surrender: the freedom of not knowing

If nothing else has shown us our lack of control, 2020 has. We do the best we can, but there’ll always come a point when there’s not much else to do. There will always come a time when the only option is to surrender.

Breathe. Stretch. Shake. LET IT GO!

Y’all know that song? Well, that line is one of my mottos for 2021.

If nothing else has shown us our lack of control, 2020 has. We do the best we can, but there’ll always come a point when there’s not much else to do. There will always come a time when the only option is to surrender.

What is surrender?

For the longest time, I thought surrender meant giving up – losing. And losing voluntarily isn’t really my style, so naturally, surrender wasn’t a concept that I embraced. But – through time, trials, and some research, I see the beauty of it.

Eckhart Tolle describes it perfectly. Allow me to share his words from his book, Stillness Speaks:

When you fully accept that you don’t know, you give up struggling to find answers with the limited thinking mind, and that is when a greater intelligence can operate through you. Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand and becoming comfortable with not knowing.

To surrender is to admit we don’t know. That admission prompts us to ask questions. In the process of asking, we learn.

compare these scenarios:

Scenario A: It’s the first day of class. Howard enters with the assumption that he has nothing to learn. He figures he already knows exactly what the teacher is going to say, so he tunes out the lectures and his classmates. Howard leaves the class with the same mindset, beliefs, and level of knowledge he came with.

Scenario B: It’s the first day of class. Howard is excited to meet his teacher and dive into the material. He is curious and open to expansion. Because Howard knows he’s in class to learn, he pays attention to the lecture and the questions being asked. Howard take notes and adjusts his life, based on the information he learns.

WHICH SCENario will work out best for howard?

Yes, Scenario B! Howard is much better off with an attitude of surrender, or allowing himself (his mind and his life) to be transformed by the class.

The unspoken agreement on the first day of class is that students walk in expecting to learn something new. That process would be seriously interrupted if folks walked in thinking they already knew everything.

I see life a lot like class, and it’s easy to slip into autopilot and approach life like Scenario A. We, human beings, often forget [or refuse] to pay attention, learn, and adjust as necessary. No wonder we get stuck!

Good news: It’s okay to get stuck. There is another way.

Life becomes a lot less stressful WHEN we understand our position as students.


Surrendering is about getting a clear view of ourselves and of God. We are students, expecting to be shaped by the Lead Teacher, God, and the loving lessons He has for us. A willingness to humbly apply what we learn is the key to moving forward.

Let’s face it: Learning and growing sounds nice, but facing our lack of control is a real challenge.

Here are 3 tips to practice waving your white flag:

  • Understand your identity as a Beloved, Child of An Almighty God. Yes, those are a lot of adjectives, and each of them is important. Let’s take a closer look.
    • Beloved: dearly loved
    • Child: below an age of maturity
    • Almighty: having complete power
    • God: Love; creator and ruler of the universe; the Supreme being

Sometimes, it’s hard to surrender because we don’t quite understand how much God loves us. In this life, we are adults with adult responsibilities. So – it makes sense to forget we’re still God’s children, in the process maturing. Understanding that (1) we have a lot to learn and (2) we are dearly loved by an all powerful God empowers us to gladly surrender our desires.

  • Start the day with giving it away. This one is quite simple. Giving away the day could look like saying, “God, take this day. Have your way. I trust you.” Of course, change up the words to fit you and your personal relationship. In whatever way works best for you, make the decision to let go before anything happens. When situations come up throughout the day, remind yourself of your decision.
  • Look for the lesson. Remember that everything is for your good – that is your growth and development. Literally everything. When times are tough and it seems like there’s nothing you can do, remember your position as a student. Ask yourself, “what is this here to teach me?” And take notes!

What does surrender look like for you?

Author: Karah Palmer

My name is Karah Palmer, and I am so excited to share with you. Creating a space to speak about real life has been on my heart for years. I love to write and share my opinions on the experiences common to all human beings. My intention is to share my perspective and insights, in hopes that they spark a light in you. I’d love to hear from you!

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