A few people very close to me encouraged me to start a blog a couple years ago. Amidst a chaotic and uncertain time in my life, personally and professionally, I decided to take a seven week cross-country road trip with my dog during the summer of 2019. The Surrender Project from a blog perspective was an organized notepad to share the experience of my road trip, and also to chronicle my experiences for some future version(s) of myself, all while hopefully encouraging others to take their own soul searching journeys. I created an Instagram profile and took pictures along my trip with Murphy. I’m very grateful I did, as I often reflect on that precious time with him. Rest in peace my little man, miss you so much!
The Surrender Project however was about more than a road trip. I still cannot fully express what the project is all about, nor do I believe I should be able to at this juncture. I’ve been lost and confused along my path. I’ve ventured through my share of peaks and valleys over the past two years, figuratively and literally. The premise of My Surrender Project was an idea to fully surrender my life to God, instead of constantly worrying about a future I had little control over (common for the old me). Frankly, we all probably have some element of discomfort around the future. I used to be stuck in the past or afraid of some tragic future more than I ever lived in the moment. I don’t honestly know if I was ever truly present, as my past self would seemingly show up to many situations (triggers), while my mind was often crippled with “what if scenarios” as it lived in a hypochondriac-ridden future realm. My Surrender Project was the culmination of a long and challenging road of trying to control what inevitably cannot be tamed- life itself. The premise is truly impossible- the control of one’s future that is, yet I felt like that’s all I unknowingly strived for. Hence the NEED and DESIRE to shed the misnomer that one’s control of the future creates peace and harmony within.
I’m a couple years in, actually two years to the day. I’ve learned a lot. I’m at 731 days of saying a version of My Surrender Prayer (you can find it from the drop down on my home page). This prayer starts my day off with more intention, as a reminder that I’m not in control, and that God’s plan is ultimately the only one worth following. Surrendering isn’t just a prayer, the goal was and still is to create a lifestyle around this premise of putting God’s plans before my own. Sometimes I must admit that I pause and wonder whether I’m on the right track. That’s normal right? Sometimes I feel the world pull me back into an abyss of striving toward human achievement, almost like a harsher and more dangerous spiritual version of a gravitational pull. I hate the feeling (yes- hate, I realize it’s a strong word). I know the most peaceful times in my life have been when I’m not bound by the earthly measures of what makes life meaningful to so many around me, and to the old version of me for that matter. I realize that turning a phone, a television or a computer off and sitting in the middle of a field somewhere sounds like a dream come true, yet those moments are sporadic and hard to find. I realize that I could be more intentional by scheduling these moments, yet I continue getting sucked back into the abyss of humanness that most succumb to throughout much of life. We are conditioned to do so right? The “Highway of Life with all the fixings” – yet we still end up feeling some amount of hollowness within regardless of the treasures and trophies representing life’s achievements.
I must continue to remind myself that I’m human. I realize life changes and worrying about things that I cannot control only bring forth pain and misery for my spirit, mind and body. I’ll keep saying my prayer and trying to remind myself that progress matters most. After all, we are all heading toward a better or worse version of ourselves each day. We just get to determine, once awakened to the true meaning of life, to what degree we permit the false narrative of putting our effort, energy, time and self-worth into what the world tells us is important. I will share that one of the best parts of the past few years has been my ability to shed the notion that anything temporary (of this world) can create TRUE contentment, peace or joy within me. This especially goes for other people’s opinions of me or how I live my life (what a blessing to shed this). I’m also not suggesting one shouldn’t care about their career, health, financial independence or relationship status. What I’m saying is don’t stake your true identity in such things; don’t chase forever fulfillment from temporary attainments. I realize that only a relationship with God can provide such things, given everything else is temporary. This has to be one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned, and frankly am still learning/implementing as this life project continues.
Most things won’t hit the radar when we breathe our last breath. The things that will are probably the things we should spend more time focusing on. I’ve never been less enamored with social media, the news overall, and the chaos of the world than I am right now. I guess that’s a good thing amidst what I’d argue has been one of the most challenging periods of my life- the past 14 months (I’m sure many would agree given the circumstances). Why do we succumb to drama, narratives, mass thinking, and permitting our belief system to be hijacked by others? I mean shouldn’t our belief system come from God? I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve had that “still small voice” within for as long as I can remember (the Holy Spirit). My gut also tells a fantastic story of where I am mentally or spiritually at any given moment, which has been rocky lately! My body speaks to me consistently- almost like a beacon of whether I’m on the right track for my true purpose in life. I don’t fully understand my purpose, but I know it shouldn’t be something I dictate, as God breathed life into me for His purpose. I think it’s a fantastic and beautiful journey if we stop trying to control every outcome, and rely on God’s navigational skills (less stressful too). I believe He wants us to be like children, from a joy perspective, but the world messes us up. The world we live in can absolutely steal our ability to live with more joy moment by moment if we aren’t intentional with where we receive information, and if we’re not firmly rooted in God. I think protecting our mental and spiritual health is a must if we seek to truly live the way God designed us to live- fully and truly. This is an area I want to continue focusing on throughout year three of My Surrender Project and beyond.
There you have it- My Surrender Project is officially two years old. I wrote less this past year, but still shared some thoughts and experiences as I “chase life instead of dollar bills” (Eric Church). I don’t think we can put a price tag on peace, and that’s what I seek. A few other things I’m focused on you might wonder: I’m trying to pray for others more. I’m trying to take more walks. I’m trying to give more hugs (I’m not a touchy person- so it is actually a challenge). I’m trying to give more grace, albeit this is tough in certain circumstances. I’m trying to give myself the promise to travel and wander, reduce the noise, and of course explore playing the guitar and learning music (my happy place).
I guess after two years I am a little less of the old me, a little more of who Jesus wants me to be (the OG pre-world version); at least that’s how I hope He sees it. I still have plenty of room to grow amidst the journey. I pray God gives me (and you) the strength to shed belief systems that didn’t come from Him- especially those that stunt our spiritual growth, or take our self-worth hostage. May we continue asking questions, seeking to understand and realizing that much of what we believe to be true was handed down from somewhere. We must explore the depths of our beliefs and refine via God’s Word, our prayer time and our own personal experiences. We don’t have to be streamlined and alike, we are different and that should be celebrated. Love over hate. Peace over anger. Joy over anxiety. Grace over condemnation. God over the world.
Here’s to year three! May WE live with no regrets. May WE truly chase what brings us JOY (follow those happy tears)! May WE learn to SURRENDER what we cannot control! May WE seek what makes our Spirit Soar! May WE all be the GOOD KIND OF CRAZY! I must continue to remember these life mottos when anxiety creeps in, when the unknown strikes a chord of fear, and when the world dangerously pulls me into circumstances that don’t serve God’s purpose for me. May God help us to live the way He wanted us to live in a time when we’re simply too distracted, too negative and too focused on things that we won’t be thinking about when our time comes to join Him in Heaven.
Much love. Give love to those you love. Live fully. God Bless.