Words of My Life 4: Surrender

In ongoing celebration of my Jubilee year of 50 years in ministry and 70 years of life, I am sharing some of the words of my life.


Some words I could be writing about are power, control, rebellion.

These are the words of my natural tendency.  They are the words of idolatry.

Idol as defined by God:  anything that is higher in our affections than God; whatever we think we must have to be happy; something that occupies the throne of our lives.

Idols of my heart:  my own way, control of my life.

When I say: Lord, this I must have.God says:  Surrender

When God called me to serve Him, my fiancé said no.  I said, “Lord, tell him.”  God said, “Judy, if you marry him you won’t be able to do what I want you to do.”  Which do I choose: my way or God’s way.

I surrendered.  And I loved what God had for me to do.When a man less qualified than I was given the job I thought would be mine, I said, “No, Lord.  This is not right.”  God said, “This is of me.  It will be good.”

I surrendered.  And God used that man to teach me so much and prepare me for what else He had for me to do.

When the man I loved was in no hurry for marriage, I said, “Lord, either let us get married (my plan and a good one) or let this be over.”  God said, “No, stay.  You have much to learn about My way.”

I surrendered.  And that man was definitely worth waiting for.

When my first baby cried for months, I said, “Lord, I am no good as a mother.  And I will never be in control of my life again.”  God said, “You are just right for his child, and she is just right for you.  For she will help you learn that your control of your life is not as good as Mine.”

I surrendered.  And each day I learned more about choosing God’s way.

I wish I could say that I stay surrendered.  That I keep my white flag waving always.  But my desire for my own way is deeply ingrained, so my Father continues—firmly, creatively, gently, lovingly—to pry my fingers loose from my grip on my life, calling me to let go, to trust Him, to surrender.

And when I once again say, “I must have this,” He says once more, “ Really, Judy.  I have a better plan.”

And once again, I hopefully say, “I surrender.”

Sometimes reluctantly or begrudgingly.  Sometimes with great sorrow or confusion.  Occasionally with anger and rebellious words.  Too often letting go of the same thing I must have over and over.But then it comes:  I surrender.

Once again I take this thing “I must have” off the throne of my heart and put it on the altar as an offering to my God.  “Please, take Your rightful place.”

We’ve done this before.  My recidivism rate is pretty high.  Why do I want my own way so much?

God said, “Let’s make  a memorial, a remembrance, of this surrender which continues to be so hard for you. Take a piece of white paper—a white flag—and write on it the idol you are surrendering.

“Then offer it up to me—a sacrifice of your heart.  Set it on fire, burn it—a sweet incense offering.  Then collect the ashes and place them in your alabaster urn.

“Keep it where you can see it.  When you find yourself once more placing this or something or someone higher in your affections than your love for me, let it remind you of your white flag.”


What about you?  What idol do you need to surrender?

C2014 Judy Douglass

This post is now part of a book, Shaped by God: Words for Life, which is available at CruStore.org.

Some worship songs that help me keep open hands:

I Surrender  with Hillsong

White Flag  with Chris Tomlin