Camping and driving - two things that force me to reflect, un-busy myself and get back to what is important - call it self care or call it getting untangled. I prefer untangled since that was the word that came to me the beginning of this year.
This week has been HUGE in this untangling process.
This blog post is the first of four (ok maybe five) that chronicles the untangling that occurred over these past 6 days.
As a Christian in today's culture, it is so easy to get jumbled and tangled up with so many competing thoughts, philosophy's and pseudo Christian teachings that do more harm than good. Although they are seemingly intent on helping us grow deeper in our faith and walk with God, they just seem to complicate the simplicity of the pure relationship with Christ - (by leading us away from his Word and into someone else's perspective of the Word - hmm, call it another Gospel of sorts!). These competing teachings clutter our thinking so that we spend more time learning about Jesus and what we need to do to be closer to him, instead of just being with Him and reading His word. It is profoundly different.
This first post is about Trust. This lesson happened on Day 1 of the trip. Day 2 and 3 morphed from trust to Surrender of which I know now, you cannot have one without the other - (these were not fun things to have discussions with God about!). Day 4 was about Forgiveness and Day 5, Letting Go (mostly of anger). Today, this last day before heading home tomorrow, was about Contentment. Tomorrow, I plan on having a long conversation about health and fitness... oh boy! - (so that may mean 5 posts on getting untangled... who knows!)
I am not saying you have to go camping or drive 1500 miles to get things sorted out, but definitely getting unplugged long enough to be still and listen to His voice, truly helps.
So, let's get started, shall we?
Trust. Not something that comes easy for me. Wounds, betrayals and hurts all have a way of breaking down the willingness to trust. This isn't a foreign conversation I have had with God but somewhat longstanding... well okay for about the last 10 years I have been having this discussion in bits and pieces. It seems my life unraveled back in 2009 then got all tangled up while I was trying to reassemble myself. I failed miserably. Why? Because I was trying to reassemble myself - without fully trusting God.
I discovered I was pretty upset with Him on this first day. I had lots of 'why did you allow...' questions for Him. The rest was filled in with every hurt that crushed my spirit occurring between 2004-2009. I had buckled under the weight of it all and couldn't understand how God, whom I trusted with my whole heart, mind and soul could just seem to let it all happen. Not protecting me. Not defending me. Not helping me. Now to be clear, I had not thought that I blamed Him. I instead blamed those who hurt, betrayed and let me down - and forgave, over and over again... am I the only one who experiences that?
Somewhere driving down the highway I realized that who I was really upset with was God. Why did he allow these hurts to happen? The answer pretty much dropped my jaw.
You never asked ME to help you. WHAT? Yeah, I had a wee bit of an argument about that, but I didn't win that discussion. After more dialog with the almighty creator, I understood what He meant. It had to do with expectations.
I had 'expected' friends, family, pastors, ministry leaders and even my counselor to be always supportive, inclusive, protecting, defending of me, never stumbling, always upholding the truth, never choosing self serving over serving...I expected everyone in my life to not be broken or sinful - I expected them to be what only God could be. And they failed me miserably. And I blamed God. After all, it was HE who pushed me to trust others yet it felt like He had set me up for massive amounts of hurt. How could He lead me into relationship with vulnerability and trust only to be hurt so badly?
When I asked Jesus to be my Savior, to receive his gift of grace and eternal life acknowledging what He did on the Cross for me (giving up His life so I could have a relationship with God), the relationship didn't end there. It was only the beginning. The relationship with Jesus happens only when I exchange my life for a life in Him. (more on that on the Surrender blog). But it requires trust first.
In John 2, it says that Jesus did not trust in man because he knew what was in their hearts. I was always confused as to how to open myself to trust others if even Jesus didn't? I tried it both ways (trusting and being guarded) and it was a bust. I learned the hard way that is impossible to have genuine relationships with others without trust. And when you do trust, you set yourself up for hurt. What the Heck! Have you experienced that conundrum?
I found the resolution in understanding what Jesus means by trusting Him and being open to relationships with others too. Here is the truth: People will let us down, hurt us, wound us, betray us, exclude us, lie to us and for some, even kill us (or lose those we love to death). Our life with and in Christ has no guarantees any of that wont happen. That isn't part of the deal.
"And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it." Mark 8:34-35
To trust means to lose your life and all that surrounds it to follow Jesus. No matter what happens to us or those we love in this life, trusting God as supreme, sovereign and Lord is the ultimate expression of trust - it is the no matter what or as Job said in the book of Job, chapter 13 vs 15 "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him"
The question Jesus posed to me (and I share with you to consider) was - no matter what has happened or what may happen, are you willing to trust Me? Trust Me with the unknown, the painful, the losses, the heinous, the injustices, the betrayals, and the confusing? Will you trust me though I may slay you?
My answer didn't come until I understood what surrender meant....See you in the next post...
Don't forget to pick up a copy of my book, "Confessions of a Feel Good Addict"
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