As a kid, I remember going to a lot of Christian conferences where huge emphasis was placed on Praise and Worship sessions. To my young, hyperactive mind, they seemed to go on for hours! But I didn’t mind; I loved the high-energy dancing with my friends and singing at the top of my lungs in the community spirit with the whole room.

But there was always a part of worship that made me uncomfortable: when it got quiet, and a lot of the adults would raise their hands, bow their heads, and even kneel. I couldn’t explain why that made me uncomfortable until much later in life, when I realized I’ve always had a bit of a control issue. I don’t like surrendering to things—from laughing gas to the reckless tides of my own emotions. I don’t like crying in front of people. I don’t like not knowing what the plan is. I don’t like being out of control. And even at a young age, the idea of surrendering so completely to God, in front of people, no less!, was absolutely terrifying for me.

I learned in my teen years that I wasn’t alone. At every youth camp I went to, there were a handful of my peers who I could tell wanted to raise their hands and sing out praise at the top of their lungs—but like me, they remained in the aisles, hands turned up at their sides, unwilling to show that level of surrender before God or their fellow teens.

Why is surrender difficult? Because at its core, surrender requires vulnerability. It’s upturned palms and bowed heads and us on our knees. There are few positions more vulnerable than that; on the knees, one is defenseless, unable to flee. You have to have absolute trust that you’re not going to be attacked!

Surrender also goes deeper than that. It’s not merely a posture we take during praise and worship; it’s a posture of the heart. To be in complete surrender before God requires our utmost. That everything we are—and aren’t—every good and terrible part of us, every inch of our being lay vulnerable before Him. As if we could hide ourselves, anyway, like Adam and Even in the garden….but there’s still something different about surrender versus merely being seen. I know my husband loves me, but there’s something uniquely intimate when he tells me so.

Surrendering to God will deepen our relationship with Him beyond words, but it requires action from us. It isn’t waiting for God to search us; it’s bringing what we are to Him, all the good, the bad, and the ugly, knowing He will only bring about the best for us. That we are safe with Him, every angle, every inch. It requires that we fall in trust with Him, again and again.

It is terrifying! It is tough! And it is life-changing. We will never experience more emotional, or spiritual intimacy with our Creator than when we surrender ourselves, fully and completely, heart and soul, to Him.