Two Seemingly Bad Words that Really Are Quite Good and Why You Should Use Them

Submission and surrender: the hardest actions for people to perform.

They are two words nobody wants to mention, much less do. Who wants to submit and surrender anything? That’s losing, isn’t it? In some circles I suppose it is.

But in surrendering and submitting to the Lord, we win in a big way.

In surrendering and submitting to the Lord, we win in a big way. Click To Tweet

submit and surrender

Submit and Surrender

Humbling ourselves to God’s will is a process that takes time. We grow into it. Trusting God to a greater degree as we experience His faithfulness in different areas of our lives.

Like the idea or not, learning the finer details of submitting and surrendering begins early. From the first time we respond positively to “no” and “yes” as toddlers, we are submitting and surrendering our will. We continue to do so as we grow.

By submitting to the wisdom and instructions of those in authority we keep from burning our fingers on a hot stove, getting hit by a car as we cross the street, and any number of other calamities.

Yet, as we age, those two words become much maligned. We place them in the context of being oppressive or suppressing.

In the correct context, though, to submit and surrender is freeing, not confining, life giving, not life suppressing. Let’s hear this truth from the Apostle Paul:

“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up. 1 Corinthians 10:23

Some things need to be surrendered!

Exchanging our will for that of a loving authority is beneficial not harmful. And we find no more of a loving authority figure than the Lord Himself.

In the correct context, to submit and surrender is freeing, not confining, life giving, not life suppressing. Click To Tweet

Hold Everything Loosely

Sometimes submitting does mean letting go of a deep desire. And it is hard! God recently called me to step back a bit from something I feel passionate about.

Yet God has proved faithful for all mankind. We can certainly trust Him now as well. If He requires us to submit to Him by surrendering a desire, we can be assured He has good reason for “asking.” Just look at these biblical examples:

Against Gideon’s best military judgement, he let all but 300 of his men go while preparing to fight the Midianite army: a sure recipe for defeat. Only it wasn’t. In submission to God’s leading and deference to His sovereignty, Gideon surrendered his own insight and wisdom and all that made sense to try the impossible. And he won. (Judges 7)

Joshua followed what seemed to be God’s foolish instructions for conquering the city of Jericho. Yet after following God’s formula and marching and blowing their horns, the walls of Jericho fell. (Joshua 6)

Hannah went against all her motherly instincts to surrender her long-awaited son Samuel to God’s service in the care of Eli. Thanks to her sacrifice, Samuel became a great prophet of God, and God blessed Hannah with many more children. (1 Samuel 1)

Abraham willingly surrendered his beloved son Isaac to be sacrificed to the Lord at His command. (Genesis 22)

We all have things we hold near and dear. Yet none are worth withholding from the Lord.

Hold everything loosely—including religious practices, people, money, health, possessions, ideas, hobbies, ministry, plans—being willing to submit and surrender them all to God. It may sting for awhile, but in the end, peace and joy will abound in your heart and soul.

You’ll discover that those bad words, they’re not so bad after all. In fact, they’re actually quite good.

We all have things we hold near and dear. Yet none are worth withholding from the Lord. Click To Tweet

Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people! Be miserable and mourn and weep. Your laughter must change to mourning and your joy to sorrow.10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:7-10

Reflections: Is there something God is asking you to submit and surrender to Him? What is keeping you from doing so? 

Don’t miss your chance to enter my 4-year blogging anniversary giveaway. I’m giving away one book each week. Enter to win this week’s book, It’s Good to Be Queen: Becoming As Bold, Gracious, and Wise As the Queen of Sheba by the one and only Liz Curtis Higgs! Click here to enter. 

Closing in on 4 years of counting and I’ve surpassed 4,000 gifts in Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare! What a blessing! Here are numbers #4,101–4,121. Read my entire list by clicking here.

  • Morning running errands with Rach; Rachel loving on a sweet older lady in the store who noticed how special she is; Evening praire blooms
  • New online devotion to check out; Danny’s home for nearly 3 weeks!; Productive women’s meeting planning for our fall rally
  • Refreshing breeze blowing through my van windows as I worked and waited to pick up my youngest; My oldest son’s friends coming to our house for an impromptu Bible Study; Viewing pictures with Rachel to end the day
  • Hummingbird hovering near; Kayaking with my girl and most of my guys – complete w/ waterfights; Purple finches paying me a surprise visit
  • Audiobooks; Relaxing solo-kayak exploration up the lake; Flashback to younger years with kids settled in to listen to Focus on the Family‘s Adventures in Odyssey episode
  • Love the way mixing not-so-yummy ingredients makes yummy dishes!; Lousy game of euchre played by me, but fun because it was with my boys; Rach getting more comfortable with her new trike
  • Reunion celebrating family; Cousins enjoying being together; The satisfied tired one feels at the end of a full day of living

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

2 comments on “Two Seemingly Bad Words that Really Are Quite Good and Why You Should Use Them
  1. Marianne says:

    It is very hard to submit a dream of mine to Him and let it go! I want results ….it is hard to seek His will not mine. Thanks Julie for your words, they make me pause and think

    • Julie Sunne says:

      Dear Marianne, I completely understand your struggles. I have the same ones. However, the more I open myself up to God’s in-pouring, the looser I find myself holding my dreams in deference to His will. Praying for you dear sister.

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