What is the Difference Between Giving Up and Surrender?

“Linguistically, surrender means to surrender to somebody, but religiously, surrender simply means trust, relaxing. It is an attitude rather than an act: you live through trust.” – Osho

There is a difference between giving up and surrender. When you say that you are going to give up, it implies powerlessness and disappointment. It means that you have been resistant and fighting what is and instead of continuing to fight that you are turning your back on what is. It means that you don’t like what is happening, but you will frown through it because you have decided that you can’t do anything to change it. It’s doesn’t come from a place of empowerment, but rather from deep disappointment. It’s unwillingly giving up control of a situation.

Surrender is more graceful. Before you can surrender, you must accept. You must look at the situation or moment in your life and tell yourself that this must be happening for a reason. You have to look at the situation and realize that there is no need to fight. You see it as a moment in your life. You see it as something that has to happen to you and for you. You have to look deep into your heart and trust that everything will work out the way that it is supposed to work out. You have to let go of outcomes, expectations and allow it to be as it is. You surrender to something greater than you, something divine that is working in your life for your benefit.

Personally, in my life, I’ve had a hard time with surrender. I consider myself a doer and I believe that there is nothing that I can’t accomplish. I don’t let go of control quickly or easily. I push a situation until I feel like I have gone as far as I can go. In the past, it was painful for me to give up. I attached so much negativity to it. I thought it was my failure that I couldn’t control the situation or come up with some solution. I didn’t understand what surrender was. I thought it was my job to fix it and if I couldn’t fix it then there must be something wrong with me.

It was only when I started paying attention to the way things play out in life. There is a natural order to life. People, places and things are placed in our life to help in elevating us to the next level. While I was driving myself crazy with frustration, life was still working out for my benefit. I had to open my eyes and see that things came when I needed them whether I made it happen or not. Sometimes, I just needed to get busy doing something else and wait for the pieces of the puzzle to fall into place. I am still a doer. I still have multiple things going at any moment, but now, I recognize my limits. I still get frustrated at times, because I am human. But, now I know when to surrender. The moment when I feel like I’ve done all that I can, I trust that everything is working out in my benefit. I surrender and allow it to play out the way that it is supposed to and let go of the need for it to look the way I expect it to look. I keep my eyes open. I think that it’s amazing to be able to watch a miracle at work in my life.

If you look closely, you can see the miracle playing out in your own. Trust that everything is working for you.

Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. They are performed by those who temporarily have more for those who temporarily have less.- A Course in Miracles

Can you think back to moments when it seemed like everything came together in your life? Did someone show up with exactly what you needed exactly when you needed it? Did a conversation turn into a solution? Can you trust that life is working for your benefit? Share in comments.

One comment

  1. It’s a nice story to tell ourselves that everything happens for a reason and therefore it’s all just wonderful. Well no it isn’t always. And yes, sometimes you do have to give up. One description of acceptance is that you ‘let go’ of whatever isn’t working and move on. Well, there are things that sometimes you can’t let go of even if you want to. Tell the people in Africa who are getting shot, starved, raped, beaten and driven out of their homes about ‘letting go & moving on’. Moving on to what? More of same?

    Or people who will never get a job that pays enough to live decently. They can’t ‘let go’ of the crappy job they have unless they want to lose what little they have. All they can do is realize that that’s it, scraping by is all they’re ever going to get, There’s nothing to do but give up or drive yourself crazy wanting what you’ll never have.

    How are either of those scenarios ‘miracles’? How do those people ‘benefit’ from the misery imposed on them? It’s all very cozy for people who live in relatively wealthy countries to come up with these warm & fuzzy theories. Life is neutral and doesn’t care whether you like it or whether what’s happening is good for you or not. There’s no grand plan that is ‘working for you’. You get what you get, and do what you can with it, or not.

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