When Is The Time Right To Surrender?

This week’s theme for Six Word Friday is “surrender”.   After having difficulty coming up with ideas, I was rewarded with multiple ideas.  So here are six lines of six words about surrender:

Surrender to this season of life.

Live each season as it passes; breathe the air,
drink the drink, taste the fruit,
and resign yourself to the influences of each.
~ Henry David Thoreau

Surrender to the moment – live life!

If you surrender completely to the moments as they pass,
you live more richly those moments.
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Surrender to our dreams; express them.

Art is nothing but the expression of our dream;
the more we surrender to it the closer we get to the inner truth of things,
our dream-life, the true life that scorns questions and does not see them.
~ Franz Marc

Learning curve requires surrender of security.

Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.
~ Gail Sheehy

Never give up and never surrender.

Never give up. Never surrender.
~ By the character, Jason Nesmith
(played by Tim Allen in the movie Galaxy Quest)

Never surrender, said Winston Churchill.  Never.

Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty,
never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force;
never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
~ Sir Winston Churchill

Surrender is such a contradictory term.  We want to surrender to the fullness of our life and our dreams.  Sometimes we need to surrender our emotions and peace of mind, such as when learning something new or letting go of the old to accept the new in our life. It’s hard accepting change and making adjustments in our mind or personal culture for something that is nothing more than a personal preference for us.

And of course, other times we need to dig in and hold the line.  It may be something important to us, that others do not value.  It may be something fundamental to our beliefs and values.  For Winston Churchill, it was keeping a nation encouraged that they could beat the Nazi’s and keep their country from Germany’s tyranny when so many others had not.  That encouragement kept Germany out until the United States could be persuaded to join the war and eventually, Germany was defeated.

© 2012 dogear6 llcFor me, it was a big adjustment to parenthood.  I’d not planned on having a child nor had my favorite boy toy.  We were married five years before changing our minds on that.  I certainly hadn’t planned on going back to work after she was born.  But I did.  I had to.  I made 2/3 of our income before she was born and even working part-time, I made as much as my husband.

Many well-meaning Christians counseled me that it was not God’s will when I went back to work full-time.  Of course, they hadn’t prayed specifically about it but they knew better nonetheless. Without much grace, I eventually did surrender to the season of life of being a full-time employee and part-time mother.  I continued my friendship with very few of those people after I returned to work (in a later post, I expanded on my working full-time with a small child at home; click here to read it).

Eventually, the time came where I was making significantly more income than my husband.  He was an artist when we started dating and he continued to be highly creative, despite trying to go back to college and program computers for a living.  No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t fit the mold of corporate America.

We surrendered to his creative talents and a few years after I returned to the workplace, he quit to be a stay-at-home father and artist.  I wish I’d had that opportunity, but the fact was I could make a very good living in corporate taxation and he could not as a low-level computer programmer without a college degree.

With some time and patience, we’re achieving what we thought had been surrendered.  I’m writing and taking pictures;  he’s a small business owner.  My creativity has increased and so has his business acumen.  He frustrates other artists when he talks about how much each picture costs that he sells and I amaze my co-workers when I carve out time to keep my blog and take photos.

There are times to give in and times to dig in.  Knowing when to do each is an art form all its own.  Prayer helps, as is openness to God’s “coincidences”  – those doors of opportunity that open and close or the people who show up when we need them.

As I finish writing this, I felt compelled to read Ecclesiastes 3, for its sage advice on when to surrender and when not to surrender.  There is a time and place for everything in life and we are wise to remember it.  After reading it, I thought you’d like to read it also.  I’ve made it double spaced for easier reading and contemplation.

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

Enjoy your weekend!  Live joyfully in the moment!  Look for God’s grace in everything you do and everywhere you go.

[For a continuation of this story, click here.]

Life Lessons

dogear6 View All →

I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at www.livingtheseasons.com.

33 Comments Leave a comment

  1. What a testimony of the grace of God in your life. I think surrender is much harder than people realize. That is probably because so many people claim they have surrendered something when they really haven’t. Surrender involves holding nothing back, a real challenge for anyone to really do. — I also laughed when I saw that in the midst of this, you quoted Galaxy Quest.

    • Thanks Derek! Surrender is hard and unfortunately, not usually a one-time process either. It takes multiple tries to get it done right.

      You caught that Galaxy Quest item – we probably watch it once a year because it’s so funny. Especially with all the big name stars in it.

  2. This is a beautiful piece you have written, Nancy. I also enjoyed those pretty flowers, reminds me of spring.

  3. I enjoyed this entry very much. You shared honestly and it showed. It is obvious that your Christian faith has given you the strength to surrender to God’s will and you have proven that He knows best even when we are unsure. You followed your heart, even when others judged you. You knew when it was time to let go of some friends and although you had to turn away from what you wanted, your endurance and faith brought you back, full circle with even more blessings.

    • Thank you Jess. It is hard to surrender though – being a stay-at-home died a very hard death. I grieved for a year until my boss told me to get it figured out. It’s all worked out well, but it took me a long time to accept that.

  4. Your photos are beautiful. I think our generation of women had to face a lot of difficult decisions about careers and children. Each individual has to decde for herself how best to fit everything into her life. It sounds like you know what works for you.

    I like your theme. I may have to try it out if I get the energy to change mine. Not likely to happen anytime soon.

    • I think you’re right – our generation was just at the beginning of all the working mother stuff and it was hard finding the right path to follow.

      The theme change was a weekend of frustration, but I was glad I did it. One hint – set up another blog and copy yours into it. That way you can play with it and see how it looks without impacting your real blog.

        • It’s in the dashboard under tools. First export somewhere you can find it again, then import under a different blog.

          Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! I left a message at your blog but I’m sure its lost with all the comments that got generated. You’ve written many beautiful things – I’m glad you finally made it to the front.

  5. Nancy – this was a wonderful post – and your different takes on surrender was very eye opening for me today. Don’t we sometimes fight against the surrender when it really is the best way forward? ‘times to give in and times to dig in’ As a friend says – I may needlepoint that on a pillow!
    Thanks for this and have a lovely weekend!

  6. Very thoughtful and beautifully written. The lovely flowers caused me to breath deep and think of spring to come.

  7. This has to be one of your best posts ever. I love the way you started with the six word statements paired with quotes. I am always inspired when you write about how you & your husband found/find balance with your talents & family.

    • Thanks Kitty! This morning, I could see why it was taking me so long to finish (I couldn’t figure that out yesterday). I was pleased with it and am glad for your feedback.

  8. lovely post – honestly and authentically stated. and beautiful pics. I had to surrender to the reality that my marriage was over. I had never thought of my decision as a surrender but it was – totally and completely. thanks so much

    • Louise – I’m glad I could give you a different perspective on it. I’m sorry your marriage ended and it is a painful process, but by surrendering you can eventually move on and enjoy life again.

      I got nothing of what I wanted in my life and I am happy regardless. Others around me got what they wanted and are miserable. My attitude and acceptance is what made the difference. I know I can thrive no matter is going on.

      Thanks for stopping by! I found your blog this morning from a repost by Jen at Step On A Crack. I haven’t gotten back to making a comment.

  9. Although the circumstances are different, I too experienced “advice”–even judgment–from others when working full-time. My mother worked full-time and had children too. (I am not a mother.) My dad was a teacher and she wanted him to have the summers off, as he grew older. I wonder if I have more day-to-day memories of my dad, than other children who grew up in the 1950s.

    “There are times to give in and times to dig in.” Well said, and what a gift to others to share your story, Nancy.


    • Thank you Ellen. I bet you do have more memories of your Dad than most of us because your mother encouraged him to spend summers with you. That is a wonderful gift that she gave you.

      I think judgment is a much better word than advice – it was spoken to me from their personal beliefs, not their prayers for me. My daughter had a stay-at-home parent until she was out of high school. It just wasn’t me. And her Dad did an excellent job of being there for her.

  10. Nancy,

    What a beautiful and vunerable post, thank you for sharing so openly. I give Surrender a fair amount of head space on a regular basis. I believe that when we can come to that place that is at the very end of ourselves we allow Jesus to show up and take over. Most recently I have been meditating upon Matthew 5, The Beautitudes. Have you ever read scripture in the Message bible? Sometimes I really enjoy the translation. Anyway the first verse in the sermon of the mount in this version says You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.

    Surrender is a process. And it’s about progress towards perfection.

    Be blessed.


    • Paige – thank you for the lovely note. I haven’t read The Message Bible for a while. I’m a huge fan of Eugene Peterson, both for that and other books he’s written. I will have to go and look that up.

      That’s an excellent clarification you’ve made (this is why I LOVE comments) – surrender is a process. We’ll never be perfect, but we can improve.

%d bloggers like this: