The past few months have been ... difficult. Painful. Some of the hardest months of my life. Yet, I would be lying if I said they were absolutely awful.
Even in the darkest times in our lives, God has lessons He wants us to learn. In the seasons when we feel the most abandoned, God is working in the unseen.
Since writing has become an outlet over the past several years...and I'm no longer in school...I've decided to share my journey with you. In sharing with you, it allows me to deeply consider what God is doing/has done in my life. So, here's praying that some of the lessons God is teaching me will benefit you in some way.
Lesson #1 (part 1) - Trusting God is hard!!
When I say hard, I mean ... HARD!
I thought I was trusting God. And, I was... I mean... things were pretty good. Not great! But, definitely manageable. By manageable... I mean, I could manage. Or, at least, I thought I could manage.
Basically, I was in CONTROL. I was managing the easy, every-day situations. The more difficult situations I talked about with God and my girlfriends. You know, you tell your friends to pray...but you are really just venting and getting things off your chest. You hope they pray. Many times, they tell you they will, but they don't necessarily take the time to pray with you at that moment. (I'm not dissing any of my friends...I am guilty of doing that very thing.) Let's be honest, you may not even want them to pray because you are angry! And you tell God, because really, you're just angry and want Him to know how angry you are about said situation! (That's a lot of anger!)
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
This verse doesn't say "in some of your ways" it says ALL!
I wasn't trusting God with ALL!
I wasn't really trusting God. With anything.
I was managing the manageable...and FREAKING OUT over the unmanageable. That freaking out caused a lot of sick days. Migraines, tummy troubles, negativity, complaining, general grumpiness. All this, in turn, caused more things for me to manage. Wow! Not good!
This came to my attention when faced with something I couldn't manage. My friends couldn't manage. I wondered if God could. Because, really, I hadn't really trusted Him with much in my life... It's hard to trust someone you haven't practiced trusting. (Did I mention I've been a Christian "all my life" and I'm a licensed minister...who's been in ministry for several years?)
My very wise counselor taught me that in order to trust anyone else, I had to learn to trust God first. I hope this helps you in some way. (I wrote this in Sharpie on my mirror!)
All of the sudden, I was facing a situation in my life that I couldn't manage. I couldn't trust myself to make wise choices. I couldn't decide what to make for dinner. I could barely get out of bed. Trust was a BIG problem. I didn't know who to trust. What friends and family could I trust with my deepest hurts? So, I did what I had always done. I talked about my problems to nearly anyone who would listen. It was my coping mechanism. It was how I was trying to manage. But, was I willing to place my trust in the God of the universe? The One who created me? Who knew me best? Was I willing to trust in the Lord with ALL my heart? Could I lean on Him instead of on myself? One thing I knew for certain...my pathway was all sorts of crooked. I needed Him to straighten things out.
I was placing my trust in my ability to fix the problem...to talk through it...to manage it. I was placing my trust in a very.broken.me. But, I couldn't trust me! That is when I realized...I can't trust me without first trusting God. Believing that I could fix the problems better than God, placing my broken self above His perfect ability, was idolatry. OUCH!
Who am I to think I know more than God? Who am I to think I could control anything? Who am I?
"Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?" Job 38:1-5
Did Job love God?
Did Job serve God?
Job's life was manageable!
And, then, disaster came! An unmanageable situation! I'm sure Job wondered if God could be trusted to fix all this. Why would I wonder that? Because God stepped in! Just look at the conversation starter! Can you imagine being questioned like that by God? But, God loved Job enough to stop him in his tracks. God loved Job enough to tell him the truth about the situation! God loved Job enough to remind him who was in control!
Lesson #1 (part 2) - Trusting God is worth it!!
I see now how trusting in my perfect God should be so much easier than trusting the imperfect me! Believe me, I've not got this trait nailed down. I'm not sure I ever will. But the more I place the control in His hands...the easier it is on me. The more often I default to trusting God...the easier it will become.
Job's situation made a turn for the better when he acknowledged that God knew it all!
I've learned that God is trustworthy! He really can be trusted. He loves me more than I can fathom. I've learned that I stress less when God is in control. When I give my problems to him, I can trust Him to take care of me.
"O Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant." 2 Sam. 7:28