early age, which can be a hard habit to shake.
That type of experience also tends to have us put up some protection walls somewhere, that makes words like “vulnerability” or “surrender” be less desirable than ‘strong’ and ‘powerful”.
It feels strong and powerful to resist ‘what is’ and put up a fight. But then we feel exhausted and overwhelmed. What if there is another way…?
It’s a little funny how I came to the ‘surrender realization’ I am talking about.
I was not raised to be particularly spiritual. I was invited to a church in my 20s by a friend, and when I went, I felt alone and sad.
There were people there with joy in their eyes, with peace and genuinely hugging each other hello. I knew I didn’t have what they had and I didn’t know how to get it.
During the worship that day, my mind was wandering. I was so bored, they were singing the same verse of a song over and over again.
I was not entertained, so my mind was wandering on how I can get to the level of peace and joy that I had witnessed.
What was I missing? What did I need to do? The boring song was repeating that same verse over and over again.. “I sur-render. All to you. All to you”
“ I I I sur-render. All to you. All to you”…. “
As soon as it connected in my brain that I was being given my answer in the song, I opened a teeny weeny gap in my armor and spirit flooded into my body.
Physical feeling going through my veins, head spinning and my heart pumped with loving energy and support instantly.
Tears were coming to my eyes, although like the warrior I was, I was trying to swallow them down so no one saw or knew I was crying.
In that moment I knew it was true. There is a loving force, I am not alone. I skipped home smiling randomly at strangers because I loved them all.
I feel that powerful loving energy when any faith is praying, my Jewish and Muslim friends access the same energy. We are so loved.
I know this to the core of my being, yet there are days I feel overwhelmed and throw a tantrum. Why?
Because I am human and this surrendering thing is super hard!
We have to do it daily and our ego hates it.
If we want to BE in control (which ego does, because we feel it is in our best interests and protects us), we wind up FEELING in control and responsible – that is – to have the weight of the universe on our shoulders.
I like to call that process ‘promoting myself to managing director of the universe’. I feel responsible for the outcome of all the things around me, and get overwhelmed.
Then my thoughts escalate to things like “how am I going to get this done? Will it be good enough? Will I fail?
I continue to add more thoughts to this ever growing overwhelm, increasing my anxiety, until I remember – finally – that I am not actually the managing director of the universe. (phew!)
My job is to take my little action step, then surrender and trust.
Trust that He is better at this than me.
Trust that since He created the entire universe, He can probably handle my situation.
Trust that his way will work out even better than the version I am trying to ‘strong arm’ into existence.
Trust in His timing (my personal worst struggle, I’m so impatient).
Breathe and trust. That’s how this whole thing works best for everyone. Especially when things on earth here are super hard, we need to do our part, then let go.
So when I remember, here is what I know to be true, and its the opposite to the way my brain is naturally wired –
=>The hardest thing possible for a human to do is to trust something, or someone enough to surrender our ego’s will.
=> Faith therefore takes tremendous continuous strength, not weakness.
The challenge, daily, is to quit the self appointed position of being the managing director of the universe, in exchange for being divinely loved and supported instead.
Doesn’t seem so bad a trade when I remember
Once there was a girl who so loved the world, she wanted to make everyone happy in it… she loved on her dolls, animals and family whenever she could. She also had a wild and free spirit and loved to play hard with her brother and friends.
She was intuitive, so when she knew her parents weren’t happy, she often wanted to make things easier for them. She tuned into what that might be, and listened carefully to their “Good girl!” praise and conditioning. She was naturally helpful and thoughtful, so would do small things to help her family, which was met of course with praise and compliments.
Whenever she had a moment where she didn’t feel like helping and was thinking of her own comfort or needs, she was quickly corrected “Don’t be so selfish!”. Her parent’s tone made her understand that she should feel some shame around being selfish.
She would visit her grandma on weekends. Her older brother didn’t have to go as often because he didn’t want to, and everyone understood he had plans with his friends.
The little girl learned once again that the plans she had been yearning for didn’t matter, that being loyal and selfless was the better way to be. He was being selfish but it was somehow different for him. Regardless, the little girl understood, her life was about pleasing others and being selfish was not okay.
Later in life the little girl for all her good deeds and good intentions, found herself struggling with depression and exhausted from decades of trying to please all the people.
She had trained her husband, kids and pets that she was their go-to and loved them so much she would take care of everything. She had so wanted to be a “good” wife, Mom, sister, daughter, friend and pet owner and ran on the praise of hearing so. If anyone was ever unhappy though, she felt like a failure, and of course someone was always unhappy about something.
One day, the little girl woke up exhausted and had a revelation.
Perhaps it wasn’t her job to take care of all the people, or to make others happy. Perhaps they had some responsibility too.
Maybe, just maybe, what she wanted for her life mattered too. And in her head, she told everyone to ‘fuck off’. She gave herself permission to rediscover that wild and free spirit. She googled the word “fun”.
She repeated at least 4 times a day for months after that, “No!” … and ..”…because I matter too!”. Everyone readjusted to her new self-loving boundaries. The world kept spinning. She smiled more.
And EVERYONE lived even more happily ever after.