Several years after college, I began to consider moving from an established career as an electrical engineer to an uncharted one as a family physician. Although I wrestled with the decision-making process, living with my choice and trusting God was far more challenging. While my immediate concern was the result, over time, I became more focused on the path I traveled with its many twists and turns. Many of my life-changing moments have been like that — calling me to a process where I had to stretch.
How we trust in God and others is critical to our spiritual, relational, and mental health. Trust is not only fundamental to our relationship with God, but it is vital to allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our lives and for us to find peace and happiness.
To Trust or Not to Trust: That is NOT the Question!
I have never heard a Christian diminish their need to trust in God. We readily seem to recognize its pivotal role. So where’s the problem?
Faulty expectations. Sometimes we expect God to do more than He intends. While we depend on God for everything, we still have work to do. Some people expect God will free them from, or at least significantly reduce, the troubles they face in life. Yet others think salvation by faith frees them from the need to do good works.
On the flip side, we might expect too little. This can happen when we treat Christianity as though it were only a moral or feel-good system, instead of a relationship with the eternal, almighty, and loving God.
Focusing on the Problem. It’s pretty hard to trust when all we see is the threat. We have trouble shifting our gaze from the problem to God.
Substitutions. Perhaps we place our trust in wealth instead of God. In the Gospel of Matthew, we read about Jesus encountering a young, rich man (Matthew 19:16-28). Afterward, He tells His disciples how difficult it is for a wealthy person to enter the kingdom of heaven. His caution is not a warning against possessing wealth, but against allowing ourselves to trust in that wealth instead of God.
Alternatively, we might elevate the importance of the attention and popularity we receive from others. Doesn’t it feel validating to have hundreds or thousands of followers on our blog or Facebook? When we’re in a group, are we more concerned with each person present or with how they respond to us?
Romantic attachments can be particularly dominating. We use the attention we receive from someone of the opposite sex to affirm our sense of value. But if that person rejects us, we feel devastated. Romantic love is a beautiful gift, but it has nothing to do with determining our value. That’s easy to say, but hard to accept at the emotional level. Once we tie our value into the relationship, we can end up entrusting the other person with much more than we should.
Our culture values capable people. A title or position is more than a descriptive label; we treat them like certificates of ability and worth.
Needing to be in charge. This hasn’t changed since Adam and Eve. Being in charge still feels more secure than trusting in a God who we cannot control.
Trusting in God
How can we further develop our trust-ability?
Get your head on straight.
The trouble we have with trust is often in our head. We need to keep our thinking clear.
- Our God is a BIG God! He can do anything.
- God loves us, and nothing can separate us from that love.
- We don’t control God. There’s a lot we can’t even control about ourselves.
- Watch your self-talk, as we tell ourselves things like “You’re worthless,” or “God doesn’t care about you.”
- When God seems not to answer the way we expect, it is NEVER because He is powerless or because He doesn’t care.
Get your heart in the right place.
Recognize and admit when you’re hurting. It’s OK to be angry with God, but don’t use it as an excuse to reject Him or His Church. Be open toanythingGod has for you. Want to want to put God first in your life.
Do your part, then let go and let God do His.
Take care of the responsibilities you’ve been given. It’s not about controlling life to maximize outcomes, but learning to cooperate with the Holy Spirit so you can do things God’s way. Surrender to Jesus.
Trusting God is a journey, not a destination.
We often don’t know where God will lead us, but we do know He is with us and He will help and guide us. Instead of going from point A to G in one step, we might have to travel to all the letter-stops along the way. The process helps us to grow and glorifies God as we go.