The 3rd Step of the 12 Steps reads as follows:
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as revealed in the Bible.
We often confuse surrender with compliance. In compliance we grudgingly give in, hold back a part of ourselves. Our actions may appear to be going with the flow but our heart and thoughts are surely elsewhere.
Compliance leaves out the passion part. In surrender we have to be passionate about the surrender — excited about it; having hopeful anticipation of what God can and will do when we actually surrender.
Surrender is not admitting defeat. It is not a bad thing in God’s Kingdom. It is a great thing! God’s economy and ways of doing things are quite often contrary to the World’s ways.
In reality, we often are hypocrites — saying or promising surrender — but in reality not wholeheartedly “all in.” And in essence we rob ourselves of the fruits of surrender. Surrender means surrendering one’s entire being: heart, words, actions, emotions, thoughts, body, soul and spirit.
What are the fruits of surrender? Surrender brings forth fruits. Mere compliance does not result in any fruit at all.
The struggle is over. We no longer have a tug-o-war going on inside our head and within our spirit. Stress melts away and we begin to understand “the peace that passes all understanding.” Philippians 4:6-7
We all are pretty good at twisting the truth to make it fit our less than holy actions and thoughts. We are no longer trying to bargain with God or trying to make our actions and thoughts look better than they actually are. Instead, we become honest.
Because we have handed over control to God, He is in charge of our lives. We no longer drag around our resentments, anger and anxieties. The decks are cleared. We set down our baggage and leave it at the foot of the cross. Because we are no longer weighed down by our past burdens we start to experience true freedom!
We become open to new ways of perceiving things and circumstances in our lives, new ways of thinking and seeing everything around us. New ways — Godly ways — of reacting to events as well as the actions and words of others.
It also means being willing to accept (be receptive to) whatever God has in store for us. Sometimes God’s plans differ immensely from what we envision as “best.” We have moved our plans out of the way and eagerly seek God’s will in our lives.
You are urged to examine what is going on in your life. In your recovery, are you actually, truly surrendering with all your heart? or are you merely complying?
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8