From Striving to Surrender

I was at my wits end. I had prayed every prayer, stood for every altar call, repented from every sin I could think of, spent too much money, wrote down every prophetic word, and stressed myself into a mess. The thing I wanted most wasn’t happening. I thought to myself, “What am I missing?”

Many people knew what this something was, that I was believing God for. I had received several prophetic words from well-meaning individuals about specific timeframes they believed this something would happen for me. Each time those timeframes came and went, I got angrier and angrier. In my growing frustration, I thought to myself: “I wish people would just leave me alone and stop wrecking my world with their stupid prophetic words, they just want to be right so they can brag about how accurate they are”. Yeah, I was pretty toasty.

What added fuel to this fire, was that not one person, when their prophesied deadline passed, came to me and said, “Hey I made a mistake, I’m sorry”. It was as if they forgot they had even said it. But I was invested. I was hoping, envisioning, planning — going all in.

During those months, I began resenting prophetic ministry altogether. I would see these prophetic words floating around Facebook from the prophets. Words about, “this year being a breakthrough year”, and “this year being a year of promises fulfilled”… it was like these words were taunting me. I found myself snarling at all of this: “Oh, ‘year of the breakthrough’, never heard that one before” and “Oh ‘year of promises fulfilled’, yeah, you’re just prophesying to people’s hearts for your own selfish gain”. Did I mention I was mad? Did I mention I was also leading the church’s prophetic team? Awkward.

More time had passed and I realized I couldn’t go on like this. I could only fake it for so long. I was toxic and I knew it. If it weren’t for the fact that so many people were looking up to me, I probably could have stayed in that toxic place much longer. But for the sake of the people I loved, I had to change. I would like to say that I did something dramatic to pull myself out of this funk, but I would be exaggerating. I literally just told the Lord one day, “I cannot do this without You, I need You to change me”.

Shortly after that, through some great talks with friends, and simply acknowledging how I was really feeling, things began to shift. I realized couldn’t just say, “I trust God” for that to be true. I had to work out the underlying factors of my own heart that didn’t trust Him. My perspective really shifted, however, one day I was driving in my truck.

I was praying and worshiping Jesus as I was driving, and His presence came. My heart opened, and with tears in my eyes, I prayed, “Lord, if my circumstances never change, I will NEVER stop worshiping You”. I said out loud, “Your eyes are always on me, You are fully invested in me, You died for me. My eyes, they’re not always on You, I am looking all over the place, and occasionally, I’ll remember to look at You. Who am I to tell You that You’re not doing it right? You are more invested in me than I could ever be in You. You’ve got this”.

As I prayed that out, I literally felt strength that was ‘not of this world’, entering my spirit. This was the Lord. Those words seem so simple as I type this out, but wow, did that revelation hit my heart. It changed me.

There is such an important key that I took away from that experience: I didn’t do anything other than open my heart. Because as you can see from my laundry list I wrote about in my opening statement, this was a radical shift in thinking for me. Previously, I had equated ‘breakthrough’ with me doing or initiating something. This thing that I experienced, however, is called surrender.

Surrender happens when we physically, emotionally and spiritually stop striving.

Our culture tells us that striving produces good fruit, but the word of God tells us otherwise:

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NKJV)

We produce good fruit when we stay connected to Jesus and trust Him to produce through us. When I read that scripture verse, I don’t envision a struggling little branch, stressed out, trying to produce some grapes! I see health and subsequently fruit.

It would be inspiring for me to report to you, that right after receiving this revelation, my circumstances changed and that I saw this all come full circle, but they didn’t change and it hasn’t come full circle just yet.

But am I healthy? Yes. Am I grateful? Yes. Am I toxic? Not today, and, for now, that’s enough for me.

 

-Elaina

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