Surrendered Life = Sorrow?

Six years ago, after a decade of struggle in which I lost everything that gave me dignity, hope, or purpose, I made a decision that I believed would change my life. I knew when I was making this decision that there were no guarantees that it would actually yield the change I needed to see in my life—but I also knew that if I didn’t make the decision, I would suffer for it later, and so my mind (and the decision) was made.

I was in a different place in my spiritual journey than I am now. At the time, deism made a great deal of sense to me, and the legitimate torment of the ten years that led up to my decision fed that perspective until it was nice and fat and logically sound. From that perspective I saw my decision as having two purposes: of course it was meant to provide tangible change in my life, but it was (in my mind) a test of the Lord’s love for me.

Now you can already guess that when someone approaches a decision from that perspective, God is going to simply ignore their “test” and go on eating his sandwich, or whatever he does when humanity bleats “if you loved me you’d do X”, which must happen 10,000,000,000 a day for him. And so he did: he properly ignored my “test.” The decision was made, and I achieved through my own effort something I did not have before I made the decision, but nothing came of it. *At all. *

(If you’re wondering what the decision was, let’s say that I chose to pursue a license in a field that required a license for job growth. After getting this license, people in the field I was in could earn a six figure salary.)

The woman I was married to at the time was initially excited that I got this license. As years passed, and as I found it harder and harder to find a job in my field that would pay me the money we needed to live, she grew resentful and ultimately had an affair. She then left me, essentially homeless (in that I am far too old to be living as a dependent of anyone) and in a great deal of debt I can only recover from if I had a six figure salary, which I do not.

I mention her because she plugs directly into a tenet of our faith that I have learned is as essential to our faith as the Our Father: what God does not permit, he ordains; his will for us is what we endure each day. If it was his will that she be taken from me, he had as much right to take her as he did when he gave her to me in the first place.

So she leaves and I interpret her loss (and for the second time in less than 10 years, the loss of everything that gave me a sense of dignity, hope, or purpose) as a sign that I need to get right with God. When the Lord takes everything from you, I reasoned, it is time to reexamine your ideas about life and simply go where He leads. I hadn’t found work before she left because I limited my search to the position I was qualified for—not the four positions under it that I was/am (objectively) overqualified for. Within a week of her leaving, a position at the lowest level of my profession opened. I took this as an example of His will, and simply said “yes.”

A year later and I am again unemployed, and in a position where it might be impossible for me to find a position in my field ever again. I face a number of humiliating decisions in the next few days, the most humiliating of which is whether I should choose to remain a dependent on others’ goodwill while trying to reconstruct my life through a different career. I am deeply in debt and want nothing more than to repay what I owe—I am not a thief. I want a divorce. I want a home for me and my cat. And of course I want all of this nonstop loss–I’ve lost two (now perhaps three) places to live in less than fifteen years–to finally, definitively STOP.

My question to you, reader, who have been kind enough to read through to this point:

If you accept that the Lord’s will is all—that “thy will be done” is the ONLY answer to most, if not all of the sorrow one endures in life; if you accept that what the Lord does not ordain, he permits; if you accept (as I now do) that surrender is the only way to live our faith, what do you believe the Lord is trying to teach me in all of this, and do you think he’ll ever stop tormenting me?

Every action has a reaction. Are you truly pursuing God’s Will or your own? Only you can answer this question.

Jesus repeated said in the Bible to give up everything, pick up your cross and follow Him.

He suffered, so to be like Him we must suffer. But nothing can bring greater joy than giving your life completely to God.

Thanks for telling us your thoughts and choices. Your suffering is unique. The pain you are experiencing is your cross. It might help if you realized that very little of the stuff we experience is NOT a result of human decisions; that it’s God’s permissive will. (He didn’t make anyone choose to hire or fire, marry or leave, offer help or leave you to your own devices.) Our loving father wants us to choose selfless, loving behavior. He’d like us to stop doing the things we do that hurt each other so much
So, you’re right. Choose to surrender. Stop fighting him. Do the best you can. Forget six figures and all the status and where you think you belong. Work where you can. Pay the bills you can. He’s trying to teach you how much his son you are. He sees Jesus’ surrender when he sees yours.

I think it is always a good plan to pursue God’s will. I’m working on that myself. It isn’t the easiest thing until you get there. It’s really all about having an intimate relationship with God. Thats what all the saints had, both in the OT and the NT. Here is a teaching series that really helped my understanding.

God is not tormenting you. God doesn’t torment any of us. He loves us all, and would never hurt us Himself. He is all perfect, and all good, and all loving, so He is not the cause of your torture. But He does allow us to suffer as the result of sin, temptation, free will, and due to the fact that we live in a scientifically imperfect world that isn’t necessarily anyone’s “fault” per say. So please don’t believe that God is tormenting you- He’s not. I’m sorry if you feel that way, as it’s very untrue.

As far as surrendering goes and based on the fact that I’ve been struggling myself a lot lately, I can testify that you are definitely right in believing that surrendering is the ultimate way to live our faith. I’ve come to realize recently that by surrendering totally to God, although it doesn’t stop the suffering I go through, it lifts a huge burden off of my shoulders now because I don’t feel this huge responsibility to bear it all by myself. In fact, I need not bear anything hard at all, as Christ Himself says that His yoke is easy and burden light. So while I’m still suffering, I don’t need to feel weighed down by it, since it is God who is doing all of the work carrying it for me. I don’t need to add to my suffering by carrying an extra weight that God can carry all on His own without any trouble.

I think what God’s trying to teach you is that by surrendering yourself, you also surrender your burdens to Him, thus freeing you from that torture of carrying them.

Your post brought to mind the station of the cross where Simon of cyrene is forced to help Jesus carry the cross. In a picture i have of this, Jesus’ hand is resting so lovingly, and gratefully upon Simon’s shoulder.

It is so touching because Jesus is accepting the help because he needs it.

I think God is trying to teach you to accept help, even if it means you have to be a burden for a little while on another, accept the help of others with grace because it wil deeply humble you.

Simon didn’t want to help Jesus at first, but when he realised how much he was needed, he was happy to do it.

No one likes to feel like a burden, but you don’t have a choice, just relax and catch your breath.

Learn to acccept help with grace and humility.


The only thing in life is the cross. Suffering is mandatory. Life is horrible.

Life is a series of Good Fridays, crucifixions. We will not rise until after we are dead.

God’s will is the cross for one’s life. Nothing else.

Life is this horrific test, and you better pass or else you’re on the down escalator.

We must surrender to God because life is war. We can’t win, so surrender is mandatory.

While I’m not sure about your last paragraph op I do believe that through humiliation we learn to be humble. I prefer my humiliations in small doses and therefore am on the slow road(I believe) to becoming humble. You sound as though you could be on the fast track as long as you take it this way and make a choice not to become bitter, angry, etc…
I don’t believe a surrendered life equals sorrow. I believe it can be quite freeing. Be well-stay safe.

It does take a lot of practice to surrender to God’s Will. I don’t think it’s a one time thing…more of a daily mantra. Your “wants” caught my attention. Have you asked God what he wants for you? Spending some quiet time with Jesus at Eucharistic Adoration might help you to hear him better. Or some contemplative meditation.

I had a rather difficult year in 2015. More difficult for my family, though. I have always taken “pride” in my independence. Apparently, Our Lord wanted to get my attention. In April I fell and fractured my right arm in 3 places and shattered my eye socket. Ugly, Ugly, Ugly. Two surgeries and lots of therapy put me back together again. Poor DH had to do everything. Pride was severely curbed and gratitude grew.

In November I had a double mastectomy (due to a second bout of breast cancer). It was a blessing that I found the small lump as my mammogram showed nothing 4 months before. Still going through reconstruction. Throughout this latest cross, there was no doubt in my mind Our Lord had a plan for me. I’m still not certain what it is; but, I trust our Lord.

I know things look dark and bleak now, but I know He has a plan for you.

God Bless You.

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