Monday, March 15, 2010

Surrender Now!

I am a big Seinfeld fan.. huge fan. One of my favourite episodes is where George Costanza’s father has been advised to say "serenity now" aloud every time his blood pressure is in danger of going up, but he yells it instead. The episode is littered with this outbursts of “SERENITY NOW!” It’s supposed to be his pressure relief valve.

Well Frank Costanza isn’t the only one who has stresses and tensions in his life. Strangely enough, I found I have them too. People not responding the way I thought they should, things not going the way I think they should go, and most of all, me not behaving, achieving, persisting, resisting, or overcoming as I should. I never seem to have my own ever-changing set of expectations satisfied – and it creates a life of stress.

It seems the harder I try, the worse I become, and the more disappointed I get in myself and others.

In the book, “The me I want to be”, John Ortberg writes about how we can be God’s best version of ourselves – the thing I seem to be so regularly unable to do.

Ortberg dedicates a section on our efforts to ‘try harder’ and the futility of it all.

He says, “The harder you try to work to control things, the more you lose control. The harder you try to hit a fast serve in tennis, the more your muscles tense up. The harder you try to impress someone on a date or while making a sale, the more you force the conversation and come across as pushy”. He adds, “I need a greater power than simply ‘try harder’ can provide. Imagine someone advising you to try harder to be graceful. Try harder not to worry. Try harder to be joyful. There are limits on what trying harder can accomplish

He proposes this alternative. “Try softer… trying softer means focusing more on God’s goodness than our efforts. It means being more relaxed and less self-conscious. Less pressured… When I try softer, I stay patient when things don’t turn out the way I expected

But most importantly, when I try softer, it means I surrender all the failures, frustrations and expectations to God. It means asking God for help.

So I’m taking a leaf out of Frank Costanza’s therapist’s book. For the past 2 weeks, every time something, someone or I doesn’t/ don’t’ go/do/react/behave/respond the way I think it/they/I should (ie everytime my stress level is elevated), I put my hands in the air, and I say “Surrender Now”. It is my cue to let it go and let God take over me or the situation.

It’s not about giving up, but it is about letting go and letting God do His work in me or the situation (and it’s usually both!)

1 comment:

Andrew Staggs said...

great to see you back blogging - and a very good post - thanks!