“True surrender, however, is something entirely different. It does not mean to passively put up with whatever situation you find yourself in and to do nothing about it. Nor does it mean to cease making plans or initiating positive action. Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life.”
– Eckhart Tolle
As I entered Lent this year, I asked myself what I needed to let go. Tolle’s quote on surrender led me to consider my beliefs around waiting versus acting. I have wanted and felt the need to take action to own my gold and step into my mission, yet the more I have done so the more I also felt burdened by the drive to take consistent action. Ultimately, I found that I need to let go of the belief that I can control the flow of life through my action or even my inaction.
I wrote the following parable as way to help process this paradox of surrender and action.
- A pastor feels a calling to start a new church. He gathers a small group, starts services and waits for a sense of what to do next. After a year, he continues to hold service but the church has barely grown in numbers or in mission. Eventually, the pastor cries out to God, “why did you call me and then give me no more direction.” Now, I have to shut down the church for lack of money and interest.
- Another pastor feels a calling to start a new church. He gathers a small group to get started. Determined to follow his calling, he pushes through everything that could slow down progress. At the end of a year, the church attendance is flourishing. The pastor, feeling worn, goes to prayer, “God, you called me to start this church. I haven’t let anything stop me from that mission but I’m tired.” He then puts his head down and pushes forward. Another year passes and he cries out, “God, I’ve followed your call for this church for two years. I’ve grown it from nearly nothing but now I’m too tired to go on.” In his exhaustion, the pastor decides to hand over the church and step down.
- A third man feels a need to begin a gathering of friends to discuss and share beliefs. After a few months, the group expands a bit and the man responds to the requests of the group by starting new experiences that they can share as a community. Eventually, someone volunteers to start a community service project and the man lends his support to get it off the ground. One day, the man stops and prays, “God, I keep listening and acting on the world around me … Couldn’t you have given me a warning that you were making me into a Pastor?”
Where do you find yourself in the story?
- Do you identify with one man more than another?
- Where does the flow of life feel like it is taking you?
By Greg Hawkins
Greg completed his initial weekend in 2014 and will complete the Two-Year Transformational program this year. He believes in the power of being vulnerable to foster authentic and courageous lives. He is a husband, dad of two girls, yogi, blogger, and is a director at an industrial supply company. His favorite activities are dance parties with his girls, getting outside with his dogs or horse and date nights with his wife.
Photo Credit: Daily Gospel Truths