Surrender vs. Giving Up

Many people do not see a difference between surrender and giving up. Do you see a difference between these two concepts? Please think about it before continuing. What is your honest answer?

For me there is a huge difference.  I always choose surrender first when I have the strength. The difference between surrender and giving up is the difference between suffering (giving up) and being at peace (surrender). It is the difference between being lost and finding your way.

Let’s look at a few of those differences. First, remove your mental glasses. This means we are not using a dictionary to define these words but taking a deeper look through our spiritual glasses.

If you have difficulty liking or accepting change, then removing your mental glasses may not be easy at first. I guarantee the more you do it the easier it will get. If you are serious about your spiritual development (and I know you are or you would not be reading this), then adopting a positive attitude toward change is a requirement because without it you will struggle. All life is in a constant state of change so adopting a positive attitude toward change goes a long way towards alleviating suffering.

Giving Up

Implies a lack of action

Is resistance to what is

Says no to life (you curl up into a ball on the bed)

Fuels your suffering

Moves you away from God


Requires action

Is acceptance of what is

Says yes to life (you hold your arms wide open ready to receive)

Fuels your happiness

Move you closer to God

See if you can come up with some of your own ideas of how surrender is different from giving up. Moreover, the next time you feel stuck and feel like giving up try surrendering to what is and allow the grace of God to fill your life with the blessings of your birthright. Would you be there for your son or daughter no matter what? Then why would God not show up for you?


4 thoughts on “Surrender vs. Giving Up

  1. Thanks so much for this Tim, it’s just what I needed to be reminded of as I bring my car to the mechanic foR what looks like a major fuel leak. 😦


  2. I am not sure I agree with the concept you put forward here, but perhaps not in the way you might expect. I see both ‘giving up’ and ‘surrender’ in the same way – but rather than being negatives; I see BOTH in a positive light. It rather depends on the way in which you intend giving up or surrendering. Both can be equally negative if applied to a situation where one ought to carry on with what one has set out to achieve. In this instance surrendering or giving up to laziness, depression, or whatever is without a shadow of a doubt a negative. But in the real sense of spiritual development if one is surrendering/giving up (or perhaps ‘GIVING IN’ might be a better term) to forces that are pressing upon you, then the proper thing to do is GIVE UP!! in this sense to continue fighting unavoidable circumstances would be madness…

    A refinement of this idea might then be to club both concepts together and instead use the term to ‘ACQUIESCE’.

    There is a Buddhist Koan that goes something like this. A monk was walking along carry a very heavy load of sticks. At a certain point the monk has enough and drops the sticks. At the moment he lets go he instantly becomes enlightened. What does the monk do? but picks up the sticks once more and carries on…

    Dropping something from ones life, surrendering, giving up or giving in, has all the same affect in my view – it is breaking the continuity of ones effort – it is putting a much needed space into the requirement. Allowing a reconstituting of ones direction and efforts.


    • Thank you for your comment. I did not intent to say that either of these ways was negative. In addition, I felt that for some people seeing a distinction between the two words could prove helpful on their journey rather than seeing them to be the same, I know it did for me. The way I interpret your Buddhist Koan is that the Monk surrendered by dropping the sticks, had he given up he never would have picked them up a second time. I realize these may seem like small differences but for many it can be very powerful. Thank you again for your comment I always appreciate seeing things from other perspectives it helps me grow.


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