Let me just make this post simple and to the point: Surrender to God while it is your choice.
Sounds simple enough doesn’t it?
I know I can’t just leave you with that alone but I if you leave with anything I hope that you leave remembering this one sentence: Surrender to God while it is your choice.
If you are anything like me, I wrestle with God on just about everything He tells me to do. If he tells me to pray for someone out loud I tell Him not yet. If He says to be generous I tell Him I don’t need to be too generous. If He speaks to me about my facebook post I am writing I tell Him that my little world on social media needs to be set straight. What can I say? Surrendering isn’t fun. The very definition of “surrender” is fun sucking.
Surrender means to willing give up your fight. It means to be in submission to whoever you are opposing. To surrender is to stop pushing for your way and allowing someone else to have their way. Surrender usually comes after realizing you can’t win.
See. Fun sucking.
There is a part of me that wants to celebrate my adverse personality. Abraham negotiated with God. Jacob wrestled with God. Moses argued with God. I want to brag that I am in good company. But I know the wisdom speaks clearly when I want to celebrate myself that the company I am keeping with these giants in the faith is not in their Godly submission but rather their human condition.
Each one of them had big consequences for not surrendering to God. Abraham had brought a fight against God’s very promises that were established for Abraham. Jacob, after an actual wrestling match, had gained a physical handicap for not surrendering while his strength was intact. Moses missed the promise land because he didn’t want to submit.
Though I don’t have stories such as these men of God, I do have a story that can play as a physical representation of why I want you and I to surrender to God before He makes us surrender.
I was the newest recruit so no doubt about it I was the underdog…at least I am sure that is what the other recruits thought. Weighing in at a full 150 pounds when wet and fully equipped with hours of watching UFC on PAYPER VIEW I was very confident that this training would a piece of cake. Surely my elite observation of the television screen had prepared me more than enough to excel in this first class and wow the teacher enough to be promoted to a black belt in a matter of days. Did I mention I was confident?
After learning a few moves from the teacher we began a rotation of sparring matches to get a “hands-on” experience of the class. We would pair up, spar for ten minutes and then find another partner and do the same until everyone had sparred with each other. I of course sparred with Adili first. He made me look like a Raggedy Anne doll. But, it was Adili, and I already knew that he was more talented than me. Not only was he training at this facility, but he too had used the power of osmosis while sitting on a leather couch for hours watching UFC with me. So that was understandable.
The second person I sparred with was a woman who couldn’t of weighed more than 120lbs. She basically challenged everything I knew about testosterone for ten minutes and left me with aches in my neck and arms. I felt emasculated. Of course she didn’t know that. I would leave that match with an air of pride as I was a (forced) gentleman. No real man would beat a woman. Sure, it may of looked like I was trying my hardest, but a little smile and unmoved confidence was more than enough to make anyone watching know that I obviously lost by choice and good manners.
By my third sparring partner I was ready to prove that those two first matches were just happenstance. As pride always leads me to think, I couldn’t accept the fact that I was not as good as I thought I was. So walking over to my third sparring partner, I sized him up, shook his hand and attacked aggressively.
I gave this guy everything I had. I used every ounce of strength in me to push him around and toss him. Admittedly he was a great fighter, but I had more strength and I was using it to my advantage. For the first 5 minutes of the match we were equals. He would put me in a hold and I would escape and vise-versa.
Then it happened! I somehow was on his back and my arm had wrapped around his neck like a really skinny anaconda. I couldn’t believe it. This was my chance to prove that I am not the worst MMA trainee in the room and I wasn’t going to let this chance go to waste. I was going to use every bit of my strength to make this guy tap!
I forget that not everyone is as informed intellectually as I am when it comes to the arts of self-defense. Though my years of paying outrageous amounts of money to watch two men beat the life out of each other I learned a certain signal in MMA that you too need to understand. Jiujitsu, and other martial arts, is about making the other person submit. To submit in martial arts is to stop fighting. It means you quit your resistance. It is a full surrender to your opponent. But, because most people don’t carry white flags in their pocket, in mixed martial arts the signal for submission is to use your free hand and quickly tap something noticeable. If possible you want to tap the person who is putting you into submission to show them that you are surrendering. To “tap” is to signal that you submit to the opposition and you surrender. Okay, now that is clear, let’s carry on with the story.
While I am pulling my arm tighter against this man’s neck, flexing every muscle I had, trying to close his air ways, I remember thinking, “this is it!I am going to get him to submit!”. But then it happened. Something I have never experienced. Every bit of my strength left my body. I went completely limp. My starving anaconda arm slid off his neck and my body slinked onto the floor. I rolled my Gumby body over to my back and breathed like I was giving the room CPR. My sparring partner didn’t even take this opportunity to submit me. He just looked at me curiously as my hand became a spitting image of a fish out of water – wildly tapping the floor soaking wet with sweat. I had given up. I was fully submitted I had nothing left in me to fight my opponent. I was beaten. I surrendered.
If you’re curious of what happened, the coach put it in the best words, “you choked yourself out” or in laymen’s terms, I had used all my strength to beat my opponent, and without a victory I was out of strength. My body gave up. My fight was gone. I didn’t have the strength to even get off the floor. I was laid down before the one I was resisting, surrendered in defeat.
This was and is the only time that I have ever surrendered physically because I was so badly beaten. And it was the most beautiful picture of surrendering spiritually I had ever seen.
I may of never been submitted like this physically, but many times Christ has submitted me in my stubbornness. There has been more times than I can count that I wrestled with God on a matter only to find that I used all my strength to fight the Lord that my submission became not out of obedience but out of a lack of strength.