The actions these two words convey are not the same.
Surrender To cease resistance and
submit to an authority
Suppress To prevent the development, action,
or expression of a feeling, impulse, idea;
Now put these two terms in the context of our plans, our dreams and our will.
Imagine we have a heart full of our own dreams and plans.
To create a clearer picture, let’s say these plans are good, honorable plans and nothing sinful.
In our scenario, God has let us know that it is not His will for us to have these plans.
He makes it clear that He does not want these plans carried out or pursued.
God has made it clear that He will not grant these plans and dreams.
What do we do?
Well, we may wrestle with God a bit, but ultimately we want to do His will so we
let go of our will.
We try to ignore these desires and plans and push them down, suppressing them,
But, they are still taking up room in our heart.
They are hiding out and at any time can sneak up to remind us that
they are still there.
Then trials, stress, exhaustion or even a distancing from our walk with
the Savior enter into the picture.
Perhaps we watch as others are given the same dream that we had to let go of.
Our suppressed plans and dreams resurface.
As they creep back up, they make us think we are missing out on something.
We may even begin to think we are missing out on what we deserve.
Longing, heartbreak and discontentment.
This is a place where bitterness could be born.
Surrender, however, is when our hearts no longer house these desires and plans.
It is when we have emptied ourselves of our own desires and
made our hearts available for God to put in His plans and desires.
Surrender does not mean to push aside, hide or suppress.
Surrender means to let go, to cease resistance.
Suppression of our plans leads to discontentment.
Surrender of our plans leads to peace.
Have you ever had the following thought?
“If I give up this dream for God,
He will be so pleased with me
that He will give it back to me one day.”
That is not real surrender.
Plans being kept
in the hideout of our heart prevents full surrender and almost guarantees pain.
What is your dream that God is not allowing to come true?
Finding a spouse?
Healing from a health condition?
Serving in a particular ministry or mission field?
A restored relationship with a loved one?
Your dream job?
Owning your own home or business?
Having a “normal” life?
God has taken over 20 years to teach me the difference
of suppressing my dream vs surrendering my dream.
Here is a glimpse of what my journey has looked like.
In my mid-twenties, I re-committed my life to the Lord.
It wasn’t long before God showed me that some of my plans were not His.
These were not sinful plans, in fact, they were God-honoring.
Nevertheless, I was sold-out completely to the Lord and wanted to please Him,
so I let go of my dream as best I could.
For the first 8 years of this I handled it pretty well.
I had no idea what was coming.
God was about to begin refining me in my struggle between
suppressing my dream and surrendering to Him.
The next 14 years, yes fourteen, were extremely painful.
My heart was broken for this dream.
I was actually in physical pain because my heart was breaking.
I cannot count how many times I wrestled with the Lord over those years.
Sometimes I was angry. Most of the time I was confused of His reasons.
Countless times I cried out and sobbed to God wondering why He would create me with
such an overwhelming, consuming passion for something but then not let me have it.
But God was doing something beautiful through this pain.
Each time I came to this broken place, God would refine me.
He saw in my heart that I had a mixture of suppressed dreams,
but also a heart that truly wanted to surrender.
He saw the part of my heart that wanted to cease from resisting.
So at each of these times of brokenness, when the suppressed dreams were
causing so much pain, God was showing me how much I was still holding on,
which then allowed Him to teach me to surrender.
It didn’t happen all at once.
In fact, He and I are still working on this. He is teaching me that this intertwining of suppression and surrender co-exist.
He continues to refine me, and I continue to learn to surrender.
At the core of this surrender is trust.
The more we trust Him, the less painful surrender will be.
The more we trust Him, the more assurance we have that His plans
are better than ours could ever be.
The more we can surrender, the more we can serve.
The more we surrender, the more of God’s plans unfold.
The more we surrender, the more peace we gain.
To die to self is true surrender, a goal worthy of our pursuit.
The lyrics In my brokenness, in these whispering shadows, I will lift the pieces of my heart to you.