Surrender is like giving up but with lipstick on. And it’s that lipstick that makes all the difference.
I’ve always been a lipstick gal. As a teenager, my mom took me and my siblings to the Florida Keys for vacation. I brought a container full of lipsticks lined up neatly with their labels facing outward, so I could read their colorful names. Who cares what you look like in a two-piece when you’re wearing Tiki Torch on your lips?
My mom was mad at me on that trip for something silly, like climbing out of my bedroom window in the middle of the night, and it was that container of lipstick that got us talking again. It gave us a neutral pallet to start a conversation that wasn’t tinted with admonishments or streaks of rebellion.
When I was a teenager, everything felt out of control, nothing like the rainbow of lipsticks arranged tidily in their box. I’d like to blame my hormones, parent’s divorce, algebra, and the clueless boys I had crushes on, but the reality turned out to be that so much of life is out of our control.
I know that is not motivating or inspiring or what anyone with their life mapped out on an Excel spreadsheet wants to hear. And it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have goals, plans, or a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I’ve just learned that there are many things I have to surrender.
Nowhere has this been more evident than with my relationship with God. For years, I questioned his reasons, randomness, timing, and tragedies. For a while, I lost myself in the void of questioning, especially as it pertained to suffering. In a maze of how and why, I was trapped trying to solve an impossible riddle of humanity’s sorrow. There wasn’t a lipstick in the world bright enough to cover the darkest parts of tragedy. And it never stopped. Everyone had a sad story. Everyone’s life took a detour. Everyone had to change their plans, readjust, and revamp.
Turns out, that’s life. Not the neat, tidy lives we plan but the one’s we make the best of when things inevitably go wayward.
Learning to surrender, to accept what is instead of wrangling with why, has made such a difference in my life. Giving up sounds lame, defeatist, and demoralizing, because giving up means quitting. As tempting as this may be sometimes, I don’t think it’s what God wants from us. He wants surrender. And while I would like to sound like an obedient and faithful Christian and say that I chose that on my own simply because he asked, the reality is there wasn’t a better choice. I could either stay in that maze running into the same questions over and over, give up and stay in bed with my cats, (which was a little a bit tempting,) or surrender entirely to a God who I know is good and the source of all that is love. It doesn’t matter that I don’t understand his ways, timings, and life’s terrible tragedies. His ways are higher than mine and by far holier. To me, there was only one choice.
By his grace, I learned to surrender. I learned that when I surrender I am not defeated but free. Like a good lipstick, it makes me feel better. I can let disappointments define me and wear myself out with worry, or I can give my problems to God and let him guide me. Giving up makes me feel like a victim and surrendering allows me to be victorious through him. It has become a coping mechanism, a balm for my busy mind, an answer to unsolvable problems and impossible situations.
Still, it isn’t always easy. Sometimes I go to him with the same struggle over and over not because he won’t take it but because I haven’t really let it go. Unlike giving up, surrendering takes strength. It doesn’t take us down. It lifts us. Through prayer, God gives me the courage to trust, to rest, and to know peace. My problems don’t dissipate but my anxieties do.
Like my teenage years when so much felt out of control, unplanned, and just plain hard, I persevere despite the mishaps. The only thing I gave up was questioning.
Surrendering means that even when life feels dark, a kaleidoscope of color awaits in forging a new path, trusting in his will, and resting in his mercy, that like a good lipstick makes everything beautiful.
Do you have any tips to share to make surrender easier? Please share!
Miss last week’s post, read it here.