“Just how close can I get, lord, to my surrender without losing all control” (Mark Hall)
In his beautiful song ‘Somewhere in the Middle’ from the album between the Altar and the door, Mark Hall provides some great vocabulary for my Lenten reflection this year. As you read and study, may this reflection assist you to find Jesus at the centre of it all. At Easter I will speak of the Cross between the malefactor and the repentant sinner, the central cross from which Jesus saves us.
Today as we embark upon our Lent fast, our sacrificial journey, we no doubt realise that our intentions and our ability to carry them out is a tension that we live with daily. We all have an inherent desire for control. It is a preservation technique and surrendering is an uncomfortable space. We reside between our desire to give ourselves fully to God and the desire to still control how that works for us. Total surrender is contrary to the ego, contrary to the self that the world calls us to be. We, from a young age are taught to be controlling, to take charge to be dominant, thus surrendering to Jesus is no easy task. We say the words “We offer ourselves as living sacrifices” and we mean it. But we end up dictating what we do and how we will do it. Between my intentions and my ability to surrender, you’ll find me. I have an idea of how I want to serve God and what I want my life to look like, I struggle when it doesn’t look like that. Somewhere in the middle between God’s plans and my plans you’ll find me.
Therefore, this lent let us give ourselves to the discipline of surrender. The discipline of trusting God in the small things so that we can grow to trust him in the big things. Fasting is a way of surrender. Fasting is relinquishing control over meeting a simple need like nutrition, so that God’s desires may take central place in your life. Self-discipline, the willingness to give God the control in your life is what true Chasity is, St Paul says “That is why the mind that focuses on human nature is hostile toward God. It refuses to submit to the authority of God’s Law because it is powerless to do so.(Romans 8:7 ISV).
This Lent may God show you the beauty of surrender. The freedom that comes from letting go of the desire to be in control and dictate how we serve God. May the Spirit of God lead us in love to welcome the ways of God.
And so, my pray for us today is this.
As I accept these ashes oh Lord, accept my desire to surrender to your will. Find me between my sense of self- preservation and my desire to give you Lordship of my Life.
Do not let me trade my dream for yours, help me to release the things that I cling to so that I may be held by you. Amen.