Finding Freedom in Surrender: 3 Tips for Letting Go of Control

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Finding Freedom in Surrender: 3 Tips for Letting Go of Control

Adapted from Monica and Michael Berg’s Spiritually Hungry podcast. Listen and subscribe here.
July 26, 2021
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What do you think of when you hear the word “surrender”? Most people associate it with giving up, giving in, or giving away something. But surrender doesn’t have to mean an ending – it can be a beginning and the gateway to true freedom.

We live in a world of constant change. Friends relocate, children move out as they get older, careers take unexpected turns. It can make us feel like we have no control in life. So, to compensate, we often try to build structure in our lives with lists, rigid schedules, and routines. There’s nothing wrong with planning, of course, but what happens when life breaks our perfectly structured schedule? It can be frustrating, upsetting, and sometimes downright devastating.

Life always unfolds in unexpected ways, and it’s only through letting go that we find peace. Here are 3 tips to find freedom in surrender:

1. You aren’t in control; you’re in partnership with the Creator. Think about what happens if you open a lemonade stand. You can mix the lemonade, find the perfect spot, and set up shop, but if it starts pouring rain, you’re going to have a tough time selling any lemonade that day.

We like to think that, as long as we are in control, everything will be perfect. But we never really have total control. In truth, we are in partnership with the Creator in all aspects of life, and the Creator’s role is much larger than our own. Our job is to do the difficult spiritual work, put in the effort, and push ourselves to be more sharing, selfless people, and then let the Creator do the rest from there. We can’t control the outcome or the direction our lives will take.

Trying to control our lives actually creates a barrier that prevents us from being successful. Accepting that we are not in control allows us to make room for the Creator – a force that wants to support us in all things. When you surrender, you become a co-creator. Even if you experience hardship and pain, take a step back and see there is a beautiful universe around you and know there is a force that wants to enter your life and support you.

2. Focus on what you can control. We spend so much energy trying to change the unchangeable. We worry about what others think of us, spend time attempting to be perfect, or try to be something we aren’t. What would happen if you let go of those fears? What is left for you to control?

If you can’t change something, consider surrendering it. Surrender is not about giving in. It means refocusing your energy to what is within your control and letting go of what is not. It’s about acting and reacting in ways that support your growth when life unfolds in unexpected ways. The more control you relinquish, the more freedom you get.

3. Practice relinquishing control on the silly stuff to make the big stuff easier. Life is meant to be a process of learning to surrender, and practice makes perfect! Giving up control is not easy. Even if we know we should do it, it takes a huge amount of effort and constant reminding.

We are given opportunities every day in small ways to surrender control; you just need to be on the lookout. Practice being flexible in these smaller situations – don’t get upset if dinner is burned or your coffee order comes out wrong. Surrender and surrender again until it starts to feel like a natural part of who you are. Doing this makes it so much easier to let go when the big, chaotic things happen.

Letting go can be scary, but it’s also an exciting opportunity to change the way you experience life. The more you try to control, the more disappointing and frustrating life becomes. Trust that the Creator knows what is best for you and is a force that is guiding and supporting you. Let go and open yourself up to the Creator’s flow.