Why Surrender Doesn't Mean Giving Up the Battle

Surrender is hard.

Surrender is especially hard when you're a type-A emotional caregiver who struggles with anxiety. Hello, perfect storm.

I want to fix everything. I want people to be happy and healthy and free. My first instinct is to evaluate and plan. I find solutions, present them, and cajole the person into using them. And then I'm disappointed when they don't. I get frustrated, angry, and resentful. When they continue to struggle, I say in my head, "If you'd only listen to me!"

Please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks this way.

Ironically, when I'm in fix-it mode, trying to promote Healthy! Happy! Free!, I find myself feeling unhealthy, unhappy, and chained. I've found that the harder I try to bring about change in people with my own solutions, the more I find myself drowning in the fear of the problem at hand. I become antsy and restless, my mind spinning with more ideas, more "what-ifs," and a cascading list of new problems that might crop up because this one is still unresolved.

Praise the Lord there are some problems we can take care of with ease, but those issues that we find in others—the ones that rub us the wrong way, the ones that induce fear, the ones that seem to threaten our security—those are the ones that require surrender. Those are the ones where our solutions won't stick, where when we begin to talk to our spouse about the issue, we are met with silence, a blank "smile and nod," or empty promises.

Why? Because the problem requires their surrender, too. We can't make anyone raise their own white flag. 

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Free with me?

Free with me?

"Free" is my word for the year. Craig was the one who thought of it, probably because he notices on a continual basis how enslaved I am. I rarely I notice the chains. I don't even picture them as chains—more like I'm a magnet and I allow burdens to become a part of daily living and breathing and moving. The problem is, when you've attracted all this weight, moving becomes heavy and breathing, ragged.

I want to be very clear: I love helping people. I love listening to people. It's an honor to be invited to share burdens, to be privy to vulnerability. But where I get muddy is I allow their problems to become my problems. When my thoughts wander, I find myself tangled in their possible solutions. I drown in their sorrow. I lament continually to God. I lose where I end and they begin. There's no clearly defined raindrop—just a puddle

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