More from our friend, Webster:
Resignation: an act or instance of surrender; to give up deliberately.
Acceptance: the act of accepting; that is, to receive willingly or to endure without protest or reaction.
Everyone has challenges, disappointments, crises, and struggles in their lives. It is the universal experience. However, our responses to those situations vary immensely, but generally fall into two categories: resignation or acceptance. While outwardly these look very similar, inwardly they are exact opposites. One is based on deception, the other on truth.
Resignation occurs when I give up. Oh, I keep on doing things like go to work, school, even church; I may even laugh at a good comedy or watch college football on Saturday. But inwardly I have come to the belief that my life, my circumstances are hopeless. This despair arises out of sense that this is all because of who I am (or am not), what I have done (or not done) or choices I have made (or not made). I have come to the conclusion that life cannot and will not ever change so I am just gutting it out. I use phrases like, “I am such a failure,” “I am so stupid,” “Why are bad things always happening to me,” “It will never get any better,” or “She’ll never change so I am trapped here.” Judas was this sort of fellow; only he took it one step further: “Then he went away and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:5)
Acceptance, on the other hand, is facing the same situations but coming to a different conclusion. While I will probably have to acknowledge that my present life is much the way it is due to choices I have made, I am not is despair. I have chosen to rightly and honestly embrace what I have done, but have also chosen not to believe the deception that this is all and totally about who I am (a lie which rightly leads to hopelessness). Instead, my focus is on God and who He is in the midst of these times. I use phrases like, “Wow, I really screwed that up but I can move on in His forgiveness and strength,” “I can hardly believe I bought into that lie but His truth is really opening my eyes,” “Bad things happen to everyone but He will walk me through this,” or “I will never lose confidence in God’s desire and ability to change a life.” The Apostle Paul was this sort of fellow: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content [acceptance] in any and every situation, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13)
It is always a wondrous victory when the Lord’s truth releases a person from deception, which leads to despair and resignation, and gives them the freedom to embrace life with acceptance knowing that God is at work in the midst.