I Surrender by Jeny Aquino
I remember the first time I was told to “trust in God’s plan” by a leader in my church. I had just finished telling him about the extent of the worries and anxiety I was currently facing in my life and was incredibly stressed with the circumstances I was in. But for some reason, I was not at all happy to hear the brief words of advice he gave me. In reality, the idea of simply trusting in God’s plan resulted in me stressing out even more. I kept wondering to myself “Well what kind of plan? When will I be aware that the plan is in play? Will I be truly taken care of in this so called ‘God’s plan’?” and the questions went on and on.
Since then, I have developed deeper in my faith and now take great comfort in knowing that God has a plan for my life. I might not know the grand scheme of things, but I am relieved to know that God has my back no matter what I face. But while I am much more open and accepting towards the direction God holds for my life, I am still a very easily stressed out person.
As a student in college, I tend to stress so much that it can affect my overall health in my daily life. It can adversely affect my sleeping habits, the way I eat, and even my spiritual health. I can sadly say that it was during the most stressful moments that I prayed the least to God. I can get so wrapped up in my worries that I push God away and try to do everything on my own. Whenever this occurs, I learn the hard way that a life without God isn’t really living, and it is during our hardest times when we are to run to God all the more.
But often times for most people, learning this isn’t so easy. Throughout my experience in youth ministry, I would have countless teens come to me saying things like “Life sucks and I feel like God is really distant” or “I’m not happy and I don’t feel God in my life”. In response, I always ask “Well, when was the last time you prayed and tried to really listen to Him?” and almost always, the teen tells me that their prayer life has been poor, or in some unfortunate situations, nonexistent.
Praying is talking to God and opening ourselves up to the life he wants to speak into us. He has a purpose for us, even in our sufferings. It we are not spending time with him, we will not be able to see His beautiful plan for us. When we pray to God and speak with Him, we can better cope with our lives and the situations we face. We develop a healthy and thriving faith that can allow us to better trust in His plan for us. Without having God in our daily lives, we are more likely to lead a life filled with worries and darkness. And who would truly want that? I definitely don’t.
So what is it about our lives that makes us want to orchestrate everything on our own, apart from God’s plan for us? Why is it sometimes so hard to believe and accept the truth that God truly knows best?
In my weekly Bible study, we discussed this question and the concept of God’s plan. A conclusion that I came to realize was that for most human beings, everything comes down to control. No one likes to not have control over their life. When it comes to tragic or bad situations, bad grades, illness, death, or the consequences of sin, everyone wants the ability to determine their own fate. Everyone wants control.
But what I have realized, and at times the hard way, is that I am not fit to have full control over all aspects of my life. The reason why I say this is because I need a Savior. I need the love and guidance of Christ to help me make the absolute best decisions and choices to make myself into the best person I could possibly be. That means believing that God is the only one who truly knows what is best of us.
When we try to take control of our lives without regard for what God has in store for us, we tend to be blindsided with distractions and things that can take us away from Him. I know this because when I try to live my own path rather than just listen to what God wants for me, I am plagued by worry and stress over the things that I cannot control or change. Loving God means wanted to be with Him. Wanting to be with God means wanting to follow the best path to reach Him.
When I attended the Steubenville San Diego conference in 2014, I was in the middle of one of the most stressful times of my life. I had just been rejected from my number one choice university and was constantly questioning my future. I became so obsessed with where I would finish my degree and what type of job I would have in the future that I lost sight of believing that God would always take care of me. During Mass, I found myself to be so distracted. Rather than praying, I was questioning my future and worth. I began to wonder where my life was going, when all of a sudden, I felt a warm comfort with a sudden urge to look up. On the altar, directly facing me, I witnessed the unforgettable sight of the priest holding up the Eucharist during the Consecration of the Mass. Blinking back tears, I smiled, because I was reminded of my worth in that instant. In a small gesture, God was showing me not where my life was headed, but the direction to which I should be going: towards Him.
It was in the fleeting, but profoundly meaningful moment, that I decided to surrender my need to control my life to God. In abandoning the need to have control, God gave me the irreplaceable blessing of comfort in knowing that He would always be there for me.
If you are like me, and sometimes worry or stress too much, please take my advice. You do not need to control the things in your life that you are not meant to control. Surrendering control is a gift that allows us to be in full communion with God in a way that is only possible through the trust and faith we hold for His plan for us.
In the Bible study I attended, we read a passage from Matthew 6:25-27, which reads: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life?”
No matter what obstacle or problem you face, know that God will never place you in a situation that you cannot handle. Trusting fully in God’s plan for us is not always easy, but is definitely possible.
Worries will never comfort you and unnecessary stress will only hurt your relationship with our Heavenly Father. Jesus gave up His life in this world for us so that we might give ourselves to Him and one day reunite in Heaven.
Rather than holding onto the things in life that we cannot control or change, God calls us to surrender them to Him and let Him carry the weight of all our burdens. More than anything and anyone, God truly knows what is best for us. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I invite you to let go, just as I did, and trust in His plan for you.