Wednesday, October 14, 2015

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on You.” ~ Isaiah 26:3

I have a hard time trusting. This seems clearly tied to my struggles with letting go. And although I want to say I will trust...or that I will let go...I know myself and yet again I find myself holding on and not trusting. Even beginning to write this post, I struggle with not wanting to share and let go of my struggles and insecurities and vulnerability.

At work, I trust myself to know what to do and how to do it. But part of my job is training others to do many of those same things. The only way they will learn to be confident in their skills is to trust them enough to do what they are trained to do. And generally, I succeed in letting go at work. Yes, I'm always listening and ready to pipe in with the correct information as needed, but as time progresses I have to let go. I think I've gotten better with this process at work, but as I'm in my 15th year it could just be a result of time wearing me down. I'd like to think it's growth though. :)

At home, I struggle with letting go of the "right" way to do things. I do understand in my head that this is not exactly fair since most things can have multiple ways of being handled and none are truly better than any other. But I cling to my "right" way and this causes struggles between my husband and I many times. Even though I know this is another way of not trusting, not letting go...I still stubbornly do it. Why?

 In my relationship with God, I find myself all too easily trusting Him and placing my full faith in Him...when things are good...when I'm not struggling...when I feel happy and secure and at peace. But when trouble comes, when anything goes wrong, when I feel sad or angry or depressed or anxious...then I worry and stress and let go of my strong faith. I get scared and want to hide and do not handle things well. I cry, I lash out, I have fear and doubts, and then this vicious circle begins.

First, I am worried and scared and feeling weak in my faith. Then I start to feel like a bad person, a bad wife, a bad friend, a terrible Christian. I begin to think that my struggles aren't that hard, that I need to get over it, that I'm being a poor witness. Sometimes I allow myself to share my struggles and vulnerabilities. But then I start to be overwhelmed by the attention of well-meaning and thoughtful friends and family who encourage me. I feel like I have to be better all of a sudden, that I need to get over it for them, to have "victory in Christ."

“I have learned to recognize what it means to be human. I’m so tired of hearing about the victorious Christian life that I think I will die. Do you know what the victorious Christian life is? It is keeping your nose above water. It is keeping on trucking for another day. It is being faithful – just barely. It is keeping from messing it up too terribly. We have this idea of what a real Christian ought to be, say, and think, and then we try to live up to that idea and force everyone else to live up to it too.” 
~ Stephen Brown

One of the things I've been so encouraged by in all the reading I've done over the past few years is each author's openness, vulnerability and courage - and ultimately what I've discovered is the reality that we all struggle with these feelings and one of the best things we can do is share these truths with each other because more often than not you will experience the "me too" moment and know you aren't alone.

The other thing I've been delighted to discover is how much God loves us and how willing He is to deal with our fears and struggles and feelings and emotions. Reading through Psalms I found myself realizing for the first time what an emotional roller coaster it is - the highest highs, lowest lows, and angriest anger. I started to think that maybe the reason it's in the Bible is because God wants us to know it's okay to feel all the feelings. And even more important, to share them with Him. He already knows of course, but it's for our benefit that we admit them and really feel them. And the Psalms helps remind us that we aren't alone...and in reading we can relate to the happy, to the sad, or to the angry...or even to all three, or more.

“Regardless of whether we feel strong or weak in our faith, we remember that our assurance is not based upon our ability to conjure up some special feeling. Rather, it is built upon a confident assurance in the faithfulness of God. We focus on His trustworthiness and especially on His steadfast love.” ~ Richard J. Foster

“As for me, I look to the LORD for help. I wait confidently for God to save me and my God will certainly hear me…for though I fall, I will rise again! Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.” 
~ Micah 7:7-8

Certainly, I have not arrived. I have not been perfected. I keep struggling with the same things. I fail. But I keep getting up. I keep placing my hand back in His (I let go, never Him). I keep building my faith and trusting. Although I am certain that I will fail again, I am glad to be able to place my trust in Someone who will never fail. Thankfully God is so good. So strong. So faithful. So trustworthy. So loving.

“Our faith doesn’t cause God to be faithful; it simply helps us discover that God has been faithful all along!” ~ Ron Vanderwell

“Your eternal word, O LORD, stands firm in heaven. Your faithfulness extends to every generation.” ~ Psalm 119:89-90a

One of my favorite authors is Robin Jones Gunn. I have read all her books and have felt especially connected to her Christy Miller series. I first read the original 12 book series when I was in high school, and as the stories have continued in other follow-up series, I have grown up along with these beloved characters. I have always felt connected to the main character Christy. Many times the issues she dealt with were very similar to things I had experienced or struggled with and it helped make me feel less alone. Her newest series is called Christy & Todd: The Married Years, and once again it has been amazing to me to see so much of my own struggles in the life of Christy - like trusting God, living with friends, financial struggles, etc..

“…Moses stepped into the deep darkness because God was there. It’s the mystery part of following God. I feel like that’s what we’re doing now. Instead of pulling back in fear, we’re stepping into the deep darkness of the unknown future…And the reason we’re doing it is because we know that God is already there and more than anything, we want to be with Him.” ~ Robin Jones Gunn

I want to step into the deep darkness. Writing this blog is part of that journey. Putting my thoughts and fears and vulnerabilities out there for others to see, instead of hiding inside myself. It's scary, but a little bit exciting. I want to know what plans God has for me and I have faith that they are bigger and braver and bolder than I would ever imagine or attempt for myself. And while I know He might allow me to live with tiny dreams, I know that He has huge dreams and I have to trust Him to fulfill them. And I have to step out in faith and trust Him to always have me.

“Blessed is the [woman] who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is in the LORD.” ~ Jeremiah 17:7

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” 
~ Proverbs 3:5-6

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for being Someone always dependable, always trustworthy, always faithful, and always loving. I know that I struggle in so many ways in trusting and letting go. Thank You for the ways You have been convicting me and teaching me in these areas. I know this is a lifelong process, but help me to keep depending on You and trusting You, especially when times get hard and scary. Help me be able to let go when I should and not be afraid of what might happen. Thank You for providing such wisdom in Your Word the Bible, in the words of authors who are brave enough to speak truth, and in the words of those people around me. Help me to be brave, to step out into the darkness, to place my full faith and trust in You...and thank You for never letting go and always loving me. I love you too. Amen.

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