Transformation Through Surrender
Rebekah Lyons, author of “Freefall to Fly,” explains the importance of surrender. Surrender follows the worst of the worst, she explains, but it leads to transformation. Lyons says that this transformation is giving control over to God.
So there’s kind of a back story on the sub-title to the book. I can’t see anything with this light. So, are you out there? I wanted it to be a A Breathtaking Journey Toward A Life of Surrender. And the publisher’S like, “No! “Nobody wants to surrender. “That thing is just gonna sit there on the shelf.” and I thought it was really interesting. I thought that surrender felt more true to the journey, because I went to New York looking for meaning and instead I found surrender. So I really wanted to tell all that story in it’s entirety and the purity of what that process looked like. The whole team’s like, “That’s just not gonna sell.”
So I decided, you know, because I don’t take no for an answer very well, I decided to pull a hundred women and I just asked them, like nationwide, through my little Facebook friends, “Which would you buy? “A Breathtaking Journey Toward A Life of Meaning” “or A Breathtaking Journey Toward A Life of Surrender.” And interestingly enough, everyone was like, “Definitely ‘Surrender’!” or “Definitely ‘Meaning’!” I mean there was no like haphazard opinion on it. It was very dogmatic like.
And what was so hilarious is that most of the “‘Surrenders'” were New Yorkers and most of the “‘Meanings'” were in the middle of the coasts. And I thought, “Now is there a common theme here?” That we as New Yorkers are so beat down and haggard we’re like, “I’m done, already! “Do what you will!” Or are those of us in the middle of the country going, “Is this all there is? “Is there more? “Am I just gonna do Target returns “and you know, go to Starbucks four times a day “and get out my laptop and write something.”
So I just thought that was, that’s extra. That is taking up part of my seven minutes, but I thought that was an interesting dynamic on our view of meaning or surrender. But I’d like to share, just in the few moments that we have, that there is a very direct connection between surrender and flourishing. It is, it’s the kingdom, it’s the upside down, “The last shall be first”. That if we lose our life we’ll find it. That His strength is made perfect in our weakness. It’s just what we read throughout Scripture and I think when we follow that narrative out we find that that’s true. So, I already shared my story this morning.
I won’t bore you with it again, but essentially, I moved to New York and I crashed and burned. And I narrate that in, chronicle that in Freefall to Fly. but the essence was that in the 18 months that after I got there, I was gripped by panic and fear. Panic attacks, avoiding subways, trains, elevators, crowds. That’s impossible to do in the city, but nonetheless I tried. I live a life that was crippled. We had a woman come in and she talked to our whole Q audience. We had her come in, her name is Bobbette Buster.
And she leads this storytelling, she consults for Pixar, she’s brilliant. And she talks about this epic, grand story. Everyone of them has a narrative arc where the protagonist ventures out he starts with being unsettled or he starts with status quo then he’s unsettled, then he ventures out and then there’s freefall and then there’s a proactive choice and it goes on and on and on until stage 10 where he finds transformation.
And every grand theme, every life story entails these 10 steps. We’re all just like edge of our seat, writing this down like, “What stage are you in? “What stage are you in? “Oh, I think I’m in three. “No, I’m back in relapse.” You know, and so, we were all over the place. What it unlocked for all of us was to see that there is actually a grand story, there is a narrative arc for each of us. And we’re going to find seasons in our life that ultimately bring, that ultimately take us towards these stages of transformation.
And what’s so unique about this story, and I heard all this, literally, about a month after I kind of felt like I’d walked those and then some. Is that stage nine is, guess what, surrender. Nine, that’s surrender. That’s following relapse, which is the worst of the worst, which is a despair that believes that, “I will never actually change.” It’s when you believe that you, like, depression is a loss of hope. But despair is the fear that you’ll never change.
And following that, is surrender. And following that, is something called transubstantiation. Which is a physical change in body from what you were, you are no longer and now who you are is fully redeemed and fully restored. And that as you face the cycle going on for the rest of your life, you’re still going to face adversity. But you’re going to come at it from a transubstantiated place, that is no longer the way that it was before.
So you will be met, you will meet adversity with armor that says God would, like the Psalmist, when God says, “Remember what I did over here “and here and here and here. “When you’re in the middle of your lament “that I have begun a work and I will continue that.” and you will stand armored and knowing that as you face adversity so therein will He meet you. So then that’s what surrender looked like. And for me, I wrote a poem on the inside flap of the book that basically, just God gave me About a week after September 20th of 2011, when I met surrender. I start with saying that surrender changes everything but we can’t choose it, it chooses us. And it finds us in our darkest moments, in our loneliest hours.
When we are cuddled and curled on the edge of the floor, and we start to believe that we have lived a life of purposelessness and despair, and how could it be that a good God would order all these things and He says, “No, I am here. “And I am truth and I love you. “And I see you redeemed. “Let me rename you. “Let me take you back to the way “I knit you in your mothers womb. “All this for my glory.” and I think that’s just a promise that he just wants us to come to the end of ourselves where the life that we’ve ordered and orchestrated just falls flat. And he says, “I have exceeding and abundance “above all you could ask or think, if you dare believe it. “If you dare surrender to the buttoned up “pretty, perfect life that you thought it would be. “No, I have far more.”
And so surrender is a pivotal moment, it’s what transforms everything. And when we become transubstantiated then we enter into something that I love to call a surrendered life. And that life basically says that, “I’m not in control, anymore, I’m done. “I’m not going to dictate tomorrow, “or next week or next month or next year “because You’re at the helm.” and so I have a word for every year. In 2011 was rescue, in 2012 it was retreat, and in 2013 it was open. And basically that word said, “God whatever door you open “I will walk through. “I’m not in charge. “From now on you are in charge, and I will say yes. “And you need to make it really clear. “And you need to give me the courage to say ‘yes’ “to something that’s very unknown.”
And this year I have been in more uncharted territory than I have ever been in, in my entire life. And yet that I know, that it is from Him. Because surrender says, “I’m no longer going “to dictate how this goes down.” and my time is up, so we’ll go from there. [applause] [calm acoustic music]