Does the spiritual journey require a surrendering to God, the Goddess, or a Higher Power? Beliefnet members share opinions and personal experiences, as well as their resistance to the concept. Here is a sampling of their insights and an opportunity to join the conversation
What Does It Mean to Surrender?
"[Surrender] means not living with yourself and narcissistic ego as the center, but instead living with God and Love as the center of your life and thus entering into a harmonious relationship with God where you are truly free to become all you where meant to be...."
"When one is beginning to embrace a spiritual path, a certain degree of surrender is important to cultivate in order to center oneself and cultivate Humility.... When Christians surrender to Jesus, they open themselves up to Christian angelic energies. When Muslims surrender to Allah, they open themselves up to Islamic angelic energies. Same for Judaism, Hinduism, etc. So when one 'surrenders,' one is opening up to channeling certain energies of an angelic nature."
There's an old joke that goes "If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans for your life!"
"This is really the core of struggles with addictions--surrender. I've always had a problem with surrendering. I never thought of it in a positive way. It was equivalent, in my mind, with Losing! Surrendering represented loss of control. It was 'surrender' that finally freed me from alcohol and cigarettes."
"We don't have to try to get to God. God is already here, within us, surrounding us, companioning us, loving us. God will reach out to us and all we need to do is surrender: open our hearts and say yes."
"Spiritual growth is not something we achieve through willpower or effort. It is something that God does within us. Surrender doesn't mean giving up on life, it means abandoning ourselves to the love of God and his desire for us.... God's desire for us is usually far better than anything we ourselves could ask for or imagine. What could be better than to surrender to his loving embrace?"
"I think the cross is the ultimate example of surrender. Jesus was totally submitted (or 'in harmony with') God's heart and will. That is why he went to the cross.... Through surrender we connect to pure love and harness its power to change lives."
"I've never liked the words 'surrender' or 'submission'...coming from a place where I was 'forced' to submit my will, my pride, my intellect I vowed I would never again...rather than my laying myself at the feet of the Divine, I see it was inviting the Divine into my life...not as a sovereign, but as a friend...a wiser, older friend...."
"I believe in God, but the word 'surrender' scares me. In my life, it has usually meant submission--forcing myself to do something against my will, or someone forcing me to do their will for their own interests. 'Trust me, I will take care of you'--this is what my abusers have said to me.... When I consider 'surrendering' to 'God's will' I am very suspicious. I am not convinced that God won't just use me for his purposes and then discard me."
"As one who is a 12-stepper and also Buddhist, I can understand a bit of your dilemma. The idea of 'surrender' at first set me on edge because I had felt that I had surrendered a whole lot before I got to this place in my life. I tried the 'Christian concept' as a child, but never felt personally connected. Now, I believe in compassion. That is what I surrender to on a daily basis."
"Isn't there a difference between letting go and surrendering? As in letting go of all the crap so we can take in more goodness? Let go of the worries, let go of the negativity, let go of the mind clutter. Take in the peace, take in the positive, take in the knowledge that if you go with the Divine Flow everything works out in the end. When a flower opens up to the sun it's not surrendering, it's letting go and accepting the goodness of the sun, and using that goodness to become its best self."
Becoming a Better Self
"I have found that surrender is the key to a better version of me. Joy and fulfillment lie on the other side of that door. If you can't trust God/dess with your life and well-being, whom can you trust?"
"Was [Jesus] a shell of a human because he 'lived in submission to his Father'? Was he wimpy when he basted the religious elite and the people in power for their hypocrisy? No, he was one of the boldest most outspoken dangerous subversive self-confident secure people of history.... So surrender most assuredly does NOT mean losing who you are, but becoming who you are."
"I guess all these posts mean that, yes, in order to grow spiritually, you must 'surrender, 'submit' or 'let go' and allow That Which Is Greater Than Yourself guide you toward becoming your best self. Perfection is not a state arrived at once and for all, but a continuum, an everlasting opening up to the eternal Infinite. Here's wishing you a blessed journey!"