Weekly Devotional

Will You Surrender?

“Will you surrender to me the way that I made you?”

Written by Haley Scully on 15/01/2024

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

James 4:7

I needed to go deeper…

It was May 2019.  I sat in church listening to a sermon that I no longer remember but, I do remember at the end of it the pastor wanted us to do one of those group activities when everyone is supposed to get up and go forward.  To be honest, if I participate at all, I’m usually a reluctant participant in those types of moments. If it’s my genuine heart, I do; if my heart isn’t really there, I won’t. The pastor wanted us to write something we needed to surrender to God on a piece of paper.  I watched as people began to write.  Some started to stand on their feet and take their paper down front where they were supposed to put them somewhere (I don’t remember right now where. Maybe in a bucket?). I certainly didn’t plan on walking down to the front, but I laid my piece of paper on top of my journal and got ready to write down what has been the most consistent surrender of my life: not being married; and the most painful surrender of my life: not having children.  It’s not that those things were even troubling me that day, as we’ve won some battles together in those areas. But, those had apparently become my pat response regarding surrender. My pen was ready to jot down what had become usual, but as it touched the paper I felt a check in my spirit that my status quo was not what I needed to give the Lord. I needed to go deeper. . .

“Will you surrender to me the way that I made you?”  Whaaaat?

Over the next few weeks, I prayed about and considered what that meant. What it meant has marked a significant change, if even sometimes a slow change, for me. I haven’t written about it, but I told God I would be faithful to say it out loud anytime I felt prompted.  He has given me several opportunities to talk one on one with others about this. But, as I am having a much needed slow weekend, guess who is feeling prompted to write it out.

He asked, “Will you surrender to me the way that I made you?” 

And, this is what I came to realize:

First of all, I have been loved and have felt accepted by people and I’m incredibly grateful for the love and acceptance in my life. But, I have struggled with insecurities at times. If you've read my blog or book, if you and I have been the kind of friends that we've ever sat on a couch, in a coffee shop, or in our pajamas as we shared about our lives, you won't be surprised by this.  I think that most people have some insecurity about something. I've struggled with insecurity about my body, my abilities, my singleness for instance. Those are a few examples, but not a complete list.  No matter how many good things we hear, sometimes it's the things we don't hear or that one hurtful thing we do hear that sticks with us. Satan fills empty spaces and reminds us of unkindness.

I know Satan is a big name to throw in there.  But, we have been told that he is at the center of distraction and temptation and separation from God. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV) He has tried to devour me at times with insecurity.  Maybe he has tried to devour you the same way?  Our battle is not with flesh and blood (whoever has built on our insecurities) (Ephesians 6:12), and it can’t be won with flesh and blood either (approval from others).  It can only be won through the One who has already won the battle.  That’s a lot of “wons,” but stay with me, because the battle is fixing to turn.

“Will you surrender to me the way that I made you?” So - real talk - the most significant personal pain in my life has been centered around rejection and shame. Feeling unlovable and being embarrassed by it.  A lot of what we believe about ourselves is learned at young ages, but the enemy of our souls can jack with us at any age.  Circumstances or people in our homes, our schools, our relationships, our work, or our cultures can begin building insecurities in our lives that left unchecked, uncorrected, or unhealed can begin to sway our confidence or direction.

I've learned that anything He asks me to surrender, has been worth it.

Right or wrong, who is to blame, who is not to blame --- all of these discussions can be good to work through so we know what "wrong belief" or "insecurity" about ourselves we have been believing.  Where have we been seeing ourselves through the eyes of others instead of through the eyes of God?  It's difficult to practice right beliefs until we can understand how our wrong beliefs developed so we may discredit them.  But, rehearsing or explaining the root of our insecurities to justify them doesn’t make them go away. I think sometimes we spend more time trying to feel justified in our pain, rather than getting set free from it. 

When in my spirit, God asked “Will you surrender to me the way that I made you?” he was asking me to surrender my insecurities.  I've learned that anything He asks me to surrender, has been worth it. My insecurities are at times the main distractions for me to serve Him unabashedly and trust him fully.  “But, I’m NOT this or that.”  “I’m too this or that.”  “You haven’t given me this or that, so I am lacking this or that.”  I have won many battles in this area before as He has helped me fight through fear and disappointments. He has been patient and faithful and compassionate, but when He asked me this question, He was preparing to turn the tables of insecurity on me a bit. 

As I started down this trail with God in my time with Him, in His word and in discussion with Him (prayer), He gave my insecurity a new name: vanity. He has told me who I am in Him. He has been revealing my identity in Him. So as I bring old struggles of insecurity into new life, it’s no longer a wound to pet; it’s a sin to confess. I’m not rejected. I’m not unloved. I’m being vain. I’m over-regarding myself, too focused on how I am viewed. Worried about things I would gently refer to as insecurities, that He was asking me to confess as vanities.

Insecurity is a pain I struggle with.

Vanity is a sin I confess and Jesus sets me free of.  

Instead of falling to the temptation to rehearse cruel words, rejections, unkindness, and pain and then asking God to heal me, I realized I needed to begin seeing how that pain had ultimately led to my own sin.  In confessing insecurities as vanity, I could be set free instead of just being helped along.

Jesus can relate to being rejected and shamed.  He isn’t saying “suck it up Haley; quit being such a self-centered jerk.” But, I believe through the evidence of His life, His Word, and His Spirit in me,He is saying, “I know, Haley. Forgive. Lay it down. Confess how that pain has led to your own sin, and let me cleanse you of it.”

We can strive. We can get new clothes, new friends, new hair, new jobs, new accomplishments, new self-help books on insecurity. People can try to convince us we are loved and appreciated.  For every rejection, we can have 100 acceptances, but that will continue to grow our dependence on people and circumstances to heal.  People and circumstances do not win soul battles. Jesus does.

Honestly, I have graciously had a lot of compassion and encouragement in my life. But for this, I needed the Holy Spirit's conviction and the freedom found when I take it to Jesus and ask him to clear away the vanity. 

"Yes, God. I will surrender to You, the way You have made me."

Soon after this realization began, I had to practice this change in context. We’ve been doing new initiatives at the ministry where I work that has involved video production.  I’ve been asked to be a part of some of these projects, and if you have been following my blog over the years, or read my book, you know my answer to being involved has been “Yes, Lord.”

As I would get up in the morning before taping and the struggle would begin, feeling like I didn’t have the right clothes, or my hair was frizzy, or my skin not clear, or my presentation too “Haley-ish” instead of professional, or that I am not capable enough to be in this position … I would stop and confess that “insecurity” as “vanity.” That sin of vanity was building a wedge between me and where God was asking me to be. I still want to be the best of how He made me. I didn't throw my curling iron away, stop shaving, and wear sweats to work. And, I’m not walking around now mondo-cocky that I'm a daughter of the King and I'm perfect as-is.  I don't want to be insecure OR over-secure. I want to be well with myself, others, and with Him, in my soul.

There are days this is easier and days this is more difficult. But, He has spoken into this area of my life and now I do have a new fight plan.  Or rather, a new flight plan for this sky that God is asking me to fly through. He heals us of our pain and cleanses us of our sin. Accepting His compassion for my pain is easier than accepting his rebuke for my sin.  But, where His compassion brings me comfort and encouragement, His rebuke cleanses and empowers me.  His questions and help are changing me.

What wound are you petting?

I’m not saying you’re wrong for being hurt by your wound, so just change your perception of it.  I am suggesting you consider what response in you has that wound developed?

  • How are you coping with the pain? 
  • How are you justifying your response? 
  • How is your current course of behavior motivated by it? 
  • Has the enemy tempted you to sin because of it? 
  • Have you become envious, gluttonous, greedy, lustful, prideful, slothful, vengeful, or even vain? I have at times.

Satan takes our weakness, our wounds, our pain and tempts us into deeper pits of our own making while we feel justified by pain.

Jesus takes our weakness, our wounds, our pain and tells us to forgive. He sets us free of it, instead of enslaving us to it. He tells us no-one can define who we are except for the Father, our Creator. In human terms, think . . . “No one puts Baby in a corner.” 

Pray this week:

God, I surrender the way you made me. I surrender any feelings of rejection, shame, or injustice that I have let become part of my identity.  I surrender to you whatever notions of lacking that are coming on me. The truth is, I lack everything, and have only what you have given me. It won’t be my wisdom, my words, my body, or my clothes that will accomplish what you’ve asked me to accomplish. It won’t be by might nor by power, but by Your Spirit. Forgive my vanity. Cleanse me. Thank you, Lord, for your compassion and conviction to care for me and transform me. Now, let’s get on with it. In Jesus' name, Amen.

One fear I have in posting this is the friends who will hold me accountable to this when I start to rehearse old news. Thank you, Jesus, for those friends.  I hope, if you've read this and can relate at all, you will find some friends who are a little mouthy like mine. Sit next to them, drink a little coffee, and talk about good things to come. 

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