How can I learn to trust in what I can’t see? What does it mean to truly trust in God? How can I learn to trust myself?
These are all questions I have struggled with for quite some time. Unfortunately, these are also questions one must find the answer to on his own. There’s is no step-by-step guide on learning to trust God…This is something I have learned the hard way. Before this summer, my attempt at beginning to trust in God was constantly praying that I would follow His will for my life.
Since His will unfortunately no longer comes in the form of stone tablets, I decided I would start by looking for a path I believed aligned with His will and start down that path until He decided to close the door. Once the door was closed, I would look for the next open door and begin the process all over again. Each time I began down a new path, I trusted God would correct my course if it wasn’t something that aligned to His will. I thought this was the answer I was looking for. It even got me to Love Thy Neighborhood this summer!
However, as my time at LTN comes to a close, I can see why I need to continue working on trusting God, because I only answered the first of my three questions. I began to wrestle with the second question, “what does it mean to truly trust in God,” during our reading of The Relational Soul a few weeks ago. One major point, which has been reiterated throughout the course of the summer, has been, “we relate how we relate.” This means no matter what relationship we are looking at, we will relate in the same way – whether it be to a good friend, a stranger, or God.
While I trusted them enough to answer their questions whenever they asked what was wrong, I was subconsciously thinking “do you really care, or do you just feel obligated to ask?”I began to look at some of my closest friendships in order to discern what areas could be lacking, thus also affecting how I relate to God. As I began to analyze each friendship, I realized at the core I did not trust my friends. Even with my closest friends, whom I thought I shared everything with, there was still some form of restraint. While I trusted them enough to answer their questions whenever they asked what was wrong, I was subconsciously thinking “do you really care, or do you just feel obligated to ask?” My friends have never done anything to deserve this kind of treatment. So then why was I constantly questioning their motives? Why would I always assume they had something else they wanted to do more than hang out with me?
“How do you learn to trust yourself?”I am fully aware how much my life has been plagued with over-thinking any major life choice I have had to make, sometimes even just choices in general. However, I did not realize this may be a byproduct of a lack of trust in myself until I hit the second chapter of The Relational Soul. I oftentimes feel I have to analyze every possible outcome of a situation, even to the point of analyzing my own motives for wanting a specific outcome. At the end of all this, I was faced with an interesting dilemma, and my final question, “How do you learn to trust yourself?”
Luckily, one of the core components of LTN emphasizes building Christian community. We weren’t made to face all of these issues on our own. We are to surround ourselves with a community of believers to support us through tough times! So I decided to intentionally be open about my struggles with my close friends, constantly reminding myself that I can trust them. Sometimes this even means actually saying to them “I trust you,” as a verbal reminder to myself.
However, it seems as I begin to apply these habits to my view of God, He has started to challenge me with a similar question. “Do you trust Me?”
Sometimes saying “I trust you” can be easy. Especially when I can see where God is leading me and how the plan will fall into place, or when I have my own backup just in case. Like deciding to come to LTN this summer.
However, God sometimes ups the ante. I recently received a job offer that could change my entire plan for the next few years of my life. Now, suddenly, I am staring straight into the unknown, knowing I must step out in faith with no idea of how God’s plan will come together. Looking back, I see all the good things I want to hang on to. Looking forward, I’m trying to determine what I think is the best course of action, but I’m terrified out of my mind because I don’t want to mess it up.
Somehow in the midst of this, I can overlook all the times when I have trusted God in the past and it turned out many times better than what I could have ever imagined. Yet, in this instance, I don’t want to give away what I want for some potentially better unknown. Then I remember four words: “Do. You. Trust. Me?” I want to say “I trust you,” but everything within me is trying to grip onto what little control I think I still have. I just need to let go.
“God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want.” -C.S. Lewis
While I know that constantly trusting in God rather than myself will be a challenge for the rest of my life, my time at LTN has made me more aware of this struggle. I can at least begin to remind myself “I trust you,” and be more wary of when I am still trying to hold something back from God.