Why Surrendering to God is the Key to Appreciating the Present

How much of your time do you spend either planning for the future or dwelling on the past? Probably more than you care to admit. And while it’s important to plan for the future and learn from the past, too often we fail to live in the moment and appreciate who and where we are right now. If we’re always trying to control the future or wishing we could change the past, we miss out on what God is trying to do in our lives in the here and now.

Kendra von Esh, a Catholic writer, speaker, and host of the podcast Reality Reflections, stopped by Morning Air® this week to talk about why God has you right where He wants you, and that the key to recognizing that is surrendering to Him.

“I think I can relate with a vast majority of people out there who feel that they are in control of their lives,” she admitted. “They have goals, they have desires, they have deadlines, projects, things that they want to do in their life.”

Sharing her own experience of surrendering to the Lord and only seeing His plan in hindsight, Kendra said, “One of those things for me is writing my second book. But it is extremely emotional. And it’s something I know I have to pray my way through. My idea was to have my book done last September. And God had another plan.”

Kendra shared that although her book is still not completed, she has had several experiences in the last year that she feels God wanted included in her story. Looking back, she recognizes that if she simply finished the book to meet the deadline it would not have been the book God wanted her to write.

“I think if we take a moment to try to look back on some of those things that we desired so much that didn’t happen when we wanted them to happen, we might be enlightened a bit to trust that God has the bigger plan, and the better plan,” she pointed out. “And that goes right back to humility and surrender.”

So how do you practice humility and surrender when your natural instinct is pride and control?

Kendra explained, “It is a muscle that sometimes is weak, and sometimes is strong. It depends on the season that I’m in. And it’s harder to exercise that muscle when I’m in a season of tribulation or things aren’t exactly going the way that I want them to go. The Litany of Humility is fabulous. The Relevant Radio App is fabulous. There are so many resources that I go to on the app.”

One useful tool to grow in trust, surrender, and practice living in the present is keeping a journal. Kendra shared that although she isn’t naturally drawn to journaling, she has found it to be a great way to practice listening to the Lord in the present, and a way to see how God has been there for her in the past.

“My spiritual director has pushed me and pushed me to journal when I’m having moments of desolation and also moments of consolation,” she said. “And when I felt and heard God and the things I knew were of God, and for God, and with God. It’s helpful because when you’re in that next moment of decision or desolation you can flip back and say, ‘Oh yeah, you were there for this. You were there for that.'”

“So I would just suggest if anyone could keep a notepad with them, or use your smartphone and the notepads in there, and just jot down these amazing moments where you know God was there, and the Spirit was moving in you, and you trusted Him.”

Listen to the full conversation with Kendra below:

Morning Air can be heard weekdays from 6:00 – 9:00 a.m. Eastern/3:00 – 6:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio and the Relevant Radio App.