Whew! We just had a two-day conference with David G. Benner, who is Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Spirituality at Psychological Studies Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. I have read three of his books, of which he has many! One I read for my spiritual direction class called Spiritual Direction and the care of the Soul, which is a really good read. The other two were recommended by my counselor, and they were The Gift of Being Yourself and Surrender to Love, which I loved! The surrender book talks about floating as surrender and uses the experience of teaching someone to float. Now if you'll think about it, can you float while you’re working hard at it? No; that causes you to sink like a rock. It's when you lie back and put all your weight onto the water and stop trying harder to float that you do float. It involves letting go, which is something that God has been working within me for a few years now that I really look at it. Benner says, "Surrender is being willing rather than willful. It is a readiness to trust that is based in love. It is floating in the river that is God's love." That is so cool! It's like we really don't need to be trying so dang hard to make our lives happen. We need to be willing to let go!
I was on a retreat last year and would like to share with you what God showed me right before I quit my job at the seminary, which I was scared to leave because I thought we would starve to death, lose the house and Alex wouldn't be able to finish his degree work! Oh me of little faith! Jesus and I were standing at two doors. I had the door open to one of them and the other was closed. Jesus just stood there and asked me what I was going to do. I wanted to go with him, but I couldn't seem to let go of the doorknob. He said it was OK, that we could just wait there. Well, I really wanted to see what was behind door number two, so I stuck my foot in the door and opened door number two, and it was this huge body of water. I slowly pulled my foot out of door number one and ventured out into the water with Jesus. He wanted me to trust him enough to let go and to float on his arm. So I stopped, took a deep breath and lay back on his arm, and I was floating! It showed me that I could pull my foot out of the working rat-race door and walk into his love and float a while with him. The peace that I found there was unbelievable, and it has been real. I have, little by little, given up trying harder to make it work, and I've relaxed and let God have his way with my life. Now don't get me wrong; I don't always get this right, and I do still grab my life back from God because he isn't doing it the way I think it should be done. But I come around a lot faster than I use to, and I hear His voice in my ear sometimes and He laughs with me about it.
We float only when we stop trying to do so. And we never discover that we do not need to do anything to stay afloat until we let go. That is surrender.