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Surrender— without giving up

Updated: May 23, 2021



“From command and control leadership models and regulatory business practices to the current ways people misuse their much valued freedoms of speech, religion, and the press, destructive behavior abounds in the 21st-century life. It’s notoriously difficult for any species to change instinctual or deeply ingrained habits without a strong outside force acting as a catalyst. Modern well educated human beings are no different in this regard, which is why any effort to change unproductive attitudes and reactive patterns initially feels as if we are pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Despite our best intentions and proven brilliance in solving technical challenges, we keep making the same grossly ineffective interpersonal mistakes over and over again.

And yet, if we approach social intelligence issues with the curious, problem-solving stance innovators routinely adopt in addressing computer design flaws, missile- building conundrums, and home construction dilemmas, we find that the sequence involved is similar: most people, in recognizing they’ve hit a block, get stuck in the inevitable first stage of fruitlessly trying all possible variations on the same habitual themes. Frustration builds, eventually resulting in rage or powerlessness. Experienced artist and inventors, on the other hand do something different after hitting the same wall a half dozen times. They surrender - without giving up - entering a constructive phase of “not doing”. In this limbo between letting go of the old and imagining the new, innovative thinkers noticed previously ignored or hidden factors standing in their way. They asked for help and/or do some research outside their field”. ~ The Power of the Herd

In The Power of the Herd, Linda Kohanov reveals the ways in which humans can learn from the behavior and social infrastructure of horses. Its an interesting read about leadership. While reading the above excerpt, I found myself honing in on two concepts.

I asked God to talk to me about the

concepts I was drawn to, and how they relate to Christ followers.

Let’s take a look:

  1. “ It’s notoriously difficult for any species to change instinctual or deeply ingrained habits without a strong outside force acting as a catalyst”.

  1. “They surrender - without giving up - entering a constructive phase of “not doing”. In this limbo between letting go of the old and imagining the new, innovative thinkers noticed previously ignored or hidden factors standing in their way. They asked for help and/or do some research outside their field”.

As believers, we are faced with many strong outside forces. These forces can act as a catalyst, moving us into self-reliance or prompting us to seek God for true wisdom. The “inner” power of the Holy Spirit works WITH our faith, helping us discern how the outside forces are working for or against us.

As we understand more fully God‘s providential purpose for working our circumstances together for His glory AND our good, something spectacular takes place in our Spiritual maturity and impact.

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:3-5‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

As you reflect this week, look at a personal circumstance where there has been an outside catalyst. Take this situation before the Lord and ask these questions:

  1. are you testing my faith to show me something in my heart or trying to humble an exalted thought/belief within me (Deuteronomy 8:2)?

  2. do I need to make an adjustment in my strategy regarding the way I’m handling this circumstance for a breakthrough?

  3. are you trying to move me, start something new or end something?


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