Sunday, 14 January 2018

S is for surrender… 14th January 2018 by Susanne Irving

I don’t know where you stand when it comes to New Year’s resolutions or setting goals, but I confess that I am struggling most years. Some years I have a lot of ideas and start out strong, only for me to get distracted by the next shiny thing come February or March.

This time, the new year seemed to come around even more quickly than usual, and I could not really think of any goals to set. Yet I know from experience that having no aims ultimately makes me feel more adrift.

Then I read a blogpost that suggested finding a focus word for the new year, starting with the first letter of our first name. There are many helpful words that start with S:
Steadfastness -  especially helpful when it comes to sticking with things for longer than I like and seeing a project through to the end when I am bored and/or frustrated by it
Serenity, or even better Shalom – an antidote to my tendency to put myself under even more pressure when I am already anxious or worried
Serendipity – for me this means being aware of Emmaus moments rather than rushing around with my eyes to the ground
Stewardship – I believe that we are called to be great stewards of all our resources, which involves so much more than our possessions and includes time, body, talent, intellect.)

Then I read through some of my journal entries for 2017 and knew where my focus needed to be put to achieve the other things I was longing for: SURRENDER! I knew straight away that this is meant to be my focus because there is a part of me who does not want to do that, regardless of what Jesus has to say on the subject…

I believe that surrender involves so much more than the “big surrender” when we surrender to God and become Christians. Here are some things I have already identified:

I surrender my attitude that I live a second-best life just because some dreams have not worked out as I had hoped.
I surrender my rigid mindset that tries to prescribe what can and cannot be done and how things should be done.
I surrender the expectation that I will be given a sharp stone when I am asking for bread.

I am curious: How are you dealing with God’s call to surrender? If you had to choose one focus word, what would that be?

About the author: Susanne Irving is the co-ordinator for the Creative Communicators in Petersfield. She has co-written a book with her husband John about their experiences when climbing Kilimanjaro. It is aimed at both trekkers and those who are going through a dark time in their lives. How to conquer a mountain: Kilimanjaro lessons is available as a paperback and an e-book on Amazon, with all proceeds going to charity. The German translation Wie man einen Berg bezwingt: Was der Kilimanjaro uns gelehrt hat was published in June 2017.


  1. I think finding a focus word for the year is a really helpful idea - although if I stick to the initials rule, I could be lazy and just go for "focus"!

    1. Focus sounds like a great "focus" word for the year, Fiona. :)

    2. Thank you for these thoughts on surrender. I chose my word for the year earlier on in January, it's perseverance. Think I might find it hard to think of a word beginning with V. All I can think of is victorious which is the life we live in Christ.