I have spent the last month trying to put into words the difference between surrendering and quitting. There is a very fine line between the two.
In the simplest terms… Surrendering means giving up and quitting means stopping. Again, these can seem like the same thing, but they’re not. Here are examples of what I am talking about.
SURRENDERING: I recently attempted the Rachel Carson Endurance Challenge; a 35 mile hike that is done in one day. I made it 22.6 miles before I had to surrender to the MANY blisters on my feet. I could barely walk any further even though I wanted to continue. It was good to stop at this point. Many things could have happened had I continued. I was saved from further injury, and from having to be rescued from the middle of next hill in the woods.
QUITTING: I was working out consistently, and eating very healthy. (You see, I struggle with food. It is an addiction for me.) Instead of surrendering to what I needed to do, I quit watching what I was eating. I stopped making good choices. It has been bad that I quit doing what I need to do. I’m back to feeling like my life is out of control, and I have gained some weight back.
Surrendering still involves action that results in a positive end. Quitting involves inaction or inappropriate action to a negative end.
When we surrender to God, He only has a positive end in mind for us.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 23:11
When I don’t surrender, I quit doing what God wants me to do. When I do that, there are negative effects. I’ve been asking myself why I do this. Here is why I think I do it… I’m prideful. I want control. I want to fit in to what I think “normal” is like.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. Romans 7:15-23
Okay… I know that was a long passage, but I believe that I finally understand it. When I do not surrender to God and do “my thing” it is sin. I am a prisoner to sin, because I have “sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) It is only when I surrender to Christ that I can be set free from quitting, and living in a destructive way.