Surrender; letting go. These are words that are heard often when being taught how to cope with something that we cannot control. “Give it to God,” we say. There is nothing tangible or straightforward about this, but many of us (including myself) will say it as a form of comfort to someone as if it is a simple solution. Perhaps just because something is simple, doesn’t mean that it is easy.
So how do you do it? I think for me, the main component has been humility. After let down after let down, I finally accepted the fact that I was not running the show. I believed for the longest time that I already knew that; but who was I fooling? I almost ran myself completely ragged trying to control things – everything. Jobs, people, school, trying to get pregnant – but in reality, the only thing that I have any real control over is my attitude. I have absolutely no control over people, places, things or situations. For a Type A person like me, if that doesn’t humble you, it only infuriates you.
Spiritual teacher, Sri Chimnoy says that “surrender is a journey from the outer turmoil, to the inner peace”. For me, the outer turmoil displays itself in complete frustration and irritability. I may get angered by something that a person does, but at the end of the day (when I really reflect on it), that anger was almost always about something much bigger than that person. The inner peace is knowing that everything is exactly as it should and most importantly: That at the end of the day, I have no idea what I am doing. The peace for me comes when I finally admit, that I just don’t know – and that that’s okay.
The Serenity Prayer tells us to ask God to “grant us the serenity, to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things that we can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. For me, the knowing the difference is where I tend to get stuck. It is only when I finally get humbled and admit that I don’t know, that the answers come.