This week on the blog, we thought we’d answer a question recently sent to us via email about surrender. No matter who you are or what stage of life you’re in, true surrender is something we all need to understand!

Dear Mark and Jill, 

When you guys share your story, you talk a lot about surrender. Can you tell me what it means to surrender?

– Wondering

Dear Wondering, 

Thank you so much for having the courage to ask this question.

Surrender is a total heart and soul decision. It is not behavior management. We often like to put it this way: Who is in the drivers seat of your life? When Jesus is the person in that seat (and not us), we are then, and only then, living a life of surrender.

Here are 3 steps I had to take in my own journey of surrender:

1) Accept.

I had to accept that I was truly powerless. I had to accept I made a huge mess and I could fix none of it. I had to accept that I would trust God and walk wherever He led me with a good attitude and trusting mindset. I had to accept that I needed to trust Him even if I didn’t fully understand Him or what He was doing. Surrender was my only choice for moving forward because I’d been stuck in my own internal battle for a very long time.

When I surrendered, I was a truly an empty man. This change was obvious to me and to others.

2) Stop

I fully repented of being the god of my own life and I stopped in many ways. I stopped frantically trying to figure things out. I stopped looking to myself to fix my mistakes. I stopped being the leader of my own life. I stopped arguing with God. I stopped trying to control.

I had been self-serving in everything and had to simply stop. When I waved the white flag of surrender, there was an incredible release in my heart and a majority of the shame I was experiencing went away.

3) Keep.

I made a decision to keep hold of the hand of daddy God, no matter what. This impacted defensiveness. Anger. Hostility. Selfishness. It impacted my commitment to respect and love as Jesus loves me. This “keeping” fueled me to trust God, seek to understand who He truly is, and to keep allowing Him to lead me each and every day.

In the Bible, we read, “My child, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways” (Proverbs 23:26). When I was living a life of selfishness, blowing up my marriage and making decisions blinded by pride, I had not given God my heart. I was hanging on to it with my own hands. I was demanding my own way.

But I’ll never forget the day. It was Easter Sunday 2012, when I heard God clearly speak to me saying, “Mark, if you will trust me for the mess, I will take care of everything else.” I was desperate for peace. I knew I’d made a mess and I wanted that mess to be gone. I knew that surrender was the only way forward.

Were there things in my marriage I wanted to see change? Absolutely. Was I scared to recommit? Absolutely. Was it still the right thing to do? Absolutely.

Surrender changed who I am. It gave me an inner peace I’ve never had before. It has transformed me from the inside out.

A life of surrender is worth it. A life of surrender is where we find hope and purpose. And a life of surrender is how we experience true freedom.


– Mark

P.S. If you’d like to learn more about surrender, you’ll see it lived out on the pages of our No More Perfect Marriages book.

You can also check out Andrew Murray’s Absolute Surrender book and Barb Roose’s Surrendered Bible Study. They are both excellent and were an important part of my surrender journey.

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