2020 Word of the Year: Surrender | Part 1
I started picking a word of the year or motto of the year in 2019 — mostly as a way to set intentions for the year to come. I pick it after spending a lot of time studying the Word and in prayer — usually a week or so. As I was thinking about my word for this year, I decided to look back on last years word of the year: Surrender. I found this note in my phone from January 2nd 2020 and I can’t believe how much this word really does represent 2020 for not only myself but for most of us this year…
My word of the year is Surrender. It’s probably not a word you typically see when you think of setting intentions for a year. And when I looked up the definition of surrender, I can understand why. Almost all of the definitions have pretty negative connotations..
⁃ cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority. ⁃ give up or hand over (a person, right, or possession), typically on compulsion or demand. ⁃ (in a sports contest) lose (a point, game, or advantage).
But the last definition I think fits how I am using this word best: abandon oneself entirely to (a powerful emotion or influence); give in to.
2 Corinthians 5:17 reads “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Surrendering to God and His plan for my life is not a negative experience in any way. Challenging at times? Absolutely. But the difficulty in surrendering is accompanied by peace and joy and hope and comfort. It’s accompanied with a confidence in the promise that wherever He calls me, He goes before me and prepares a way.
Dying to self isn’t a one time thing — it is an every day occurrence. If I start every day surrendering my desires, plans, and expectations to God and following the path that He lays out for me, I am confident that he will do immeasurably more in this next year than I could have ever planned for myself. I know this year will be messy and challenging, and full of surrendering, but it will also be crazy beautiful and fulfilling.
Chris Renzema says it perfectly in his song God Be.
“’Cause all I want is You, You know. ‘Cause through the joy of letting go, Yeah, I’ve found my peace, I’ve found my hope, I’ve found my home.”Note, January 3rd, 2020
I think it could be really easy to look at this year, and the word surrender, and identify it as the first definition on the list: “cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.” And while this year was really hard — people are really suffering. We have surrendered to so many expectations. Expectations of what weddings will be, births, deaths, summer, holidays, jobs, the list goes on and on.
However, I still think this year has an opportunity to fall under the last definition.
I was reading in the Psalms the other day and I found so much encouragement in two places.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation Psalms 42: 5 (ESV)
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah Psalms 46 (ESV)
In 2020, we were stripped of a false security found in money, time, freedom, expectations, and life. And maybe that’s the best things 2020 could have done for us because it forces us to put our security in Christ alone. Maybe the point of 2020 was for us to surrender. Surrender our plans, security, and expectations and instead, rely on God and his plans instead. To trust that God is still in control and His plans are greater than ours.
There is still so much unknown — 2021 is far from clear. But our hope and our security is not found in a new year. It is found in Christ alone.
“In Christ alone my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song. This cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease. My comforter, my all in all Here in the love of Christ I stand.”In Christ Alone by Geoff Moore
I truly believe that if you surrender your expectations, your plans, and your life to Him, you will find hope, peace, and joy that transcends all understanding.