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True Freedom through Surrender

Recently I have been rereading, Abandonment to Divine Providence, by Jean-Pierre DeCaussade.  I strongly recommend this short work to anyone who is serous about advancing in the spiritual life.

A brief history of the work first.

The book was originally written in the 18th century as a series of lectures given by Jesuit priest Jean Pierre DeCaussade to  the Visitation order of nuns in France.  Most of these talks were compiled posthumously after De Caussade's death.

The premise of the book is radically simple: abandoning oneself totally to God.  So what does this type of abandonment look like?  (I will use the words abandonment and surrender interchangeably)

What do you think of when you hear the word surrender?

Most people would probably view surrender in militaristic terms as an admission of loss, and the giving away of freedom to the victorious party.  The problem with this type of surrender is that someone always loses.  This type of surrender only benefits one side

Another unhealthy view of surrender is the handing over of your freedom to a more powerful entity. The person in this scenario loses a part of themselves in the process.

Surrender/ abandonment in the Christian view takes on a totally different meaning.

In Christianity, surrender yields a positive result.  In surrendering, we yield our authority to a higher power in exchange for a greater freedom, and a deeper peace.

This type of surrender although eternally beneficial doesn't come easily or naturally.  Our country places a huge emphasis on independence and rightfully so, but independence alone does not lead to happiness.

Several times in the gospels, Jesus says that the secret of gaining happiness is to surrender oneself like a child.  Jesus is not telling telling us to be immature like children. He is instructing us to trust like children.  Children instinctively trust their parents to provide for their needs.  We are instructed to trust in God's provision as adults.

Personally, surrendering to God has not been easy for me, but I have experienced many benefits. In the past several weeks I have noticed the transformational effects of this type of surrendering.  I notice that I am more at peace.  I try to accept every life circumstance as coming from the hand of a God who deeply cares about me.  I have really stopped trying to control everything and try to view things from a more eternal perspective.   I also have more freedom in my life.   God gives me my space, but my freedom is more focused.  I am not just following every whim.

Here is a good question to illustrate this abandonment of your will to God in order to truly thrive.
When is a train most efficient and useful? When it is on the tracks...... or off the tracks?  A train that is off the tracks is free in sense to run wild but it also is likely to derail.  The tracks enable it to get to a destination quickly and safely and in the most direct way possible.

I would encourage you to read Abandonment to Divine Providence.  It's a little book, but it packs a punch.  It's a life changer.

I will end this post with these words from scripture which perfectly summarize surrender:

" Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." -Proverbs 3:5-6 



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