You don't have to do this alone, I said. But he couldn't hear me in his deafness to allow anyone to help him. I'm going to recover on my own, he insisted. I don't need anyone to help me.
My heart aches for him. I've walked this road before with my husband, Randy, as he struggled to find freedom from his addiction to alcohol. And as I struggled to let go, to finally admit there wasn't anything I could do to fix or change him.
It's funny how we think we have the power to help someone else choose life over an addiction or other destructive behaviors. Fear got in the way of my ability to surrender my husband. I believed I had the power to decide for him. I thought if I let go of Randy, he would die. That's a scary place to put ourselves in--and rather presumptuous. Do I really think I have that kind of power? Hm...I don't think so. I am thankful there is One who has all power--and that one isn't me!
There comes a time when we need to raise the white flag. We not only surrender our loved ones, but we also surrender ourselves to the Lord. We let go so God can work in our lives and theirs. We let go so we can be free from the anxiety that is destroying us. By surrendering, we choose a way that brings life to us--and possibly to our loved ones as well.
There are no pretenses or illusions about any noble efforts to save someone you love. This is rock-bottom where the rubber sole meets the road. You admit that what you've been doing isn't working. You don't have what it takes to motivate another person to change their behavior. Only God can do that. Finally you give your impossible situation to God.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, they describe surrender in three steps:
- I can't do it.
- God can.
- I will let Him.
Author Jan Johnson says it well:
Letting go is both too simple and too difficult. It looks like weakness instead of strength, like losing instead of gaining, and it is. As we relinquish control and admit weaknesses, we remember who we are and why we're here...This need to control is rooted in fear, but I need to do the thing that is rooted in faith--surrender.
Once again, I find myself in a place of letting go. This time I know it's the very best for me and for the brother I love so dearly.
Is there a situation in your life where you need to surrender?