Surrender, Then Surrender Again (A Testimony) by Miranda O’ Mahony
ALSO CHECK OUT MIRAND’S SHORT AUDIO TESTIMONY:
Fall quarter of school 2016: I knew my soul was saved, but I was dragging around a dead-tired body and mind. I found out why and fixed myself – but then fell down again, and Jesus reminded me what we’re all doing here.
Falling in love with Jesus will free you from yourself. I re-dedicated my life during college and was freed from unhealthy relationships, drugs, and the pressure to impress the world. But despite the increase in joy and freedom, I was struggling on and off with depression, fatigue, and apathy. I guess apathy is the wrong word, because I wanted to do things: to create, to socialize, to do well in school — but midway through fall quarter, my energy dwindled to zero. I wondered and prayed about what was wrong with me. I was addicted to caffeine and sugar, but I was afraid to cut them off because I thought I’d fall into “more shameful” addictions. I ignored this thought and wondered: Not enough community? Not enough prayer? Am I bipolar? Am I just too sensitive?
I got so hopeless that I cancelled my classes for the next quarter and considered life without a college degree. Some people are called to drop out of school, but I’m not one of those people. I asked God again and again, what is the point of life if this is how it’s gonna be? I felt that life as a whole was terribly unjust, and I told Him so.
You know when you realize God’s been saying something for months or years, and you finally hear it? Since the age of thirteen, I’ve struggled with food, eating too little, too much, or too poorly. The Lord told me through multiple prophetic words to “nourish myself,” and He educated me relentlessly this year about nutrition and the fruit of personal well-being. It was hard to take my health seriously, but I began to see food as it truly is: medicine and strength from God to support the body.
I was prayed over by someone who said, “The battle is already won.” The battle was with addiction, I thought, and Jesus and I were guaranteed to win. He had been telling me for years to change my lifestyle, and I knew that my reward would be more life, more of Jesus Himself. So I listened, and for two weeks Jesus and I fasted.
I ate a list of particular foods (everybody is different): vegetables, meat, eggs, quinoa, quinoa-like seeds, avocados, oils and some nuts. I also took enzymes and vitamins. Hardly a reason to complain, though the first day without caffeine and sugar, I felt like I had the flu. After two days, I was so much more than fine: I was experiencing steadfast joy, peace, and love for people. I signed up for classes again. I’m still blown away by the improvement.
But, just because I know what’s good for me doesn’t mean I’ll do it. I experienced how amazing life can be when I simply eat well, and yet after a month or so, I chose again and again to skip the salad. I experienced a thriving life, and yet I turned it down. I got back into addict-mode, in other words living for myself; occasionally joyful, but mostly full of guilt. I would come home, lay in my bed and want to die or, more accurately, to escape.
On Christmas Eve, God told me a story through a friend. There was a Christian missionary in Papua New-Guinea who planted a grove of pineapple trees to support himself and his family. The locals, accustomed to a life of thievery, would steal his pineapples and try to sell them back to him. He could not explain to them the concept of personal property and became angry with the people he was supposed to be ministering to. In frustration, he went back to the States, where he heard a sermon on surrender. The missionary made up his mind to give away the grove. When he returned, he was kind to the people and they noticed the change in his demeanor. They asked if he had decided to become a Christian. A little surprised (I imagine), he told them he gave away the pineapple grove, and when they asked who he gave it to, he said, “To God.”
People often feel entitled to a pretty life, like we deserve to get what we want (and to get it when we want it). I was feeling entitled much like the missionary was feeling entitled to the literal fruit of his labor. He needed to realize he was there for God, not for the pineapples. In my case, I was listening to God and changing my lifestyle, but my motives were not entirely based on truth. I was taking His advice because I wanted to succeed in a worldly sense, to have a nice body and to feel good. It’s okay to enjoy those things, but I was seeking them first and that’s not right. They were my end, when really “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” I don’t even think we should use God’s wisdom to get what we want, unless what we want is more of Him and His glory. I was seeking things that would bring me fun, happiness, fulfillment, etc. and I was finding a lot of emptiness along the way. It’s not about seeking those things, it’s about seeking God, and all will be added unto you. Love what He made you to love, be who He created you to be, and remember that it’s all about knowing Him better. There is no other purpose.
Life and everything in it exists so God can invite us to Himself. All things high or low, pleasant or painful, deserved or undeserved, are inviting us to know Jesus better.
I was living in death because I wasn’t taking care of myself. But I wasn’t taking care of myself because I was controlling my life, and I was trying to control my life because I forgot who’s really living my life. He won my battle when He died on the cross and took me with Him. I wanted to escape my life, but I died to myself instead, and now He lives.
I give my body to Jesus. I give my soul to Jesus. I give up my rights. I give Him my anxieties, my joys, my afternoon, my evening. I give my life away.