Surrender…that’s not a word that we say easily, is it? It’s a word that is synonymous with giving up or failure. But God sees surrender differently than the world does.
One of the definitions of surrender, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “to give oneself up into the power of another; to yield.” That’s what we see a “deeply troubled and distressed” Jesus doing as He was praying that dark night in the olive grove called Gethsemane in Mark 14:32-42.
“Abba, Father,” He cried out, “everything is possible for You. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not mine.”
–Mark 14:36 (NLT)
Jesus knew how difficult the task of crucifixion that was ahead of Him was going to be. He knew that physical pain, suffering, heartbreak, and separation from God, the Father, was coming. Yet, He chose to give Himself over to the power of the Father by giving Himself over to the contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards who accompanied His accuser, Judas. He chose to surrender because of His great love for YOU and for me.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we, too, are called to surrender—to surrender our lives to Jesus. We are called to put Him first—first in our decision-making process, first in thoughts and deeds, and first in our relationships. Surrender is never easy, but it is always worth it when we are surrendering to the One who created us, who loves us, who calls us His, and who wants the very best for us.
Today, I invite you to do an exercise called a “surrender.” This exercise may look easy, but is deceptively hard because it challenges so many muscles at the same time. This exercise is symbolic of us giving Jesus everything we have and everything we are. As you perform this exercise, think about all that Jesus surrendered because He loves YOU.
1. Standing in front of a horizontal yoga mat (or beach towel), stand tall and reach your hands straight overhead. Keep both hands in the air throughout the entire exercise.
2. Reach your right foot back so that you are doing a reverse lunge, and then, slowly and carefully, drop down onto your knee.
3. Reach your left foot back and then slowly drop your left knee to the mat so that you are kneeling on both knees, thus the title “surrender”.
4. Bring the right foot forward and position it flat on the floor. Push yourself back into a standing position.
5. Repeat 5-9 times on the right side for a total of 6-10 reps. Then, repeat on the left side.
To make it easier: You can do this move next to a chair or table, holding on to the furniture to help with balance and to help provide some leverage as you return to a standing position. You can also fold your mat once or twice to provide a little extra padding beneath your knees.
To make it harder: Hold dumbbells in your hands. Remember to keep those arms straight in the air throughout the entire exercise!
If kneeling is not happening for you today: First, of all, there’s no shame. Do what your body can do. Reach your hands straight up into the air. Keep those hands raised throughout all the moves. Stand in front of a step and first, do 6-10 reverse (or backward) lunges with your right foot back; then, do 6-10 reverse lunges with your left leg back. Next, do step ups on to the step—first, step up with your right foot and then bring up your left foot. Bring your right foot back down off the step and then your left. So it looks like right-up, left-up, right-down, left-down. That’s one rep. Do 6-10 reps on your right side and then repeat on the left.