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Cec Murphey

“I realized I was going the wrong way so I surrendered to God.”

I frequently hear statements like that, but I question them. They imply they see the wrong, decide to stop, and it’s over.

Really? Is it that simple?

I can decide Coke isn’t good for my health, so I choose to give it up. No big problem there because I don’t drink much of it. But what about the big topics?

My friend Ron Hieber defines surrender as giving up under pressure. Those last two words sound like my experience.

I became a serious Christian at age 21, because my life was a mess. I didn’t know how to fix myself and finally admitted I needed God’s help to straighten out.

Nearly two decades later I faced my physical condition. My blood pressure had sneaked into the high ranges and I’d been hospitalized twice with an ulcer. Again, it was a choice forced on me because I wanted to be healthy.

When I left the pastorate to write full time, it involved an inner hassle to exchange a people-filled lifestyle for a solitary occupation. After months of anxiety, I recognized I couldn’t be happy unless I moved into my new career.

Surrender hasn’t been easy for me—at least not with the significant issues of my life.

I chose only after I felt forced. To give in under pressure has come to mean that I have to become dissatisfied, feel miserable, or hit a dead end before I give in. Those are painful experiences.

I decided that when I fight until I give in, it tells me the problem is important. Maybe that’s the difference. Like those in 12-step programs, I surrender only when I feel helpless.

Giving up the insignificant doesn’t take much effort; it doesn’t count for much either.

For more hope and humor, visit themanbehindthewords.com

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