Sweet surrender

All Woman

All to Jesus I surrender
All to him I freely give …
I surrender all

I used to watch the congregants sing that hymn in church and while my grandmother had her hands raised to the heavens, I forced myself not to repeat those words. I felt like surrendering was too much of a big responsibility and Jesus would be disappointed with me when I got in a fight at school. I looked admiringly at my peers comfortably surrendering to their faith and wished I could find the courage to as well.

I always loved control. I always wanted to control my life, when and how I do what. As a single woman, single mother, having control was important to me — it was how I survived.

Then 2020 arrived and in its wake so many uncertainties that turned the entire world topsy-turvy. And as the uncertainties continue to rise, the more some of us try to control. We have redeveloped daily routines amidst the pandemic as we are so accustomed to certain systems and routines that help us to control what is happening around us. For the first time in my life, I cannot get a grasp on my everyday routine as something is constantly changing. I have undergone a myriad emotions from frustration, anger, helplessness to plain old 'stressed out'. And out of the blue that 'dreaded' hymn comes back to me, hauntingly urging me to consider surrendering.

What does it mean to surrender?

To surrender is to relax and let go of trying to control everything around us.

To surrender is to see the world exactly as it is, to embrace the changes around us and welcome the new or even the unknown.

To surrender is to meet life where life is, to stop fighting with or try to change what is.

A friend gave me a cannabis infused cookie once and it tasted so good, I ate another, completely ignoring his warnings that it may be too much at once. Less than an hour later I started to panic as the herb started to take effect. I was caught completely off guard — panic set in and as I struggled to remain in control, my friend said, “surrender to it”. I surrendered to the moment. It was my first time and what a gift! I stopped fighting the feeling and relief came in the form of senseless chatter with unusual girly giggles and then sleep. I slept for an entire day — I mean from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and still went to my bed by 9:00 pm. It was the best sleep I ever had.

I woke up with a clear understanding of that complete surrender in the hymn — it was giving oneself an opportunity to just let go of everything, all that we know, and trust in the unknown, knowing that all will be well. It is trusting in something that is larger than us — it is faith. Throughout the uncertainties of this pandemic, I have learnt that surrendering is giving up the idea that we have control over this life and simply allowing life to be.

Surrendering has allowed me to fully appreciate the moment we are in, to love what it is doing for all of us.

Through surrender, I have discovered new pathways to achieving my life's goals. Letting go of business ideas that cannot come to fruition in these times and shifting to unknown territory has been liberating and rewarding.

To surrender is not to be careless with your decisions or to give up. It is consciously letting go of what you cannot control, opening up to possibilities and experiencing joy despite what is going on around us.

To surrender is to be open, to be fully present and conscious of what is currently happening.

We can experience sweet surrender with little things around us every day; from a moment of solitude in the mornings to being patient with colleagues at work, to being grateful for small mercies.

Surrendering is to stop resisting. It is freedom.

Coleen Antoinette is a single mother of two and a lover of culture and people. She is a communications specialist and arts educator. You may share your thoughts or own experiences with her at coleenantoinette@gmail.com.

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