It is still early in the new year and I believe you are not quite over the feeling of expectation and fresh hopes for new, interesting and exciting things this year. (I wonder if people in the middle ages also found new inspiration simply because those who kept count of the years announced the change in calendar – I guess it’s more probable that the coming of spring would have had the effect of rising hope and expectation). What we share with people of all times, past, present and future, is to plan for what we want, be it our next meal or the next venture on our big-dreams list. And with our modern consciousness of time as limited and divided into fragments, we sense the start of a new year as the (potential) turn of a new page in our life story. The question that looms is: with what purpose in mind do I want to write the next chapter?

It is part of growing up to take personal responsibility for our needs and wants – a responsibility that some of us are eager and confident to take and others less so. At some point, however, we all seem to start telling ourselves, consciously or unconsciously, we have a good enough understanding of our world in order to take more control of what we feel we want to get out of life. And then more of life happens. However responsible, motivated and focused one might have been in pursuing the good life, unforeseen, difficult, disheartening and painful things happen to us. As soon as we feel we have control over one area, say finance, we become completely vulnerable in another, say health or relationships. Life after all, we have to admit, is not so kind towards us to reward us for trying hard – or should we just try harder? Our earlier beliefs, religious or otherwise, seem to be very distant and childish. What we see before us, is the intensification of a ‘fight’. Not because we want it, but we see no other option. For some it is the fight with the external world (aggression) and for others it is the fight with the internal world (depression ) – as much as we try to conceal it.


The thought that we perhaps should surrender our lives all together is the scariest of all thoughts. If we would let go of some of our dreams, aspirations and preferred ways of living, we can at least work on some others in the hope that it will make up for the loss. The option, however, is there to surrender completely to God’s unconditional love. It is also the most liberating thing we can do. Instead of carrying the weight of ‘making things work’ according to others’ and/or my expectations, I accept that God’s purpose for my life is all that I need. Surrendering to him is to understand all of my life and all of my plans as serving his purpose for me.


Can we think that what we do in life, particularly work-life, is not one big effort, with its successes and failures, to ultimately and hopefully, be seen by others as a success of some kind in life, but, with his grace, an answer to God’s calling and purpose for us?

Author : Dr Gerhard van Rensburg