Surrendering the Starfish

Surrender.  It really has an ugly ring to it.  No one that I know enjoys “surrender.”  It conjures up images of being held at gunpoint while forcefully being told to put our hands up and surrender.
Last weekend while walking along the beach I stumbled (almost literally) on to a starfish.  A real (I was soon to find out) livestarfish.  I had never seen one on the beach like this and it didn’t look authentic.  It was bright orange and purple and incredibly beautiful.  I was awestruck.  I picked it up with my room key—not wanting to harm it—but also wanting to make sure it didn’t do anything strange to me.  Four women were sunbathing and saw me, so I went over to show them my new treasure.  They ooooed and ahhhed and then one of them said, “I think it is still alive—you should throw it back.”  I was devastated.  The starfish had shown no signs of life and I really didn’t want to throw it back.  I could only imagine the faces of my children once they saw the amazing sea creature.  I also didn’t have a camera to take a picture so at least they could see it did in fact exist, and was not just a silly fish tale!  Guilt slowly set in and I reluctantly threw the starfish back in to the ocean.  It did not move and I am still doubtful that it made it–but deep down I knew it was the right thing to do, and it was not even mine to begin with.   For the next quarter mile I combed the beach searching for a more obvious dead starfish…but none were to be found.  All of the sudden it hit me.  The starfish was a symbol of something much more meaningful in my life.  Surrender.
Earlier that morning in my quiet time I had felt God asking me to surrender something that I hold very tightly.  (He did not audibly do this by the way—it was just a nudge that I felt within my spirit.)  I had a long chat with God explaining that I really do not hold tightly to too many things and this was something that brought me great comfort and joy.  In a compassionate and loving way—I still sensed that He hoped I might not hold so tightly and actually give Him this thing that I loved dearly.
Along my walk, I had found a few sharks teeth and I would have been happy to trade all of those for one awesome starfish.  Funny how we often try to barter with God and say, “I’ll give you my_______.  Couldn’t I just keep_______?”   When it comes to surrender I am quick to give God the little things but with the bigger things, I like to have a little more control. 
Surrender according to Webster is: “the act of giving up one’s person or possessions into the authority of another…relinquishing one’s power, aims, or goals.”
Wow.  That is a lotta tough words in one sentence.  Often when someone asks me how to begin a relationship with God I say, “you surrender all that you know of yourself…to all that you know of God.”   It is loaded but true.  Along our journey with Him, we might begin to realize that we have given him our “self” in a sense…but there are still things we are holding on to for comfort, identity, stability, joy, peace, or pleasure.   Our reliance on those things, could be keeping us from having a more intimate relationship with God.   Surrender looks different for all and it is only something that the Spirit can nudge.  (Don’t get crazy and start surrendering things just to surrender them…we must be prayerful and count the cost.)   

 Our house, perfection, our family, or lack there of, our finances, popularity, our body, friendships, our sugar intake, our job, our old tapes we play (and re-play), our fears, longings, are just a few things that lobby for our time and attention that might be causing an obstacle in our relationship with God.   (I share this list because I have hung on to most all of these at some point in my life so these are just a few obvious ones for me.)   
I truly believe that surrender is one of the toughest paths to walk down in our journey with God.  It is scary—it requires relinquishing control and trusting.  God is very gracious and knows that it is a process.  He is patient, loving and a gentleman.  He never demands these things—we are given the choice.  Through the small daily surrenders, eventually the big ones go up on the alter as well.   The truth is…they are in the best of hands.  They are His anyway…right now they are just on loan. 
(This was inspired after reading and reflecting on several thoughts shared in Katie Brazelton’s book Pathway to Purpose for Women.)

 May You Be a Blessing and May you Be Blessed!

One thought on “Surrendering the Starfish

  1. Love this post, Jenni … it's so true that God often asks us to give up things we desperately want to cling on to … because it's comfortable or even because we love those things deeply and aren't ready to part with them. And amen sister to the bartering with God part … we so do that!


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