I read a sad, but interesting story recently in Caroline Myss’ legendary book, “The Anatomy of the Spirit.”  In it, Caroline indicated that though the person in the story was willing, it wasn’t the same as surrendering.  I love those shades of meaning from a linguistic point of view.  But, if you notice your body when you say, “I am willing,” versus “I surrender,” you may see that there is a physical difference between the two, as well.

When you are willing, you’re geared up, you’re leaning forward, you’re ready, you might even be gritting your teeth. Isn’t that often accompanied by a desire to do something, maybe even to get something for it?  What’s really going on, though, could be closer to resigning to it. I’m willing to do it, because it’s for my own good, I know it will turn out for the best … When you surrender, it’s like letting out a long breath. You sink in, you relax, you release, you give up.

We all so love to be in control.  I, myself, am quite fond of predictability.  I like having some idea what’s going to happen next.  And I’ve found that need for predictability can be present whether you’re a home-based worker, a 50 hour a week employee, a new mother, or a trust fund baby.  We are so often scrambling to build predictability into our lives.  It’s hard to give up control, even when we really don’t need to hold on so tightly.

This Surrendering certainly entails faith on some level. Can we say a willingness to surrender?  Paulette Terrels often speaks of being willing to be willing.  That is certainly a step on the journey.  But we just haven’t crossed the threshold until we are ready to surrender. When we can acknowledge everything that happens to us is perfect.  Everything.  Even those little annoyances when you just can’t get the lid on straight!!  It’s Susan Jeffers’ chant that “It’s all happening perfectly.”  Being able to let go, at every moment, and let it be what it is.  Surrendering to whatever is going on.

Things go better with willingness, that’s for sure. I often marvel at what I can accomplish when I’m willing.  But no matter what I do, how much I can get done, if I look, I will find below the surface, an element of resignation keeping  my hands on the reins.  And no matter how willing I may be, I am always susceptible to running straight into that brick wall.  That one thing where I say, No!  I’m not going any further, I’m no longer willing.

With surrender, there is no limit. There is no stopping point where I can’t surrender any more.  I’ve already surrendered everything.  In that moment.

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