The Power of Surrender

I was 24 years old.

As I sat down, knee to knee, facing my boyfriend, I somehow found the courage to begin.

“I need to tell you something about myself. This is hard to say.”

Big breath.

“I have bulimia. I’ve had it since I was 17.”

I will never forget his calm and simple response.

“First off, Karen, I think you have a warped sense of self. I don’t think you see yourself as you truly are. You look amazing and could easily gain 20 pounds and still look fantastic.”

What? I had never heard that before.

“Do you pray about it?” he asked.

“Yes, of course I do—every day!”  I replied. (This was true. My spiritual connection to God has been my lifeline since birth.)

And then it came, the life-changing question.

“How do you pray?” he asked.

That’s a weird question, I thought.

“What do you mean? Do you want to know what I say when I pray?”

“Yes.”

“Well, OK. I say, ‘Dear God, please be with me today. Please guide me and help me make the right choices so I can stay in control of my eating and heal this bulimia.'”

He slowly reached out his hand, placed it on my knee, and looked me straight in the eyes.

“Have you ever just prayed and said to God—’I can’t do this anymore, I give this fully to you’?”

What? My answer was a quick and definite no. Never. I had never even once considered giving up control. What I had thought about was ME. My prayers were full of asking God to help ME get strong, help ME make smart choices, and help ME stay in control.

But that night was different. I had reached a breaking point. I was sick and tired. Really tired.  I had been battling bulimia for nearly eight years when every waking minute was filled with cycling, obsessive thoughts about my body and food.

So that night, I prayed like I had never prayed before. I gave it ALL to God…the pain, the struggle, the shame, the fatigue, the anxiety, the constant obsessing…and I meant it, with a full and sincere heart! I could not do this anymore! Every cell of my body raised the white flag of peace and fully surrendered.

The next day, I was driving to work on the freeway when I saw a small miniature Tootsie Roll staring up at me. I looked at that little piece of candy and saw my entire struggle hidden within its wrapper. I knew that if I ate that piece of candy, I would feel overwhelming guilt and shame, and spiral back into my old patterns. I would go from drive-thru to drive-thru stuffing myself with food and negative feelings until I was about to explode in pain. Then I would find a private place to purge and empty myself of everything I was holding on to (not just food).

I don’t know what came over me in that moment. Well, yes I do…it was the Power and Loving Grace of God. I looked down at that Tootsie Roll, picked it up, opened my window, and threw it out (to this day, I feel a teensy bit bad about littering on the highway, but that action was absolutely necessary). As I let go of that Tootsie Roll, I was somehow made new…something energetically shifted. I felt held, protected, and guided. I never threw up again.

As each day passed, I felt like a living, breathing, and expanding miracle. The war was over.  And I had done nothing.

When you stop fighting, the war ceases to exist. In that moment of surrender, you are set free.  

Some people look at surrender as giving up and weakness, yet in my truth, surrender is the exact opposite. It is one of the scariest things you’ll ever do. It takes guts and strength and faith to let go of the protective and controlling barriers of the “Me” and welcome and allow the “We.”

This is just one of many lessons on surrender that has graced my life. Some showed up as small, gentle reminders—and one, about six years ago, left me forever changed by cracking me wide open to fully experience LOVE and TRUTH like I’d never known before. I will leave that story for another day.

So, beautiful friends…please know…

YOU ARE NOT ALONE. YOU ARE SUPPORTED. YOU ARE LOVED. YOU ARE ENOUGH.

When you choose to stop fighting, the war will cease to exist. When you learn how to simply let go and surrender the ego self…in that very moment of weightlessness and Nothingness…you will shed all barriers and know your connection to Everything. And from here…you will know your WORTH! Let the magic begin…

I LOVE YOU ALL,

Karen Ullery

Karen Ullery

About the Author | Karen Ullery

Karen Ullery is the author of BodyOpolis, a wellness series promoting healthy families in a fun, simple, and inspiring way.  Karen is from Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington, where she taught corporate fitness classes, and served as a cheerleader. She was a National Trainer for Jenny Craig Weight Loss Centers, where she supported the company’s expansion throughout the United States and Canada.  Karen lives with her husband and two children in Kirkland, Washington, where she enjoys writing, illustrating, and teaching others to take care of themselves in her private yoga and wellness business, Life’s Energy With Karen.

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6 comments to "The Power of Surrender"

  • Letitia

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story of surrender … true inspiration!

    • Karen Ullery

      So full of gratitude for your courage to reply! The magic is in the connection and you just opened up the flow Letitia! Thank you! Our stories are our software…meant to guide us as remembrance stones and this is one of my stories that continues to serve me and I am so happy that my story can also help others! Love you dear beautiful Letitia! Thank you!

  • Kristin

    So proud and appreciative of you sharing such a very personal part of your life’s journey! We certainly all struggle to surrender, but your story reminds us that we often don’t even realize that’s our struggle because we’re so focused on trying to stay in control and solve our problems on our own. Thank you! Personally, such an important reminder couldn’t have come at a better time.

    • Karen Ullery

      Love you Kristin! Thank you for replying and sharing! Again… sweet, loving courage!
      I’m so glad that this story illuminated that subtle, yet life changing difference. I often hear in my yoga business…. I’m trying….I’m working at it…. and my response is always… it is less about the “doing” and more about surrendering into just “Being” … this is where we begin to understand our true essence and inherent worth.
      Big LOVE and Many Blessings!

  • Terry

    Yours is my first story….. I feel scared and totally overwhelmed.

    • Karen Ullery

      Terry… Bless your heart and your honesty! Please know you are loved and that you are not alone. It is important to reach out to loved ones and find immediate support. In the meantime, begin with your breath. Your lifeline. Our connective force. Full deep belly breaths that stimulate the vagus nerve and the parasympathetic nervous system (the calming part of our nervous system) should bring relief. With each inhale, fill to capacity, hold the breath in and silently say “I am”, followed by a gentle but complete exhale (let it all go….everything… including the overwhelm, the fear, and the pain ) and say, “safe”.
      Inhale “I am”,
      Exhale “loved”.
      Inhale, “I am”
      Exhale, “safe”.
      Each inhale filling you with love and each exhale softening and relaxing the whole body. Keep irepeating slowly and deeply until you feel a sense of calm.
      There are many paths to healing and I pray my words can be of comfort to you! 💜🙏🏼✨💜