By Brie Gowen
I wasn’t born into a Norman Rockwell painting kind of a family, and going to church on Sunday wasn’t something we did. Even later after my mom and I moved to the Bible Belt and she married a “good Southern, Christian man” I still did not understand fully what it was like to fall on your face and be a lover of Jesus. In fact, looking back, even though I did the “church thing” through school that was the socially accepted norm for a small town family, it wasn’t until I was in college that I finally understood what being a Christian really meant. Turns out it wasn’t just a title to hold, but a decision to follow Christ. To love Him.
So by the time I decided I wanted a relationship with this Savior who had so selflessly died for me I was weighted down by decades of baggage. I had suffered rejection that had led to feelings of low self esteem, that had led to poor decisions aimed to make me love myself a little bit more, but that had inevitably only led to more feelings of worthlessness. In my handicap position of being a newbie Christian still under bondage from my past mistakes that I couldn’t let go of I remember being told a phrase that I still hear uttered quite frequently among believer circles. I’m pretty sure it’s even in cards as it’s a really popular sentiment. I was told that this would fix things for me. If I could just do this I’d be all good.
“You just gotta give it to God, honey.”
Give. It. To. God.
What does that even mean?
For some, they may wonder, how? How exactly do I do that?! I know I did.
See, here’s the problem with being human. We want to fix things. We want to have the answer, and we want to fashion the solution. We need the directions. The ones with pictures. And we want the knowledge. It started with Eve and a tree, and today still we want to have our hands in resolving and knowing how to take care of business, even better than the Creator. For me, it was perfect. It was an action I could take and therefore be free of the scars a life of sin had left behind. All I had to do was give it to God (however that worked) and I’d be golden.
But as you can imagine I had trouble. I kept trying my hardest to give it to God, but my sinful nature pulled me in the other direction. My life wasn’t magically turning itself around, problems still arose, and pain from the past still plagued me. What was up with that?! Maybe I hadn’t given it to God correctly. How was it you were supposed to do that again? That thing I needed to do, I just wasn’t doing it right, and after a while it felt easier to stop trying so hard.
So here’s what I’ve learned. If thirty-nine years on earth have taught me anything it is this.
I can do nothing. Seriously. Apart from Christ I can do no thing, and erroneously thinking I can perform some hoodoo task to make things peachy just doesn’t work. You can’t give it to God, and the operate word is you. Surrender isn’t something we do that fixes things. It’s simply a decision to let God have control.
It’s not writing down your pain and sin on a piece of paper and dropping it in God’s mailbox. It’s not something you do, but simply acknowledging that it’s done. It was completed over 2000 years ago when Jesus died on the cross. You just believe it. You turn from anything that says the contrary, and you keep your back to those lies. You accept the gift of Salvation and understand that the same Lord who erased your sin can also heal you of the pain it caused in your life. It’s faith that continues to follow Him even when you cannot see the end of your story. It’s all Him, and you’re not “doing” anything to save yourself. It’s already been done. If you’re giving God anything then you’re giving Him your heart, you’re loving Him more deeply, and trusting Him for all the rest.
So maybe we shouldn’t be telling people to “give it to God,” but instead telling them to “let God.” Let Him into your heart. Let Him move in your life. Let Him take control. Let Him heal you. Allow Him to wash you white as snow. It’s nothing you can do, but just knowing it’s already been done. Take heart in that.
Do you turn from sin? You betcha. Do you relinquish your prior life and die to self? Indeed. But these aren’t so much works you perform to be in the pink. They’re an acceptance of a gift He’s freely given, and it’s not a specific step-by-step guide to getting good with God, but rather a relationship. Love Him. Spend time in His word and listening to His voice. You’ll find He takes you, and giving isn’t even a thought because your hands are already wide open in abandon.
So don’t you give it to God.
Instead just let Him.