Surrender is not something that comes easily for men. It is something we will practice only as a last option. It is generally assumed that control is more of an issue for men then women. Surrender for men observes David Benner “feels like failure and defeat” whereas for women surrender is associated “with abuse and the use of power to subjugate.” Yet sincere, willing surrender can produce a freedom and flexibility in life that comes with letting go of the controls. Control, which is the opposite of surrender in our personal lives, restricts, limits and eventually causes spiritual death in our souls. The more control the more rigid and arid life can become. Part of the joy of surrender is a sense that our life is enlarged, with an openness that anticipate, rather then fears.
Listen again to the word of Jesus in this regard. This is from the Message. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat – I am. Don’t run from suffering: embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you” (Luke 9:23-24). The danger of being in the driver’s seat is that we lose our real self, that is, we slowly experience a spiritual death. But in surrender to Jesus we will find our true self.
Our journey as followers of Jesus will always be filled with vulnerability and risk. Rather then living fully alive, fully awake, and fully aware, that is, being open in both our soul and spirit to whatever comes into our lives, we so easily choose control. The more control we exercise the more we will become enslaved, stuck in our narrow, small egos, frightened to live life. Preoccupations, which are the result of our trying to control life, will keep us asleep and unaware, not fully alive to the moment. “The goal” states Benner, “is to anesthetize us to the terrors of real living in the face of the unavoidable mystery of being human. It is this terror that we most want to control and from which we most want to escape. The demon in the dark of our inner basement is nothing more or less than our fear of being fully alive.”
This fear of being fully alive can be deceiving. But if we are willing to listen to our hearts, it will become apparent that there is a fear in the prospects of letting go. If we are honest in our listening to our heart we also fear the actual “longing to surrender.” We are made for intimate fellowship with God. Deep down we long to be able to put our trust in someone or something greater then ourselves. God sees us as his children. “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never engter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3-4). So I encourage you as a man to allow yourself to embrace your deepest, God-given desires, which are the desire to surrender to God. Picture your true-self-in-God as a child who has a loving and trusting relationship with his father.