In my last podcast, I talked about vulnerability and I believe I briefly mentioned surrender. Today I want to talk about surrender in a little more detail. I’m going to talk almost exclusively from my personal experiences. I hope that there is some part of this that will resonate or click with you. The nuggets of wisdom from this podcast will come from you — from within you as you listen to my story of surrender.
I was always smart and I could do lots of things really easily. I was also always very intuitive. Today we might address that scientifically as being very aware of body language and any other of the 93% of communication besides the 7% of words that people were saying. I knew things about people and I am going to refer to this as intuition. I have always had the ability to touch my heart and to touch the hearts of others. I have always access to the intuition associated with that ability.
There are so many things in the world that we simply don’t know the truth about. There are constant debates about whether God exists or not. The scientific community wants to deny the reality of intuition. They have no hard data to prove its existence. Therefore, it doesn’t exist in their world. I, being one not willing to wait for science to figure out the awesomeness of the universe, believe wholeheartedly in the natural order of things and all forms of intuition and psychic experience. The awesomeness of God’s creation.
I am going to go with my own personal experiences as I venture through life. If the scientists come up with hard evidence to contradict my experiences or explain them in a different way using physical tools, the brain and body, then I will likely modify the understanding of my experiences to fit that model. Until that time I’m going to go with “intuition” as the best description of my experiences.
When I was much younger, and without experience in making my way in the world, I was lighthearted and joyful. I was extremely talented. I started dance and music lessons at five. I played a musical instrument until I graduated from high school in 1974. I took dance lessons until the age of 16. And I had a smattering of gymnastics in there as well. My goal in life was to be like Jesus.
My spiritual beginnings were in the Episcopalian church. My family and I attended church weekly until I was about 14. Then we moved to Florida and I don’t have a memory of attending church from that point forward. However, Christian principles were deeply ingrained in my psyche. In addition, I was an excellent student in school. I’ve talked in earlier podcasts about an experience that I had at the age of 12 or so where I came to the conclusion in my preteen mind that, because God was everywhere at all times and for all people, God must exist in the space between the molecules.
To this day all those years later, I still remember that profound experience and I still experience God in that way. As with most of us, my eyes were opened to the human failing of my parents around the age of 14 or so. It’s that period of time in our lives when we become aware of their parents as human beings. We become aware of their faults. For me, this included experiencing a deep sense of betrayal.
The reason that I wanted to be like Jesus was because I thought that all people were meant to accomplish this goal. Jesus was the epitome of a “good person”. And I was raised to be a “good person”. My parents passed on to me that the role of a parent was to raise children to be productive parts of society. Having that information coupled with my religious upbringing, I interpreted that as I want to be like Jesus, and everybody wants to be like Jesus.
I remember clearly thinking, and I think I was 14 years old, that my parents did not live like Jesus. They had faults. They were grown up but they weren’t able to be like Jesus. And the idea of betrayal was strong. It arose from my conclusion that, not only did they not live like Jesus, but they could not teach me how to live like Jesus. They simply didn’t know. They didn’t have all the answers. I was devastated and lost faith in all things I had been taught by these flawed human beings. After all, if I couldn’t trust that the goal was to be like Jesus, what could I trust that I had been taught. So, while I was very talented, and very smart, and had tremendous potential, all of that was about to go down the drain of self-doubt.
Because so many things came so easily to me, I can’t say that I was disciplined. Now that might sound strange given the fact that I took dance and music lessons for so many years. But the truth is that even those activities came easily to me. I practiced if I felt like it. If I did not feel like it I didn’t practice. In short, I was undisciplined. It was just too easy to be ordinary and get by.
As a result, when I embarked on my adult life, I brought with me two devastating pieces of misunderstanding. First was my failure to understand grace and second was my lack of personal discipline. Sure, I worked hard at times. And there were times when I put forth a great deal of effort to achieve a goal. But I never translated that to personal discipline. I always allowed a nebulous sense of “feeling” to direct how much effort I put into achieving anything. I was fortunate to have had some experience with striving hard to reach a goal and I’ve managed to piece together a pretty good life. But I made huge mistakes along the way. Grace filled my life in so many instances, I’m amazed at how blind I was throughout my 20s and 30s.
I’m going to skip quickly from age 16 to age 33. This was the deepest period of nihilism. I didn’t really believe in anything. I simply existed. I bounced like a pinball from one experience to the next. And all the while I progressed downhill. Pregnancy out of wedlock at 17. Getting drunk for the first time at 20. Experimentation with drugs came in my early 20s to mid-20s. That got too scary for me and I turned to alcohol. At least that was legal. I went through job after job. I moved from one city and state to another. I initiated and ended three marriages. Farther and farther down I went. Until I hit bottom.
But there is always grace. It is always there simply waiting for me to receive it. All I have to do is surrender and it will fill my soul.
Listen to my story below.
- Exit Music – How Great Thou Art performed by Home Free Vocal Band