If you want to experience chaos in your life, go a whole week without making a single decision. The only way this might be good is when you and your friends are trying to decide where to eat. If I could exempt myself from that process every time because God told me to, I for sure would. But obviously this wouldn’t work long term, right? You’d spend all day doing nothing because your day is made up of a thousand of small decisions. From the clothes that you wear to the classes you take, you make choices every single day. Decide not to do any of these and your life would turn into complete chaos. Eventually you have to make a decision.

The problem is that we often think we have to make these decisions all on our own. We seek to control our lives instead of living in surrender. Control forces us into an orphan mindset, believing that we don’t have all that we need and that we are in this alone. Surrender takes us into sonship, believing that God has more than enough for us and that we are never alone. The main difference here is relationship. Control doesn’t foster relationship with God, it hinders it. If we want to truly surrender, we don’t live passively, we actually invite God into our lives and make decisions with him, trusting that he will make our lives work out for his good.

Isaiah 45:18-19 says “For the Lord is God, and he created the heavens and the earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos.” I cannot think of anything more chaotic than a world where everyone lives passively. Passivity leads us out of relationships. A relationship with God doesn’t mean you get to sit around and do nothing. It means you get to engage in a mutual relationship, one where you trust God and he trust you back. He made you to be his son or daughter, not his puppet. That means he wants to do life with you, not tell you what to do all the time. Trust is impossible without relationship. You can believe that someone is good, but you probably wouldn’t trust them with your money or your dog if you don’t know them, right? It’s the same with God. If we forget his character or don’t know him, we’re going to have a really hard time trusting him.

Every time the Israelites stopped trusting God, it was because they forgot who he was and all that he had done for them. They switched from surrender to control, from children to orphans. Not only did they forget who God was, they thought God forgot about them. Because they started believing that God no longer cared about them, they stopped following his ways. And every single time it ended in chaos. But in God’s kindness, he restored them every single time they turned back. Once relationship was restored, so was trust.

See, trust and relationship go hand in hand. If you want to learn how to stop controlling everything and partner with God instead, you have to believe that God can be trusted AND that God trusts you! Isaiah 26:3 says “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all those whose thoughts are fixed on you.” Notice this doesn’t say “all those who do exactly what you say” or “those who never make mistakes.” No, it says “those who keep their thoughts on you.” Surrender is all about submitting to the way God thinks, letting your mind be transformed by his Holy Spirit. You can be in tune with God and still make mistakes. It’s not about how well you perform, but where your heart is rooted. If your heart is rooted in perfection, you’re going to live out of control. But if your heart is rooted in Christ, knowing that he is capable of redeeming any mess you make, then you can live out of surrender.

You have the Holy Spirit inside you. That means the living God lives in you. God can’t deny himself or forget himself, therefore, it’s impossible for him to forget about you. God isn’t insecure in his choice to love and trust you. The Holy Spirit is more than enough to help you live in alignment with God’s heart. When you choose to live in surrender instead of control, God is more than capable of making your life work out for his good. He is good, so he will be good to you.

Author | Emily Baker