Friday, October 05, 2012

Trust: The Process

Once again, I have been inspired by Emily Freeman's blog.

She is participating in 31 Days again this October, and this month she is writing about quietness. I had strongly considered joining in with the other 31 day-ers, but with work and life as busy as they are right now, I know I cannot write consistently. And that's okay.

But, at least for today, I need to write about this.

When I was considering joining in the challenge, I thought I might write about contentment. It's a theme I've been wrestling with for the past couple of years, and I'm still processing all that it means to be content in any/every circumstance. In the process of processing, I'm realizing that one aspect of contentment comes from learning trust.

I think in the past, maybe even yesterday, I would have equated trust with faith. But as I pondered Emily's words from this post, I've delineated faith as more a matter of belief. A matter of conviction. I've generally got that one down.

But trust?

For a long time I have believed that God is capable of whatever we ask. He can do it; he is powerful enough. But I have not trusted that he will. I have not trusted God's mercy, his "loving-kindness," as the Amplified Bible puts it.

I've only recently been able to put this all into words, believing that he can but not trusting that he will. It's only been over the past few months that I've come to realize that I often mistrust God's intentions and actions. But for years I have felt, secretly, deep down, that most of my struggles come from God saying, "Well, you sort of brought this on yourself."

Another part of this mistrust was certainly perpetuated by Zach's death. I still can't quite put into words how I feel about that. At the end of that post I wrote that God "is still big, and He is still good." After all of these years, I still choose to believe on the surface that God is good, that he is loving, but I have come to realize that I have a hard time trusting him. See, there it is again: belief (faith) versus trust.

The Amplified speaks of trust in these terms: "Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding."

Do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

Be confident in the Lord.


I have not been confident. I have been wary and cautious. I have second-guessed. I have hoped that God would come through, but I have had a hard time expecting him.

A friend and I have, several times over the past couple of years (while he and his wife were dealing with infertility, when Aaron and I were unemployed, etc), exchanged Psalm 27:14: "Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord."

It's a good reminder, but it's hard to practice. It's hard to expect the Lord, to be confident in him. It's hard to trust him in all circumstances. But as I come to terms with the fact that I have mistrusted God, I am learning, as Emily writes Isaiah's words, that quietness and trust are my strength.

And that means finding something to cling to in the great mystery that is God, as he comes to me in the midst of the chaos that is life. There is nothing predictable, nothing easy, very little that is tangible, and yet those threads that we catch, the glimmer, those little glimpses as we see darkly in the glass--remind me, remind us, that he is trustworthy. God is merciful and full of loving-kindness. And so, for now, I am giving up telling him how I think things should be. I am not fighting for my rights or my will. I am trying to give up my own understanding and my expectations.

Quietness. And trust.

I am learning, I am learning.


Angie said...

I wrote this comment on my phone and then it didn't publish of course.
I remember when we were riding the bus one day you told me that you were absolutely certain that God would force you to marry (redacted to protect the poor guy). Do you remember that? You were sure of it or at least sure that He would force you to marry someone who creeped you out just as much. I thought it was hilarious at the time, because I was equally certain that our lives would be fabulous dreams of fame, riches, and jet-setting.
We were both wrong and thank God for it, but it seems to me you've had a hard time trusting God in this way since you were a kid. Luckily for you (and me, in my own ways) God knows this and His patience is infinite.

Amy said...

I do remember that; in fact, for some reason I was thinking about it just the other day. But I hadn't put it together with the trust issue. Very interesting.

Thank goodness for patience.