Finding Strength in Surrender: Part One

“The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.” – William Booth

There is radical power in surrender. Strength is found in letting go of a clenched fist, and emptying the weight you are holding onto. By surrendering, you release the burden of maintaining what you deem a perfect life should be, and free yourself of the load you carry on your shoulders.

In this two-part series, we are exploring the positive effects of surrender, and how this powerful tool can lead to untold inner strength and happiness.

Lose your life to find it

To find your life, you must lose it. In a study done by Dr. Bernard Rimland, 216 students were asked to judge ten people they knew and mark them either selfish or unselfish, and also mark them as happy or not happy. The results were striking; 70% judged unselfish seemed happy while 95% of those judged selfish seemed unhappy. The results showed that so called selfish people seem far less happy than those whose efforts are unselfish and devoted to making others happy.

This study reflects on the burden of holding onto our own life with clenched fists. We are often obsessed with the desire that our lives go the way we want. To give up that desire, to surrender it and to be unselfish, is to give away our lives.

This does not mean forfeiting all of your goals, it means letting go when things do go as planned. Rather than spending weeks stewing over something that didn’t go as you hoped, try letting go. When you cradle your desires loosely, a massive burden is released and our souls are freed. After all, when we surrender, we are no longer limited to defining our happiness by getting what we want.

Helping others will help yourself

Ralph Waldo Emerson put it best when he said “You cannot sincerely help another without helping yourself.” By emptying ourselves and surrendering our own self-centered desires we are in turn filled with grace. Each act of kindness and self-giving love that we present expands and enriches our own lives. The act of surrendering our own needs to meet the needs of others begets a positive outcome in our own soul.

Many studies have found that the ability to show appreciation and love is the defining mark of the happiest human beings. In fact, when a person engages in self-giving love they use a higher-level brain function. This releases a series of neurochemical reactions that ultimately shower their own systems in positive emotions.

Love never fails

When we surrender and truly empty ourselves, we make room in our souls for love. This is the ultimate power. As the Bible says, “Love never fails” – 1 Corinthians 13:8. By consciously choosing a loving action that accents the good in others, a deep change occurs within ourselves; egoism fades, days are filled with spontaneous compassion, generosity and nurturing.

If there’s anything better than being loved, it is loving. But let’s be honest: we as humans love within limits. We all have our own needs, drives, rights and goals. We need to respect these aspects as well.

The love that comes from being emptied of self-seeking ways is not related to self-denial. Self-giving love does not demand a huge sacrifice. Small things done with great love most often characterize the actions of people who have found the power of surrender.

If you’d like to read more on the power of surrender, check out the book You’re Stronger Than You Think. Next week, we hope you tune in as we dive into part-two of our series.

Was there a moment in your life where you found strength in surrendering? Share with us in the comments – we’d love to hear from you!


  • Vernon Brant says:

    If our deepest desire is to be intimately known and loved, then the reciprocal of that would be to know and love others. We cannot truly do that unless we operate from a position of surrender. That makes sense to me, but how often do we walk in that truth?

  • Deborah Battle says:

    There is a balance when it comes to giving of oneself, but not being a doormat for the wolves out there. This is the real world. Jesus gave in spite of KNOWING who the wolves were, yet he didn’t allow Himself to be crushed in any way by their betrayal. Of course it hurt-He was human. But it didn’t define Him. Nor did He allow those relationships without creating boundaries to protect Himself. It is this middle ground I have just begun to learn about. I have always been a giver-of love, time, acceptance, forgiveness, money, help. And with that comes pain from either never getting back (being used) or at the worst, betrayal of my trust (broken heart). I am leaning on Christ to help me with this, because my worst fear is to be the extreme of either end – have a hardened heart or continue to spill my guts to everyone who will look my way, whether they are worthy of my love or not. I am looking forward to this new adventure with my Lord!!

    • Deborah Battle says:

      When I think of the boundaries Jesus had, I think of the “wipe the dust off your feet” instruction for those who didn’t receive Him or His word (time wasters!) , the many times he walked away from people until they literally chased Him down (I think this kept the “fakers” away), the situations where He told His disciples to participate or “do their part” in the miracles (keeping that “codependency” in their hearts and laziness in their bodies in check!), to name a few.

  • Millie says:

    I have found frear gain, in letting it go. Letting go of what I thought my life,career, would be booming at 61 yrs old . Instead I dont have a career due to an vehicle accident in 2013, I don’t really have a life, at least not the way I would have desired it to be so. But, what I have gained in this process, i can truly say , out weighted anything I could have or accomplished, and for this iam very Grateful to our Father God. I’ve learned it place as an Intercessor, prayer warrior, student of the Word if God, the things God has so graciously placed inside me, to be a Blessing to others, to be a giver of good things ignited by his Spirit. My pain has been swallowed up my God enabling me to surrender my agenda.

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