Friday, May 18, 2012

Partial or Full Surrender?

I remember when I first began baking.  To go to the store and buy a roll of refrigerated biscuits and to pull those same biscuits piping hot out of my oven at home meant "making it from scratch."  Now, there's nothing wrong with baking bread that way, but my definition was wrong.  That was not "making it from scratch."  It might have looked and smelled similar, but it was not the real thing. 

Several years ago, I fell into a new definition of "making it from scratch" when I began to buy the flour from the store and make bread with just a handful of ingredients...flour, salt, butter, sugar dry milk, yeast, water.  The smell of homemade bread would permeate the house, and it just screamed: "Made from scratch!!"

Then came the day when I visited a sweet woman's home, and she set on the table the very best bread I had ever eaten.  I raved about it, and she educated me on a wheat grinder.  I was in awe that this woman could grind her own wheat.  A few years later, my husband bought me a wheat grinder, and I began a new walk in "making it from scratch."

I look back now, and I see my first attempts at "homemade bread," and I smile at how my definition has evolved over the years.  And, really, once you've had the real stuff, it's hard to go back to the store-bought version.  There's just something REAL about homemade bread...a taste and smell like no other. 

Surrender is like my bread experience.

There's a big difference between full surrender and partial surrender.  If you've never experienced full surrender, then you will think your partial surrender is the real thing.  It looks like it, smells a bit like it...and you may even be able to fool yourself...but it's far from the real thing.  

I know because I've experienced both.

Partial surrender means that I'm still in control of some of the variables.  I will gladly do A, B and C, but I will absolutely NOT consider X, Y or Z.  I have entered a baby roller coaster, with one hand firmly on the bar, pretending with my upraised hand to be leaving it in God's hands...and yet knowing full well that I've controlled the variables: (1) The size of the roller coaster I chose to get on, and (2) The one hand that won't leave the safety bar.

Full surrender means that I've given up the control of all variables.  I will gladly do A thru Z, with no exceptions.  I have entered the mega roller coaster...the world's biggest, most intimidating ride.  I have climbed in, raised both hands from the safety bar and have determined that no matter how scary the ride gets, I will not grab the safety bar.  I will pray through it and grit my teeth if I have to, but I will not opt for a safer experience.

And the funny thing is that once you've ridden the mega roller coaster, you can choose to go back onto the baby roller coaster and pretend like it's the real thing.  But deep inside, you will never ever be satisfied.  The little dips and turns are a sad replica.  

Once we've experienced a faith walk that raises the hair on the backs of our necks, we may want to run for the apparent safety of level ground.  But, the upside-down-and-backwards reality is this: The only way to be truly alive is to give everything to hand Him the reins...and to climb aboard the ride, determine to keep your hands off the safety bar, and just let Him take you where HE chooses.  It's hair-raising at times, and it puts you into the most amazing free falls you've ever experienced, but it's "made from scratch" bread...the real thing...the good stuff.

And, sadly, most people never experience it.  And those of us who have experienced it, sometimes choose to not climb onto that wild ride again.  We choose to rot in the safety of boring flat grounds...never letting our hands off the safety bar, never giving up the variables.  

There's a line from a popular children's movie, and one spy car says, "You never feel more alive than when you're almost dead."  There's truth in that.  In God's ways that are higher than our own ways, things work backwards from the way we think they should work.  To live for Him is to DIE to self.  You will never feel more alive than when your flesh is crucified and you are living 100% for His Kingdom...when you are giving up your comfort to go into the trenches to work with the poor, the outcast, the orphan, the widow...when you take your hands off of every variable and off the safety bar...and just free fall into His plan and purpose for your life.   

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