Surrender and Giving up on the Life You Dreamed Of

I love things that make me think. The ABC TV show, “Brothers & Sisters” is my wife and I’s show. That and the TV series House, which after about a year of watching recorded re-runs I think we’ve almost seen them all.

A few weeks ago on Brothers & Sisters, Nora Walker, the matriarch of the Walker family played by Sally Field, had started her own radio talk show where she gives motherly advice. She made the comment to a caller (which happened to be her daughter Kitty who recently lost her husband) that:

You have to give up on the life you dreamed of to
find the life that’s waiting for you

I’ve been working hard on a book I’m writing about finding happiness (which is why my posts here at How To Be Happy have slowed to a crawl). The topic I’m currently on is surrender. I believe Nora’s comment hits a nice chord on the topic.

Surrender is about letting go, it’s a control thing. By concentrating on wants and desires (which are never satisfied), you miss out on what you need. What you need to be happy and spiritually fit comes from within and can be found in the moment you’re in right now, not the moments you’re dreaming of in the future.

Surrendering can be difficult for one reason; it deals with faith and control.

Lack of faith comes from lack of experience. And lack of experience (in this context) comes from trying to maintain control. You think you surrender something and let it go by acting like you don’t care anymore, yet if you look closely, you’re still emotionally attached to the outcome.

Complete surrender is comprised of two completely separate parts: letting go and turning something over.

Following is a practical exercise to illustrate the difference in letting go and turning something over.

Grab an object like a rock (or anything) and hold it tightly in your hand with your palm facing up. With palm sill facing upwards, open your hand, let go. What happens?

It’s still there.

You may have let it go, but you still haven’t turned it over completely, you still desire control over it or are lacking faith in some sense.

Now, repeat the process, but after you’ve opened your hand, turn your wrist and arm so your palm is facing down. What happens?

The object falls.

Gravity takes over just as the universe and your higher power will when you truly turn something over.

The most difficult part is not bending over to pick it back up; to have faith it’s where it’s supposed to be.

I practice this exercise when I’m having a hard time turning something over. I usually do this in bed if I can’t sleep. I use the thought of what’s bothering me in place of the physical object while extending my arms out in front of me.

You have to give up on the life you dreamed of
to find the life that’s waiting for you

I did not wake up one day with faith. There was a point I became too miserable and had to try something different. I had to let go of EVERYTHING I was holding on to as I realized it was slowly killing me.

There was a tremendous sense of freedom that came with such deep surrender. I remember the moment it happened. I was turning off Metcalf Avenue heading West onto Shawnee Mission Parkway in the town where I live when I heard something on he radio, “Grace is God’s reaction to your action.” It was about 6 months after I’d started my spiritual journey and I had been working hard on myself and my recovery. I knew at that instant I was going to be OK. I knew for the first time I didn’t have to know how my life would turn out. I didn’t have to know what I was going to do for a living, where I was going to live, how I was going to pay my bills, etc. I just knew that if did the next right thing, everything would work out. I gave up on the life I had dreamed of and surrendered to whatever it was that awaited.

The most amazing things happen when you surrender, give up control, and stop fighting. By giving up on the life you dreamed of, you break free of expectation and your limited imagination of what’s possible. You begin to realize the possibility of a life beyond that which you’re even capable of dreaming.

Want to know how to be Happy regardless of Circumstances?

Find out more about what keeps you from happiness and how to break the chains in my free book. Sign up to receive your copy instantly.


  1. Mary W says

    Gee Jared, this is exactly what I needed to hear today. Surrendering the life I have dreamed of to live the life that I need.

    To say I am still a control freak after many years of recovery is an understatement. But I control far less today than I did many years ago when I thought I WAS in charge.

    I am embarking on a journey inward, again. I have questions to answer that aren’t the usual run of the mill ones. These go deeper
    and farther into where the secrets are. For me to be happy, I must rid myself of certain ideas and teachings that no longer work for me in my life anymore. I feel like the snake who sheds it’s skin each year. And so, I shed another layer of that onion I have been peeling for all these many years.

    For me to surrender to the moment, a higher power or anything of that nature was always foreign to me. I ask myself a question all the time “Are you happy?” and I usually know the answer, no I am not, but I fool myself into believing that I am. But I am happier than I was many years ago. Because I have a process to go to relieve myself of those old ideas that still cling so deeply to my being.

    Each day, I try to surrender to something greater than myself. And I hear Yoda saying, no try, DO! So I have to really dig deep into my soul and surrender to something that I don’t see or hear, but I know is there. Intuitively. And this is something that I will have to do for the rest of my life. A day at a time.

    • Jared says

      I’ve always loved that saying also, with Yoda standing there in the swamp, “Do, or do not. There is no ‘try.'” I relate also to what you said about fooling yourself into believing that you’re happy. I spent the majority of my life before recovery that way simply because I was looking for external things to make me happy.

      I was laying in bed last night and thinking about the concept of words and experiences having “depth and weight.” That I strive for a peace and fulfilling balance today in which every experience has depth and weight. I work constantly to stay in the moment and accept where I’m at, expressing gratitude and realizing the depth and weight of each moment. Yet at the same time, not giving any more depth and weight to things other than what they really are. i.e. expectations!

  2. says

    Surrender — what a great topic. I love how you use the rock analogy to describe the importance of turning over. Real faith is so elusive, but absolutely vital to surrender. Thanks for the thought-provoking words!

  3. says

    Wonderful very uplifting and motivating. I wish you luck with your book and can’t wait to grab a copy when it comes out :)

    In order to live a fulfilling and happy life its integral to let go from time to time and reflect and focus on what really matters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>