God always has and always will look for men and women who say to Him, ‘I trust you so much, I’m all in. I want your way not mine. I am willing to live by faith!' - Chip Ingram
Many tend to define surrendering as a loss, but what if I told you that to surrender is to gain? What if I told you that to lose yourself was actually a way to find yourself? This may not make sense, but these were principles that Jesus taught, and these principles are still relevant today. So what does it take for someone to fully surrender themselves to the call of God? Many of us have heard and read many sermons, lessons, blogs, biographies, and articles discussing the topic of surrender, but have we truly surrendered our dreams for God's call?
Here is a little bit of my story and how I came to truly surrendering my life and dreams to God’s calling:
I grew up in the church most of my life, but in 2000 I moved from Milwaukee, WI to Orlando, FL. From 2001 till 2011 I served in my local church as a Youth worship leader, which eventually led to Lead Associate Worship Leader overseeing the entire worship department. My call to worship was evident from the moment I was given the opportunity and stepped on the platform. However, in 2011, I ended up leaving my church due to complete ministry burnout.
Fast forward two years… My wife and I decided to look into attending church again. We ran into several different churches, but eventually we were drawn to Rethink Life Church. But I still did not want anything to do with ministry. I just wanted to be a "church goer". Funny enough, that same year my wife and I found out that we were pregnant with twins! Finding out this news really made me start looking at my life and decisions beyond myself and I started to realize that everything I did from now on was not only going to impact me, but my wife and children. So I made church a priority.
The Moment Everything Changed…
The pregnancy journey could not have been more perfect. I remember times where my wife and I would tell each other, "this pregnancy thing is easy" but little did we know that at 33 weeks everything would change. My wife got extremely sick - she would not eat, her skin was turning yellow, her eyes were turning red, and she was getting really swollen without even walking much. She had gotten so sick, she thought that she was dying.
Not long after rushing to the hospital, the doctors placed a stress test on my wife to see what the current condition of the babies was. A few hours later the doctors notified us that they would have to perform an emergency C-section due to the rapid dropping of one of the babies' heart rate. This all happened so quickly that I was not able to be in the room for the birth of my children. Everything went successful and both babies came out healthy, but for some reason I did not feel at ease I sensed that something was wrong.
I kept seeing doctor after doctor walk through the doors, but none of them would tell me anything. A little while later, one of the nurses came to me and told me that my wife was not doing good. She could not give me much information, but instantly my heart sank. As they brought Jennifer out, I could not believe how she looked. She was so weak and frail. She was not functioning normally and was bleeding excessively from her stomach. They placed her in a temporary room where again doctor after doctor would continue to work on her and try to stop the bleeding. I did not understand what was going on, but all that came to my mind was WORSHIP. I tried ignoring it, but it stayed clear in my thoughts. They continued to work on my wife for about an hour and a half until one of the main doctors pulled me to the side and told me the worst news I have ever received.
The doctor told me that my wife developed a rare disease called Acute Fatty Liver Syndrome. This disease caused Jennifer's liver to shut down and not function during the delivery. There was no way of them knowing that this would occur. She did not go into too much detail, but told me that my wife was bleeding to death and that they had to insert a balloon like device inside of her to take the place of her failed liver. This procedure was only two years old and fairly new to all them. This was a nightmare that I could not escape.
After receiving this news I stepped out into the hallway, sat down at a corner and began breaking down in tears. I wept uncontrollably and felt hopeless. I tried calling several friends and mentors of mine, but I could not reach anyone.
I believe God did not allow me to get a hold of anybody because He wanted me to run to Him. That night I told God, "If you get us out of this, I am all yours!" Once again all that came to my mind and all I could do was WORSHIP. That night I surrendered myself entirely to God and his call on my life. I sat in that corner and worshiped like I never have before…. My moment of surrender came in 2013.
Worship in Surrender…
Without worship there is no true surrender and without surrender there is no worship - they both coincide. Worship was discovered in the act of my surrender and it allowed me to enter into God’s presence, but it also pulled me out of my current circumstance and changed my perspective on everything. Understand that worship is not only a way to God and his call for your life, but a way out of any circumstance that you may be currently facing. Worship is the key that opens the door to a life of fullness in Christ.
Today I am living a life of complete worship and surrender to God's call and letting God know every day through my worship that I am all his. Jesus summarized it the best, he said, "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
My challenge is simple and straight forward; it is to get back to the heart of worship. A hear that is completely surrendered to Jesus. Jesus said in John15:5 “…If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Let yourself always remain in him, then and only then you will find true life.