31 Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s; he has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.” 2 And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him as favorably as he did before. 3 Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your ancestors and to your kindred, and I will be with you.”
Sometimes we just need to fall-back, in old war movies it would be called a “strategic retreat“; to turn away from an un-tenable situation that can only cause us or our loved ones harm so we can move in a new (and hopefully better) direction.
In the Recovery community this is know as ‘surrendering to win’, as we accept that we are powerless over our addictions we stop fighting in an attempt to make them work for us and instead make a choice to give up the damaging behavior. I did something similar when I ended my marriage: I stopped fighting to save what could not and should not be saved, gave up and began to recover by moving in a new direction. This is what was best for myself and my daughter…and her mother too.
Whether recovering from an addiction, a dysfunctional relationship, or a major loss, it can help to turn to those we trust and help us to feel secure and comforted. To some (as with Jacob) this means going home to a familiar place, to well-loved family and friends who can give us support; for others it can me turning to a recovery group, picking up an old passion, returning to church, reaching out to professionals…or a combination of these things…some place safe, where we can regroup and heal so that we can move on in a new direction.
While it is often necessary to surrender to win, it can seem counter-intuitive, as we are usually taught to keep fighting to win, so coming to see that surrender is the best option and then making that move can take a lot of faith, especially when it comes to ending a relationship which will also impact the lives of our children as well as our own. Therefore it can take a lot of faith to surrender even a bad situation, as we want to be sure we are doing what is right for ourselves and our children. The same kind of faith Jacob must have had to leave behind his life with Laban’s family, all he had worked for and gained to follow God’s call and go home.
It took a lot of faith for me to leave my marriage, admit that it was not working and surrender. It also took a lot of faith to decide to become a full-time single father…although it was the only choice I could have made, it was still tough. With both decisions I did not know the outcome, or if I would be up to the challenges I was facing; so making these changes took much prayer, reflection and talking it over with those I trusted.
I also found it important to reach out to others because it was hard to know how far to surrender, where was the ‘safe place’ for my daughter and I, not to mention what our new direction in life would be. I got good direction and support from family and friends…and got comfort from my faith in the presence of God’s love in my life.
For some of us however going home is not always an option…for Jacob it was not necessarily safe either as he would need to face his brother Esau and attempt to make amends, and while this eventually worked out for him it does not always work for us…sometimes our relationships are too broken…and sometimes ‘home’ simple is not there any more. The good news is that as long as God’ love and grace are with us we are already in a safe place…already home! We always have a safe place to retreat to as we are enveloped in God’s love as given to us through Christ and through those we love and who love and care for us back.
With God supporting us we can turn our strategic retreats into victories…as we can walk away from a losing situation and find a new life for ourselves and our children…and learning to surrender to win and having faith in the love of God can help us through the many challenges we face as single parents as we guide our children from infancy through school-age, the difficult teen years, young adulthood and beyond…for God walks with us every step of the way, always giving us a safe retreat and a good place to call ‘home’.
Let us Pray:
God, thank you for being our safe place in the midst of our troubled world. Please help us to see the value of surrendering to win when to fight on becomes useless and damaging. Let us reach out to those who can help when needed, and to help others when we can; for we gain strength and support when our faith is shared. Thank you that wherever we are in life and no matter what we face that we can always find a home for ourselves and our children in the light of your grace.