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The Joy of Surrendering

Updated: Sep 17, 2022

Some of you may know that a year ago I joined a twelve step support group. I'm using my courage admitting this on a public platform. In my time in working in this support group, I’ve let go destructive habits, that are easier to see now.

Surrendering to the outcome of what I can’t control is a central part of me now. In the readings in my twelve step program, I have read that I can control what I can and surrender when I’ve done all that I could. As it became clear that there was nothing I could do in my job that ended, I still tried to control it. I said to my managers I was doing the best that I could. It was a struggle, trying to do what was an impossible task.

In my upbringing, I remembered the importance of not quitting to work as hard as possible no matter what. I became a workaholic for much of my career. I never learned that giving up could lead me to better solutions. That’s the message I needed.

I shamed myself for quitting when I couldn’t control the outcome. Other colleagues in other jobs told me I had done the best I could and it was time to move on. Inside I was berating myself, so important it was to not quit, or said the message I had interpreted. I don’t remember when I started hearing this message.

The positive of surrendering is that I’ve learned to change my tact when one path I’m doing isn’t working. For resolution I sit quiet and listen for my intuition to speak about my next idea. It may not come immediately and I sit with it or I take a walk. I paint pictures; I change my focus. When I’m in this relaxed state, the wise voice comes to me. It’s not about quitting; it’s about asking myself what other solutions exist or knowing that solutions come with patience.

In surrendering to what doesn’t work, it leads to letting go. I had a lot of mixed feelings in my job ending. I knew it wasn’t the right one but I was more concerned about how I looked to others rather than listening to my intuition. It’ll get me to Colorado; I reasoned with myself. My False Self lead the way, the one that cared what others thought more than what I believed in, never mind that what others thought wasn’t how I could take care of myself.

I had grown up believing that others’ needs and wishes were more important. Yet it is my life, not anyone else’s. I spent a lot of time feeling resentment. Even when I took care of my needs, I felt guilt and shame. I disassociated. I did whatever I could to not face my feelings.

A few months into my recovery with my twelve step group, there was a reading about accepting what I couldn’t change. Sometimes I read the words not understanding the true meaning.

One day I walked into a church that I’d never been to before. I’m not a religious person, but I love the beauty inside a church without having to believe in anything. I sat in the sanctuary’s pew toward the back. I took in the beauty of the stained glass, the woodwork of the religious symbolism I didn’t understand. I sat and I listened to intuition that poured out of me. I felt the pain of lacking control. For once I didn’t push it away. I sat with my own challenges and fears. I sat in the spirituality of the church. I let go of the people looking in at me from the hallways, the curiosity of others. I felt the anger and sadness of what didn’t work. I didn’t know how long I was there. I listened to my feeling. I wanted to cry but the tears weren’t there. I surrendered to not having answers and not being able to control my outcome.

In my twelve step group, there’s a saying, Let Go, Let God. I say, the universe, rather than God. I see it as all connected and each person uses the word appropriate to himself or herself. There’s no judgment; it’s about what feels right.

In my support group, I found a sense of belonging. I used to say, what’s wrong with me? I say it less now that I have the understanding; it’s a message my critical voice has expressed. I’m learning to re-parent myself, a day at a time, with the loving parent, that voice we use for ourselves, the voice of love. I think of that job and I’m glad I tried. It taught me the importance of listening to my intuition, the importance of surrendering, and that I could move onto something else. My intuition knew all along. For me intuition, the universe, the soul, is all one being, one voice of wisdom.

With surrender comes other opportunities, new friendships, new awareness, changes I never thought could happen. What was once emptiness expressed by the False Self came surrender to what I couldn’t control. What came next was self-compassion, self-love, inner peace and joy.

What have you learned from surrendering? What surprised you? What changes have you seen happen in being your True Self?

—©, Amanda L. Mottorn, 2022, author of Finding Moksha: One Woman’s Path in Uncertain Times and Artist at Modern Moksha Designs & Publishing.

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