When you hear the word “surrender” what is your initial emotion?
For some, the word surrender produces a negative feeling, for others it produces fear, but at a minimum — apprehension. In war, surrender means raising the white flag and succumbing to the enemy. In an argument, surrendering means yielding to someone else’s viewpoint or opinion.
So, when we hear someone talk about surrender in the spiritual sense, we often brace ourselves to be asked to give up something of value or to be faced with the need to acquiesce to some self-abasing requirement.
God loves us
While it is normal to have resistant feelings about surrendering to others, having that reaction in our spiritual life can keep us from experiencing God’s power and the joy that comes with it. The most foundational truth that supports all spiritual concepts (including surrender) is that God, our Abba Father, loves us with love unimaginable.
In Ephesians, Paul’s beseeching prayer for the Church was that they would be allowed to understand the length, breadth, height and depth of the Father’s love. He knew that knowing that incredible love would literally FILL them. Peace, hope, joy, strength — all of those spiritual blessings would saturate them and give them all they needed for life and godliness.
This must be our starting point. Having a compelling glimpse of our Father’s love will dramatically shift our take on His desire for our surrender. Who better to surrender to than the One who created us and loves us so?
His plan is best
With this fundamental truth in view, what does it mean to “surrender our health journey” to the Lord? What does this look like in the most practical sense? And how is this a positive concept?
First, let’s return to the truth that God is our Creator. Not only did He knit us (and all of His creatures) together, but He also created a natural design of how all things would function, thrive, and glorify Him best. He designed an entire universe that reflects order and beauty. One look at the starry host on a cloudless night, the sun as it gloriously rises and sets, or the driving rain as it replenishes the earth, and we are reminded of the magnificent order of things. He does all things well — indeed, perfectly.
What does this mean related to our health? It means that following His plan for what our body, mind, and spirit need to function at their highest capacity will be the best decision. It will bring Him optimal glory and will give us the greatest opportunity to live a flourishing life.
What does this look like, practically speaking? Let’s bring another word into the discussion that will help us understand this. Alignment. What happens when the tires on a car are misaligned? There is profound tension. When driving, a constant “pulling” is felt on the steering wheel. There is also the real potential that the brakes may not work correctly. Ultimately, a driver’s safety may be at risk!
Similarly, when an airplane is landing, there are a number of key instruments the pilot must use to align the plane to ensure his or her passengers experience a smooth and safe landing. Misalignment might spell disaster. Aligning with the right measures and methods is crucial to things working best.
So, in the practical sense, surrendering our health journeys to the Lord really means aligning with the perfect design our Creator intended. And doesn’t this make the best sense? I’d say so!
What is His plan? He made a body that would be sustained and grown by the rich nutrients He created in nature. He ordered that land, plants, and animals were for man to be in charge of and gave man “… every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it … for food” (Genesis 1:29).
He also created day and night so that man would have a time to work and a time to sleep. He created a body that was able to walk and run and get strong and grow. He created a mind that could think and pray and find peace in communion with Him. God created a world and human beings to inhabit it who would function best by following His plan.
When we surrender our health to Him, it means we align ourselves with His design and make decisions on how to live our lives accordingly.
Why is this a positive thing? Because our Creator God wants to bless our surrendering to His plan with reward. He loves us and wants us to experience the benefits good health can bring! A healthy body, clear mind, and meek spirit bring joy to our hearts and often will add length to our days. God intended for what He created to “work” well. So, when we strive to follow His plan for our health, we are working to please Him greatly and reflect the glory of His creation.
God’s way is perfect. God’s love is perfect. So, choosing His way really means we are pursuing the best and most rewarding life, and a life that gives great glory and pleasure to our amazing Creator. Although our efforts may not be perfect one hundred percent of the time, we are still striving to honor and glorify the One who created us so beautifully and uniquely.
Pray that the Lord will lead and guide you as you start or continue on in your health journey and look to identify one area of your health where you can make changes to better align yourself with Him.
Lisa Eliason is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and RRCA/USATF Certified Running Coach. Her educational background includes a BA in Christian Ministry and MA in Coaching and Athletic Administration. She has been in the Health and Wellness field for 15 years, starting first as a youth and collegiate running coach and then working for eight years as Wellness Coordinator at the YMCA in her hometown in Wisconsin. Her favorite side interest is continuing to run competitively in road races far and near (which has included a few trips to the Boston Marathon), but she also enjoys hiking, biking, playing the piano and writing Bible study materials that focus on what the Lord continues to teach her daily. She considers her greatest earthly gifts, however, to be her 4 adult children (and the 2 “bonus” in-laws!), and seeing their desire to use their lives and talents for HIS glory.
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