Sunday, March 10, 2013

Unknowing Surrender: One Choice, One Chance

            Anticipation builds up excitement. It gets your adrenaline pumping and your nervous system ready to defend anything that gets in your way or in the way of whatever it is.

            Completely different, though, is what I like to call “unknowing surrender.” This, I find, happens in the moments when there’s nothing you know is coming, or about to happen, or be said. There’s not even a chance to be excited, nervous, or defend, because you have just one chance and one choice (and maybe just one second) to respond.

            “Are we there yet?”

            My Grandma lived in another state when I was growing up. We lived in a small town in Washington State, and she lived in a small town in California. I don’t remember how often we drove to visit, or if we flew, because either way it was a long drive into her neighborhood.

            “Are we there yet?” I would ask from the back seat. Two minutes later, I would ask it again. Even at 5, 6, and 7 years old the anticipation of being able to see my Grandma couldn’t keep me patient. It excited me, and I didn’t want to wait.

            I remember this anticipation, again, when I was also about 5 years old, learning some friends would be coming over to visit. We weren’t home, that I remember. I cannot articulate the anticipation and excitement of that other than to compare it to waking up on Christmas morning and having to wait until after breakfast to open presents! (It’s really hard to convince a child to wait to do that.)

            When we pulled into the driveway, made-up memory now, or real, I want to say my two friends were right there, waiting, on the doorstep. I don’t remember anything else. I was so excited and had built-up in my head seeing them and that one moment is now all I remember! I don’t remember any of the time we may have spent together that day.

            One chance, one choice.

            “You can’t expect [fill in the blank] to show up on your doorstep.”

            It’s funny how one memory of childlike wonder and excitement can become the exact metaphor for how not to go about life.

            You know, I still open the front door every now and again to see if something or someone is there. There’s still a romantic notion in my mind that one day I’ll return home from work and... Surprise!

            Surprise! I bet you didn’t see that coming? That's unknowing surrender.

            I’ve written about this in different ways in the last nine months. I’ve talked about it from the standpoint of gut instinct, to the tug at the heart, to divine intervention, and even humble surrender. Early this morning, I stumbled across some thread that asked a question specifically about friendship beginning with, “When did you know?”

            I didn’t even have to think too much about the question, and so I answered it and honestly with words just oozing out of me.

            One answer, one choice, and one chance.

            Hours later, I was sitting in a cafe at my Church going over my notes from a service about love. My Pastor, Jud Wilhite, wrote a book called “Pursued.” I wrote down a lot of notes about “Loyal Love,” and the challenge of pursuing our relationships the way God pursues us: real, deep, and radical.

            I was deep into it when a young man sat down next to me and asked (after first asking what I was doing) of my faith, “How did you get to where you are?”

            One answer, one chance.

            I had no idea that question was coming, and no chance for an adrenaline rush, but oddly enough what I had written about hours earlier directly paralleled and was a part of my answer. I didn’t hold back. In surrendering to the moment and answering his question, I realized I had no idea -- it was unknown to me -- the emotional depth of my thoughts on the previous topic would become a part of my testimony.

            This man and I chatted for well over an hour as he asked questions and listened as I tried to answer.

            When I was done giving him the answers he was seeking he said, “That’s real. That’s deep.”

            I said, “I think it sounds crazy when I say it aloud, but it makes perfect sense to me.” I think I was smiling, beaming even.

            He had a big smile on his face too and said to me, “It’s just real and it shows.”

            Hours earlier, I had written these words:

Sometimes, we cannot fully move forward in our lives until we allow ourselves to look back and see how we started to move on to begin with. Maybe, just maybe, as I discovered with my teary-eyed clarity, that friend you pursued was actually pursuing you.

“When we see the word ‘love’ a couple of times in
the first few verses of Hosea 3, it literally means “loyal love” as
it refers to God’s regard for us. 

It points to His covenant love 
for us that is based more in His faithfulness 
to Himself than to us.

This kind of love is the kind 
used to describe a friend that
comes up beside us and 
walks alongside us, shoulder to shoulder.
It’s a long-term kind of committed love,
a bond that connects you for a lifetime.”


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Glad you posted this, Anne! Just like what that man told you, this is indeed very deep and real.

  3. Thank you so much! I didn't even go into detail about our discussion, but it was deep and profound for me, too. I knew what I was saying, I believe in what I said, but I never heard myself say it before.


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