Sharon in Israel“I surrender all. All to Jesus I surrender. I surrender all.” I’ve sung those words and not had a clue what they meant. I’ve wanted to mean them and tried to let go, only to find myself running my own life again. The very thought of surrender seemed like a lot of work!

Last year I traveled with a group from my church to Israel. One day we visited the site reported to be the cave of the demoniac in Mark 5. Scripture records that, “He had been tied up many times with chains and rope, but . . . . No one was strong enough to tame him.” I identified with this man’s self-will run riot. In the New Testament story, Jesus orders the demons that held this man in bondage to go into a herd of pigs. Crazed, the pigs ran over a cliff into the Sea of Galilee.

My pastor, who was with us on the trip, encouraged us to find a rock at this site and write on it something we wanted to surrender to God. He told us that we would then go to a cliff overlooking the Sea of Galilee and throw our rocks into the sea. I remember looking at my rock, not sure of what to write. I thought, “What if I really could get rid of one thing? What would it be?”

What would you write?

I initially wrote my most overtly destructive addiction: alcoholism. Then I wrote the more subversive addiction that just as surely erodes my soul and robs me of joy: people-pleasing. And then I wrote the addiction that just wears me out: workaholism. I looked at my rock and imagined what my life would be like without these. Tears began to stream down my face.

And then I heard – I really did hear – Jesus speaking in my spirit: “Sharon, I never asked you not to drink or work or try so hard. I just miss you when you do.”

My heart nearly stopped. Could it be true? The really big deal about our sin is that it separates us from God. In that moment, I felt God’s presence. In surrendering to Him, I discovered the sweet truth – that He is surrendered to me. In wanting Him, I realized that He wants me. And in missing Him, I felt the awe and wonder of hearing that He missed me.

This week, during the “Now what? moments” of your day – when you stop working, taking care of others, and planning your next move – when you begin to feel lonely, restless, or empty, surrender that moment to Him. Don’t surrender to Him so that He’ll make the loneliness, restlessness, or emptiness go away. Surrender to Him to be with Him. Surrender to not craving something from God – but craving God. And in that sweet surrender discover that God doesn’t want something from you. He wants you.