When was the last time you surrendered to whatever God was trying to do in your life?
We think of surrendering as just “giving up” or “giving in” and while that is part of what it means to surrender, that’s not all it means.
You see, sometimes God calls us to a season of life that isn’t one we would necessarily choose for ourselves, so we resist it, protest it, fight it, avoid it - we do anything and everything we can to get out of it or to at least let God know how displeased we are with where He has us.
We don’t see why God has us in this season, or why He’s allowing all of the things He’s allowing to go on in our season. We try to get out of these uncomfortable or painful seasons because we simply don’t want to be in them, and we can’t understand why God has us there in the first place.
If that’s you, let me go ahead and reassure you:
There is a reason for your season.
Recently, I had been praying about the season I’m in (a waiting season… my least favorite kind), and I was crying out to God like, “What do You want me to do? I’m obeying You… I’m waiting… I’m not wasting my waiting season because I’m being productive and getting stuff done while I wait… What am I missing???”
His answer came immediately, “Rest in Me.”
Me: “Ok…….. but what do You mean by that? What’s the first step I need to take?”
Him: “Surrender to this season.”
Me: “Got it……. but can You break it down a little more for me?”
I spent an hour or so journaling and praying and writing down everything He revealed to me about what He wanted me to do to surrender to my season.
He started off by showing me where I’d been getting off track (things I already knew but somehow, wasn’t doing!). Things like:
I’d been spending more time praying for this season to end than I had been asking Him how I can better glorify Him where I’m at. (Read that one again because I bet you can relate!)
I’d been keeping busy and being productive while I waited, and those things are fine, but I hadn’t taken adequate time to allow the lessons He was giving me to really sink in or to even put them fully into practice.
So if you’re in a similar season, then I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you so that you can begin to let go and surrender to what God’s trying to do in your own life.
There are four steps to surrender to your season:
1. Identify the reason for your season.
God calls us to different seasons for different purposes. Sometimes the reason is to teach us, challenge us, correct us, heal us, grow us, strengthen us, etc. He carefully crafts each season to fulfill a specific purpose for our lives as a whole.
This is a season of waiting for me. While I’m waiting, I don’t have to sit around twiddling my thumbs. I can still do things and serve Him, but God has made it clear that the main reason for this season is preparation. He’s preparing me for the next thing He has for me. Therefore, if I don’t slow down long enough for God to teach me, to soak in the lessons, and to then actually apply them - then no matter how hard I work or how much “stuff” I get accomplished while I’m waiting - I’m not really fulfilling the primary reason for the season, and that is preparation.
What’s the reason for your season, my friend? (Not sure? Ask Him!)
If you don’t learn to identify the reason for your season, you’ll start to feel stuck, and then you won’t be growing in the area God’s trying to grow you.
Take-away: Identifying the reason for our season is the first step toward surrendering because it means we’ve stopped fighting it and we’re ready to find out why God has us here and what He wants us to do or learn while here.
2. Use your time wisely during your season.
After you’ve identified the reason for your season, if you’re anything like me, you’ll get busy trying to do anything you can in that area so that you can learn whatever God wants you to learn and speed through to your next season.
However, the problem with this is that it’s so easy to get distracted and off track because we can easily lose sight of the main thing God’s trying to work out or accomplish in us. So if you can relate, then I encourage you to keep the main thing the main thing. Doing that will keep you moving through your season with grace, peace, and even joy because you’re allowing God to tell you what to do, when to do it, and when it’s ok to speed up and when it’s time to slow down.
If we don’t stay focused on the main thing, we won’t be using our time wisely and we’ll waste and even prolong our season, which is something I’m pretty sure none of us wants to do.
What’s your main thing?
For me, my main thing while I’m in a preparation season is learning that it’s ok to rest and that I don’t have to stay busy all the time to make myself feel productive.
Take-away: What about you? What needs to be the primary focus of your time and attention in your current season? When you’ve identified the reason God’s got you where you’re at and you hone in on what exactly you need to be spending your time and energy learning or doing, then you’re well on your way to letting go of your own ideas about your season and surrendering to whatever God has in store for you.
Bonus Tip: Have a hard time staying focused? To keep the lessons He’s teaching me in this season my primary focus I:
write down whatever He shows me that I need to do or change
start doing it
3. Learn the importance of resting during your season.
Taking time to rest can be a foreign idea to us if we’re in the middle of a busy season of life. Yet that busyness is the exact reason we need to slow down and allow God to renew us.
But resting in a slower season is equally foreign, and it can even be an uncomfortable thought for many of us. Why? Because when we’re in a slow season, and we slow down even more, things become still. Things get silent.
If we’re still struggling with resisting our seasons, this stillness and silence can actually agitate us more than soothe us because we want to do something, say something, hear something, be something - but our internal struggles are met with the silence and stillness. We often feel restless and bored during slower seasons, so we preoccupy ourselves with other things, instead of taking the time to rest physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Bonus Tip: Surrendering to the season means allowing the silence, not trying to fill it.
- It means I do more listening than talking.
- It means allowing God to work, even when I can’t see it, by not rushing ahead of Him or disobeying Him as I wait.
- It means allowing others to be wrong about me. (Well-meaning friends - or let’s be real, nosy church people - love to give advice about what they think I should be doing at this point in my life, but the only voice I need to listen to as I wait is my Father’s.)
Take-away: Resting is a crucial part of surrendering because this is when God can begin to fill me with His peace as I sit and listen and allow Him to work behind the scenes.
4. Don’t compare your season to other seasons.
I’ve learned not to shame myself for being in a slower season of life, and you shouldn’t shame yourself for your season either. There is no shame in waiting on God! We shouldn’t feel embarrassed to admit that we aren’t sure exactly where we’re headed or what we’re going to do, but that we know God is working it out and He’s revealing His plan to us step by step.
This is difficult to do, because it’s easy to look around at where other people are at in their lives and think, “That’s where I want to be!” Sometimes we even compare our current season with a previous season we were in and wish we could go back.
I often want God to work in my season the way He did in a previous season, but He may not. It’s a new season.
I often want God to work the way He worked in my friend’s season, but He probably won’t because this is my season, not hers, and He has unique lessons, trainings, tools, challenges, tests, and blessings that have been designed by Him just for me and no one else. He created my heart so He knows what I need to make it more like Christ’s. (Just like He knows what my friend needs to make her more like Him. And what she needs and what I need may be completely different!)
Take-away: Owning your season while still being able to celebrate your friends’ seasons with them is a challenging yet crucial step toward surrendering to your season because we must learn to view each season of life, no matter how dull or difficult, as equally important to our faith walk and spiritual growth.
Here are some reflection questions for you as you’re learning to surrender to your season:
How am I feeling right now? (Anxious? Frustrated? Etc.)
How do I want to feel?
What do I need to do to close the gap between how I feel and how I want to feel? (Hint: God will show you some specific steps to take as you pray, but they’ll be along the lines of surrendering and obedience.)
What’s my “main thing” that I know I need to be focusing on in this season?
What step can I take today to focus on the main thing God’s calling me to?
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