I, like many, choose a word at the beginning of the year. A word for the year. A word to focus on throughout the year and, ideally, one that God had impressed on us and that He could use through the year to capture our hearts and thoughts. My word for 2019 is surrender. I wrote about it here and even briefly again here. God has, indeed, used the word often to capture my attention.
This first half of 2019 has had many moments. So many (challenging) moments. So often, I find myself resisting and chafing – especially in the challenges – but then He quietly reminds me, “surrender.” That was my goal….to be willing to surrender. But I don’t think I anticipated all that needed to be surrendered nor just how hard it was for me to do so.
But God is patient. And faithful, forgiving and kind. He continues to mold and shape me…by teaching me the need for surrender. As much as there has been to learn this year, I don’t want to forget. And I am oh so prone to forget. So, I thought this month, mid-way through the year, would be a good time to reflect on lessons learned through surrender. This will probably take a few posts but it will be a worthwhile exercise.
It is not much of a secret that I am not an exercise enthusiast. Often there are times when I would like to be…but I’m not. For the Fourth of July, we decided to go hiking. For the record, we used to hike quite a bit. It was a fun (and free) activity for our family of five. Fast forward, to not only an empty-nest but also to middle-age bodies and, well, that hike liked to kill me!! Maybe that is a bit dramatic but I was past huffy and puffy…to about done in!
All that said, I would like my body to work for me – and not against me – as long as possible. I want to stay fit and, especially, limber. If I can’t move as fast as I once did, I want to at least keep moving. Yoga has often intrigued me. It seems like a great way to keep agile. And some of those poses even look like fun. Until you try them. This girl just does not bend like that. I am not flexible.
And while being completely unbendable on a yoga mat might be a bit humorous, I often tend to be just as inflexible on a day to day basis. I very much struggle without the rigidity of routine and without structure. Routine can be okay for cleaning schedules, organizational strategies or even how I organize my free time, but I too easily allow it to overflow into my relationships and even my worship and devotional life. Through a series of multiple events, God has been displacing my routine. Often, along with it, has come the removing of my comfort zone. In truth, I believe the safety of a comfort zone demands my dependence on routine, and this is what God wants me to surrender. My comfort zone.
Not just for a few weeks – perhaps during an overseas trip – or for a short season. But He wants me to be willing to go and to follow. Whenever He leads and whenever He leads. In order to do that, I cannot be too comfortable…too rooted…in my comfort zone. Of course, pulling away my comfort zones (which applies to many different areas) has not been easy. You can feel exposed, painfully uneasy and….well, uncomfortable. Ask me how I know??!
More than once, I have scrambled to rebuild the walls of routine that create my structured life and my comfort zone. And repeatedly I have heard His still small voice remind me to simply surrender. To let go of control. To even allow myself to rest – and rest outside of my zone. Whether or not I ever achieve the sun warrior pose or even a simple upward facing dog:) I am prayerfully trying to be more flexible. Less bound to routine. And willing to be led from my comfort zone.