When visiting with clients or doing my own personal inventory, there are three critical elements that regularly emerge. I’ve come to believe that these elements, when applied appropriately can help to set things in order in the soul. When ignored, the results are destructive over time. There is a necessary progression to the elements: Surrender - Receive - Worship. Let’s take a look.
We hold on too tightly. The more we try to control, the more control becomes an obligation. We try to control how people perceive us. We must manage our emotions. (Only show the good ones). If we could only fix the kids, our coworkers, our spouse or the emerging lines on our brow, we’d finally find that slice of peace in life that would make things okay. The tight grip we keep on the fantasy of control prevents us from embracing the blessings of reality.
We must learn to surrender. There is more than one way to do it, but the action step for me, is to identify the areas of life that I am attempting to control that are beyond me. Then I actually surrender each one by name to God and/or a trusted friend. This step is nothing new, yet powerful when we do it. 12 step programs have known this for years.
Many people never get to receive because they’ve never surrendered. We must make space to receive, but for many there’s no room. If we’ve not gone through the process of surrendering our futile attempts to control life then receiving the gift of real peace is only a quaint idea for those who have time for such nonsense. Once we’ve cleared the necessary emotional space through surrender we are left the emotional margin to receive.
In this space we can let people in. We can invite love, joy and peace. We can receive help from others. We can think differently. We can treat people differently, not as problems, or solutions or obstacles, but as humans. Receiving helps us become more human. We are human beings, not “human doings.”
Surrendering our illusion of control also allows us to relate with God. When we give up the need to be god in our life, we create room for God in our life. When we surrender the need for control to the one who has control we can soak in the good things He has for us.
Worship emerges when we receive everything in the place where we had nothing. When we recognize our soul is a barren desert, we have the space to receive not only life, but meaning, contentment, joy and peace. When this happens, there is only one response: Worship. It is natural reaction to give glory to the one who brings us life.
We were created to worship, and worship we will. Pure worship never comes from obligation, because we worship what we believe will give us life. We worship what our hearts crave. We worship what we set our minds upon. We have many idols - money, self, others, comfort, pleasure etc. We must be careful what we worship, because if we worship the wrong thing (or person) we will break ourselves against it because, it will ultimately let us down - severely. We worship what we behold and we become like what we worship. This is why looking for God and giving him our worship is better for us than anything else.
Surrender (to God) - Receive (from God) - Worship (God) ... Repeat.
Joshua Grover LMHC