"Worry is a cornered dog, growling and hair bristled, trying to fend reality off, snarling and putting all its energy towards the fight that is coming.
In Brennan Manning’s new devotional, Dear Abba, he writes about surrender, which is the opposite of worry.
“The emotional state of surrender” writes Harry Tiebout, “is a state in which there is a persisting capacity to accept reality. It is a state that is really positive and creative.” When the Christian surrenders to the Spirit on the unconscious level, there is no residual battle, and relaxation ensues with freedom from strain and conflict. Submission, on the other hand, is halfhearted acceptance. It is described by such words as resignation, compliance, acknowledgement, concession, and so forth. There remains a feeling of reservation, a tug in the direction of non-acceptance. Surrender produces wholehearted acceptance.
My wife Mary has a mantra. Sometimes mantras are clever but soulless, and so they dissipate like morning fog. But sometimes they are life preservers. Mary’s mantras are always life preservers.
“Worry does not guard the sacred future,” she says.
“Who are you?” I say back.
She means that there is a sacred future, one that God is inviting us to both join and co-create, and it’s filled with possibilities, uncertainties, what ifs, joy, and pain. And we cannot guard that sacred future. We can only walk into it, whatever it is, choosing to believe that God is good (another mantra that can be a life preserver).
She means that worry doesn’t help the sacred future to come more quickly, or without pain.
She means that in order to walk into the sacred future, we must accept reality, no matter what reality is, and surrender is required.
“Be it unto me, just as you said.”
Another Mary said those words, and when she said them, they were words of surrender. I’m sure there was some worry along the way. Surrender doesn’t mean there are no more highs and lows. But whatever worry she did have, she didn’t let it turn her into a snarling dog, bracing for a fight.
Surrender walks into the sacred future, hand-in-hand with One who knows how to calm the snarling dog, and lead it into freedom.
And you get to choose how you will live, worry or surrender."