The theme of surrender abounds in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. We see surrender in a negative sense, as Adam and Eve surrender their authority to the serpent. Surrender can birth a nation, when Abraham surrenders his son, Isaac. The ultimate surrender came when Jesus laid down his life as the Son of God for our lives. Surrender.
When I looked up the term surrender in the thesaurus, the verb meant submitted, yielding, and laying down your arms. The Encarta dictionary had several definitions:
• Declare yourself defeated.
• Give up possession of something.
• Give something out of courtesy.
• Give self up to something.
• Abandon rights to something.
In His Word, God constantly asks individuals or nations to give up something, to release tightly clutched attitudes, possessions, or mindsets so that we can receive from Him freedom, joy, love, and peace. The list goes on. The transference of trust from mine to His is monumental and requires surrender.
The correlation between an individual surrendering to God and a writer surrendering to writing cannot be understated. Even a writer who doesn’t believe in God adheres to the definitions above. He or she constantly gives up time, money, and privacy to pursue the dream of becoming a published author. Every time someone changes a story line due to a critique, they are declaring defeat, that they are not perfect and don’t know it all. The abandonment required to freely write from the heart, knowing some will be critical, takes a great sense of yielding.
As a Christian, surrender goes to a different level. Besides giving up and yielding to people, now you factor God into the equation. Questions revolve in your mind. What does God want me to write? How do I approach publication? How is my writing to minister to those around me?
God, what do you want me to do?
“Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. ‘Abraham!’ God called. ‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘Here I am.’ ‘Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.’” Genesis 22:1-2
Every time I read this, I shake my head. Abraham, how did you do it? How did you, as Scripture records, get up early the next morning and start on your way? Abraham demonstrates the ultimate sacrifice, a trust in God that speaks to us today. Each time I change a story or lay down an opportunity at the prompting of that still, small voice, I walk the path of Mt. Moriah.
“Isaac turned to Abraham and said, ‘Father?’ ‘Yes, my son?’ Abraham replied. ‘We have the fire and the wood,’ the boy said, ‘but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?’ ‘God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,’ Abraham answered. And they both walked on together.” Genesis 22: 7-8
Every time a person asks if I sold my novel or have made lots of money writing, I answer truthfully, yet trusting that God will provide.
“And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’ ‘Yes,’ Abraham replied. ‘Here I am!’ ‘Don’t lay a hand on the boy!’ the angel said. ‘Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.’” Genesis 22: 10-12
Every time I give up self to promote another writer, lay down a story to start another, or read another rejection letter and choose to trust Him, God is with me and is faithful.
“Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” Then the angel of the Lord called again to Abraham from heaven. ‘This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants[a] beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.’” Genesis 22:13-18
For Abraham, the God of provision supplied a ram in the thicket. For the writer, it could be something as simple as an encouraging email from a fellow blogger or as massive as the next best-selling novel. Or somewhere in between.
I love Chris Tomlin’s new song, “Lay Me Down.” The bridge sums up the life of a writer, particularly if you are a Christian.
It will be my joy to say, Your will, Your way,
It will be my joy to say, Your will, Your way,
The word surrender as a noun has another interesting definition: giving up control. It is the act of relinquishing control or possession to somebody or something.
Selah. Pause and think on that a moment.
Yield your writing today to God. It’s one decision you’ll never regret.
Father God, I give my writing, my stories, my talent, and my all to You today. Take it and make it Your will, Your way. Always. Amen.
Writing prompt: Turn your own surrender into a scene in one of your stories. An example could be as simple as surrendering your need for comfort food after an exhausting day at work.