The Delusion of Serious Moves

Freedom comes when we stop the loony delusion that we’re a match for God, when we stop pretending that we have the resources or the skill or the knowledge or the tenacity to pull our life into clear space. It’s a beast of a job trying to hold the world up on our shoulders.

The great tragedy of refusing to trust God is that we are left to trust only ourselves. The older Christians, and certainly all the mystics, used the word ‘surrender’ often when speaking of the human encounter with God. We don’t hear the word so much any more. Perhaps we are so committed to the idea of a God who exists merely to cheer us on our way, a God who would never intrude into our schemes or desires, that the notion of ‘surrender’ doesn’t mean anything now that we’re more enlightened. How do I surrender to a god who’s little more than a projection of my own interests and inclinations?

When we are left to ourselves, though, the world is simply too much for us. This is why if we do not have a God, eventually we will create one. The call of the Scriptures, again and again, is to surrender to God and live. To throw up our hands in happy defeat and waltz into the party. If God is love and kindness and life and hope, then we should be falling all over ourselves to see who is the first to cry ‘uncle.’

When Jacob wrestled the Angel of the Lord, he came away with a limp. When Moses met God in the desert, he discovered that his future was Egypt, and there was no escape. When Saul met the Light, he fell to the dirt trembling. They met their match. And each of them discovered the happy condition of being completely out of moves. Nothing to do but drop the weight and the fight and say yes to joy.

What is the difference
between your experience of existence
and that of a saint?

The saint knows
that the spiritual path
is a sublime chess game with God
and that the Beloved
has just made such a fantastic move
that the saint is now continually
tripping over joy
and bursting out in laughter
and saying, “I surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
you have a thousand serious moves.

– Hafiz, “Tripping Over Joy”

16 Replies to “The Delusion of Serious Moves”

  1. Loving the wisdom here, Winn. “To throw up our hands in happy defeat and waltz into the party.”
    It’s a long story, but I think that’s about exactly what happened when my two tw-year-olds found a dead rat in the alley the other day. I threw my hands up in the air and it was such a sweet relief.
    By the way, I have tried to write a good bit about surrender as I’m beginning to understand it, I find surrender is most often for me a kinesthetic experience, something quiet tactile and immensely humbling.

  2. You know the other week, I mentioned to our Prioress that this new responsibility I had been given made me nervous. I’d seen a number of people pass through this area of responsibility and come out a mess. So I trembled, when this came my way and grabbed the Holy Spirit w/ my concerns. He said, “Just remember, you have no power, you have no goodness; you have had a measure of interior healing. Also remember…you are not all that smart.” Nuf said.

      1. Well, I am serving, along with another person, as a Dean for one year. We provide, by the grace of God (and I don’t say that lightly), help to people who are unable to get some resolution in their living or work places. When you get 2 sinners under one roof, you can have some strife…..in case you haven’t noticed. 🙂

  3. so very glad that life is not all up to me… there are days when i want to make every decision and be in total control of my life and the lives of those around me… then i wake up and realize that’s not what i want. i want to surrender to the GOD that loves me… like nothing else and no one else. i love him too. it’s true it’s love.

  4. I love the piece by Hafiz, and all the comments! For over 10 years, God has been removing all the things that propped me up (or maybe it’s all things I thought propped me up). Nevertheless, it has been nerve wracking for me to go through the loss of health, income and the death of many dear family members. I covet your prayers!

  5. I’m entering the more mature world of uttering, “I surrender” on a more continual basis. This is just so succinctly glorious in depth of thought and truth. So glad I stopped by here.

  6. Sitting smack in the middle of a whole lot of “I surrender.” What’s crazy to me is that it is even a chess game to begin with. That I would for even one moment not rehearse His miraculous and move forward knowing He’s got it. God has shown His glory more than once and in ways that are truly amazing and yet, the “I surrender” comes so hard while we’re waiting for Him to do things His way. Craziness. He is good. Oh so good and I always see in hindsight how amazing “I surrender” is. Thanks for the post.

words have a way of making friends. drop a few here.