I often think that we aren’t aware of when we begin living out of a 𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑣𝑎𝑙 𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑠𝑒𝑡. It is like an old default setting that was hardwired into our souls that we depend upon when things around us begin to be out of our ability to control them.
For me, I learned early on in life to be an expert at 𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔. This did not serve me well when it came to issues of surrender or intimacy because the thought behind every survivor mentality is that there is something bad and tragic to survive. And I had a lot happen that reinforced that belief.
In my early years of walking with Jesus, I began to understand that I couldn’t grow without letting go. I had to learn the difference between surviving and overcoming. Surviving kept me alive but didn’t allow me to thrive because it was rooted in trauma and self-preservation. The kindness and love of the Father began to teach me that overcoming was what He desired which is rooted in dependency and trust; not in me or my self-preservation but in full surrender and yielding to Him alone.
This was not an overnight process because the hardwiring to survive and the expectation of being left alone was at my core. It was a process of facing frightening times and deep fears and choosing surrender rather than protection. I had to allow my heart to risk loving and being loved. Surviving put a lock on my heart but overcoming was to open that door 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑔𝑜 𝑙𝑎𝑦 𝑑𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝐽𝑒𝑠𝑢𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑖𝑑𝑠𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑎 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑚.
I remember when my family brought a foster baby into our home. I could feel my heart falling deeply in love with this little boy. Somehow I knew deep inside that he was only “on loan” to us. I had a choice- I could merely care for him and survive losing him or I could open my heart and give him all the love he deserved and I had within me to give. So, knowing that my heart would face incredible loss I gave it fully to him. For four years I loved that little boy with everything in me. It was so beautiful! Most days I’d lay down with him during his nap time and just stare at him, pray for him, and tears would often flow as I overcame what I knew was coming. Sure enough, that day came but through the terrible pain, I had no regrets because I hadn’t held anything back. He would carry throughout his life all the love that I’d poured into him even if he didn’t remember me. And I would always have the memory and beauty of four years of loving the sweetest little boy. It’s been six years since then and I have no regrets. I learned to overcome so that I could experience deep intimacy rather than merely survive and experience only the shallow places.
There is a healing that is being offered by the Father that takes your hand and walks you into the deeper waters of surrender and trust so that you can experience the fullness of beauty, intimacy, and encounter. Will pain still come? Yes, but you won’t merely survive pain but thrive in the midst of pain. Surrender has been the greatest gift because it allows me to 𝑙𝑒𝑡 𝑔𝑜!
In that place, I find that I experience being held by the arms of my God when I feel like pain leaves me unable to breathe. His love and intimate presence becomes my breath and my overcoming strength. It is then that I thrive!
My life is so much richer from having loved when loss was a high risk. I’ve done that many times now. Actually, all earthly love (except for our love for Jesus) has that risk. But the choice is to self-preserve and hold back or to lay it all down and love fully knowing that the 𝙊𝙣𝙚 𝙎𝙪𝙧𝙚 𝙇𝙤𝙫𝙚 will carry us through the times of loss and pain. I have always gained far more then I lost when I’ve given all of me.
It’s time to give 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑜𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢 to the One who gave all of Him for you. Ask Him to reset you to the default of an overcomer, not merely a survivor. Again, overcoming takes dependency, surrender, and letting go of control. It’s so worth the cost!
It’s time to thrive while you’re alive- not only survive. Holy Spirit come and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Help us to let go and find where you are in the midst of storms so that we can lay down with you...𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑙𝑎𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎𝑟𝑚𝑠.
Featured Image by Markus Spiske