Trust, a word that I keep coming across a lot in my life lately. I don’t know about you, but when a word seems to reoccur in my life over a period of time, I finally ask myself and God, “Ok, what about this word am I supposed to learn?”
I know that trust is a big deal for a lot of people. In The Journey Training, it’s a big focus of the Threshold weekend. I used to consider myself a pretty trusting individual until I was recently forced to take a deeper look at what this word really means and how it affects the way I live my life.
When I ponder the idea of trust, I used to think that who I did or did not trust was based on the other person and how they treated me. If someone consistently lied to me or was always late for meetings with me or seemed to break promises, I tended to not trust them, or at least trust them less (is that really a thing?). However, I’ve recently been challenged to reevaluate my view of trust, especially when it comes to God, His kids, and those I call my closest friends.
Proverbs 3:5-6 from the Message Bible says, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure everything out 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. Don’t assume that you know it all.” Most of us who profess to be Christians have heard this passage several times. However, do you know what it really means? Do you find it easy to fully trust God from the bottom of your heart, with everything you have? I know, for me, fully trusting God is a hard concept to grasp; and it has nothing to do with God but everything to do with me.
Due to some health issues lately, my vulnerability and trust levels have increased greatly. I thought I was trusting before, but when things got downright hopeless, I realized I was closing myself off to God and those who genuinely cared about me because I didn’t want to be hurt worse, or seen as weak and unable to handle life. Everywhere I went I saw the word TRUST staring me in the face. It was in my daily devotions; it was in the sermons at church; it was glaring at me when volunteering at The Journey Training weekends. Everywhere I looked, trust surrounded me but I still wasn’t getting it.
So, I began to ask God and also talk to some of the people around me. Trust is a choice and in order to live out my purpose I wanted/needed to figure this out. Trust, to me, means that I am willing to be so authentic with you (or God or whoever), that I recognize the possibility of getting hurt and still choose to do so in order to receive the benefits of the relationship. Trusting God means I choose to believe that He has my best interest at heart and admitting that I can’t do it all by myself and His ways are better. Trusting God means, no matter what I’m feeling or what I’m seeing, I’m still open enough to share my feelings with Him and choose to believe that He is listening.
How does this translate into other relationships? Well, I’ve come to find that if people say they care and want to help you, then you should be real and vulnerable enough to give them a chance. I am a human, and no matter how much I would love to believe that I am all of the super heroes rolled into one (you know, the GREATEST person ever!), I have weaknesses and limitations. God created me (and you) to be connected with others in relationship for a reason. We can’t do life all alone, but all together, we can handle just about anything with His help.
So, in this season of life that I find myself, I am choosing to trust on a whole new level. This choice of mine has begun to make a huge difference in my life. By being real and vulnerable with those who are around me, I have shown that I’m willing to trust God and others with things that I cannot do on my own. Because of this decision, it is opening doors and resources that God had waiting all the time. He was inviting me to trust Him and others in a new way so that He could show me how trustworthy He is and they are.
How does trust or the lack of trust affect your life? Have you ever stopped to think about it? If you’ve been through The Journey Training, you learned a little about trust and that it is a choice. If you haven’t been through the training, I challenge you to look at trust in your own life and them maybe check out The Journey Training as a way to gain more information.
Have you ever spent the majority of a day in the airport? I had that experience not long ago, on my birthday no less! It was enough to come unglued, but thanks to the tools I received from The Journey Training, I made the most of that birthday!
I was excited to fly from Atlanta to Tulsa on my birthday to enjoy time with friends before a glorious weekend of serving with The Journey Training. The weather wasn’t so glorious though – tornado watches and severe weather predictions throughout the southeast and other parts of the country. I prepared for a delayed flight and allowed for a slow commute to the airport.
I wasn’t surprised when the flight was delayed, but the cancellation threw me for a loop. I mean, I understood, but I’ve never experienced it. I’ve only heard horror stories. I got in a line that was about 20 people deep. There were a lot of cancelled flights. When it was my turn, the agent looked at my options and got me on a flight, also connecting in Houston, several hours later.
Shortly before boarding time, there was another delay. In the best-case scenario, I would just barely have enough time to make my connection in Houston. But it wasn’t the best-case scenario, at least not while looking at it from the current perspective. Frustrated and tearing up, I considered my options. I then heard God say to me, “Stay the course. Call Stacey, a friend in Houston who I had not seen in 8 years. So, I call. Stacey answers! Yes, she is in Houston! Yes, she’ll pick me up! Yes, I can stay with her!
Not only did I not sleep in an airport or get a hotel room, I got to spend the final moments of my birthday with a long-lost friend. It was a great way to end the day! At 7:45 the next morning, I was on that first flight to Tulsa and we could now resume regularly scheduled programming!
Yes, it’s quite a story but what I hope you hear in this story is how the choices I made played a role in that day. I couldn’t control the weather, traffic, cancelled flights, or even if a friend could change their plans for me. Yet I still had choices every step of the way.
What did I choose?
I chose to be prepared for bad weather.
I chose serenity when I couldn’t change the weather, lines, flights, or crews.
I chose to make the most of my time in the airport.
I chose to go with my gut and stick with my flight to Houston.
I chose to ask for help.
I chose to embrace an impromptu reunion.
We all have choices to make, no matter what the circumstances. In The Journey Training, I learned that no matter what happens to me, I still have a responsibility to choose how I will respond to them. And that can lead you to serenity!
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
I was speaking at an event in New Orleans recently, and I told a story of a defining moment I had during my time on The Biggest Loser. I think it might be something that you need to hear, too.
On The Biggest Loser, each week we had a challenge. It might be a feat of speed that you might have to compete at (of which I would never win…I’m slow). Or it might be a feat of strength that you might have to win (and there was a contestant there that could do a pull-up on day one! I couldn’t even hang for 1 second at 430 pounds). Needless to say, this 5’11” short, Irish-American wasn’t very fast, or strong, or even confident at the time. For the first 4 weeks I didn’t do well in the challenges. In fact, I was usually in the back of the pack. But in Week 6, we had a different kind of challenge.
Your Strength may not be your strength
When we walked down to the beach and saw Alison Sweeny, we knew something was about to happen. We arrived to see 8 large sand piles on Malibu Beach, each with a shovel handle sticking out of the top. I heard the contestant next to me groan, “Ah, man! Do you know what we’re gonna have to do?” And I answered while smiling, “Oh yea, I do! We’re gonna have to DIG!”
He thought I was crazy, but what he didn’t know was that I can dig! I mean, not just dig, but if you put a sharp-shooter shovel in my hands, it’s like a 6-shooter in John Wayne’s hands! Much of my life was spent with a shovel in hand – on my Uncle’s paving crew, and while looking for property corners while surveying land – and I felt something for the first time: confidence!
The Race Begins
Alison explained that each team of four would have to dig down into the beach and uncover a treasure chest that contained a key. After we retrieved it and unlocked one of four locks on a prize box, we could go back to help a teammate dig. The first team of four to unlock all of the locks would get what was inside the box.
Alison said, “On your mark, get set, GO!” and we were off! And after 25 minutes of digging, with my back killing me, my chest was nowhere in sight. I was so frustrated, because it seemed I was just making no headway!
Have you ever dug a hole in the sand? What happens? After you dig some sand out, and it looks like you’re making progress, the sides cave in and cover up all of the hard work you just did. After the 25 minutes I was getting so discouraged that I felt like giving up.
It’s not a matter of speed, it’s a matter of will
But I didn’t give up. I kept digging and digging and digging. So much so that I got angry! And finally, the shovel came down and hit something!
“Danny’s the first one to get to his treasure chest!” Those words were the sweetest words I’d heard since going to the biggest loser! I was FIRST at something! I pulled it out of the sand, got the key, and ran to unlock my lock. After doing so, I returned to see who could dig the best so I could help them finish – and my team couldn’t dig worth a darn!
I was first, but our team lost the challenge. And when I found out that the Blue Team had won plane tickets home to their families, I cried. I hadn’t seen or talked to Darci, David and Mary Claire in over a month! I was devastated.
Defining moments often come in defeat
I walked over to the hole I had just dug and looked down in it. And I saw something other than a hole; I saw my life.
Over and over I would begin to lose weight, losing 10 – 20 – 30 – even 60 pounds, only to become discouraged and quit. In fact, I lost 239 pounds in 6 months, 3 weeks, and 5 days on that show – but that was NOTHING! I added up all of the weight I had lost and regained over the 10 years before that night and was shocked. I’d lost over 1,000 pounds! I’d lose some and get injured – quit – and gain it all back. Then I’d lose some more and go out with friends – and eat pizza – and never get back on track, causing me to gain it all back and then some. And let’s face it – when you weigh almost 500 pounds like I did, and you lose 20 pounds, it seems like the sand that kept caving in on me! I’ll never be finished!
But that night, digging that hole, I didn’t give up; I didn’t quit. And I finished! I made myself a promise that night. I promised myself that no matter how hard things got, no matter how hopeless things seemed in my life, that when I set out to do something, I WOULD FINISH! I would Lose My Quit. And never again would I be a quitter.
Life is that hole in the sand
In our marriages and relationships, in our jobs, in our health, in our goals and dreams…There will always be a thousand reasons to quit. But what you need to do when you hit those times is keep going! Victory is just on the other side of that obstacle! Lose Your Quit and you will get where you are going.
No matter what you see (or don’t see), no matter what you hear, no matter how you feel, what matters is what you do – Never, ever quit. Never give up, and I promise, you’ll have a defining moment in the struggle, and your Journey will not be in vain!
In The Journey Training, you’ll have several defining moments like mine. You’ll find out things that have been holding you back, things you need to do to get you where you want to be, and you’ll also find ways to enjoy the journey instead of just racing the race! I hope you’ll join us for the next Threshold and begin digging your hole today! The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll have your defining moment!
I am a facilitator in The Journey Training. Recently, I was traveling to Tulsa for a training weekend and I had a layover at the Atlanta airport. I had several hours in between my flights so I got something to eat and then went to the assigned gate with plenty of time to charge my phone and catch up on some email. When I arrived at my gate all of the electric outlets were already being used by other people. I’ll admit I was a little frustrated. I looked around and noticed a fairly empty area a few gates away, so I went down there and sat in a seat near the check-in desk. I plugged in and started to go through my email. Everything was back on plan.
About 5 minutes later, a lady came to the gate area and sat directly across from me on the other side the check-in desk. I could tell that she was very distraught. She was talking with someone on her phone, she was bent over and rocking back and forth in the seat, and she was crying. I had no idea what was wrong, but it must have been bad.
Immediately, a soft voice in my head said “Go to her.” I answered that voice with “Do what? I don’t think so, I’m busy.” A few minutes go by and that voice says again “Go to her.” Once again, I declined and added “Someone else will help her.” This process repeated itself in my head several times over the next 15 minutes or so until I finally said to the insistent voice “Ok, Ok – I’ll go!” Then I started trying to figure out what to say and how I was going to help her. I remembered that I had a travel pack of Kleenex in my briefcase. I got the Kleenex out and wouldn’t you know it, that’s when she stopped talking on her phone. I thought I was just going to be able to walk over, offer her the Kleenex, and walk away. I would have done what the voice asked me to do and that would be that.
I had already made eye contact with her though and now I was committed. There was no easy way out. I got up, grabbed my stuff, walked over and said “I’m not sure what you’re going through, I hope these will help a little.” She reached up and grabbed hold of the Kleenex but didn’t pull them from my hand. She just looked at me. I sat down and asked her what had happened. It took her a minute and then she said “My ex-husband committed suicide 3 hours ago, he shot himself.” I was shocked by her statement, but then things just slowed down and I knew why I was there and what I was supposed to do.
For the next 40 minutes we sat and talked. She told me about how angry she was at him, about how she should have seen the warning signs, about how it was her fault. And yes we cried together too – in front of all kinds of people. But before she boarded her flight, I helped her understand that it wasn’t her fault and I got her to tell me all the good things about him. Slowly, the weariness of guilt, grief, and anger began to fade and her face began to change when she told me how he would play with their young grandson on the floor. We talked about how she was going to go through a lot of ups and downs in the days and weeks to come. I encouraged her to remember the good things about him during those down times. Then it was time for her to board her flight. She thanked me for spending time with her, we said our goodbyes, and we went our separate ways.
I’ve thought about that day often since then. Looking back, I realize now that God orchestrated my steps. He intentionally positioned me at that gate, in that seat, directly across from another empty seat, for a specific purpose. I almost chose to ignore Him, several times in fact. Why? Because I was afraid. What was I so afraid of? Was it that she might reject my offer to help? Honestly, I think I was most afraid of being embarrassed in front of other people – if she would have made a scene and yelled something like “Just leave me alone, it’s none of your business!” I was afraid of being humiliated in public.
I’m so glad that I finally listened to the soft voice and didn’t let that fear stop me! She may never remember my name or all the details of our conversation, but I’m certain she will never forget how she felt when someone cared enough to just offer her a tissue and sit and talk with her. I hope I was as big a blessing to her as she was to me. Yes that’s what I said. She was a huge blessing to me too. She helped me remember what courage is that day, to take action even when it feels uncomfortable. God used both of us!
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people … Galatians 6:10 NIV
We are all presented with opportunities every single day to make a difference in the life of another person and receive a blessing for ourselves in return. We most often hear that soft voice, God’s voice, and choose to ignore it. We often tell ourselves “It’s none of my business, don’t get involved, they don’t need any help.” We just sit there or walk on by because we’re afraid of something.
Whenever we are doing something that is not in our best interest or in the best interest of others, we are choosing to let fear control us.
We need to realize that these opportunities are not accidents or coincidences. We need to make the choice to slow our lives down a bit so we can truly see what is going on around us, to listen to that soft voice that urges us to act, and set aside our personal fears and take action.
Let’s make it our business to have courage – to reach out to other people – to get involved – to do good in this world!
Do you often deny or ignore that soft voice? Do you let fear keep you from taking action? Come join us in The Journey Training. We’ll help you find out why and how to change it. I hope we see you soon!
“In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.” Romans 12:6 NLT
Is it better to have had and lost than to never have had at all? While you ponder that, allow me to share something that used to be a major pet peeve.
I used to get highly offended when someone would complain to me about their car being in the shop, or having to lend it to someone else. How could they possibly get around for a week with no car?
Why did this bother me? I have a visual impairment, so I can’t drive. I get around with the help of my family, friends, public transportation, and most recently, Uber. I have always had to figure out how to get from place to place, so from my perspective, a week with no car is minor. I confess that my thinking was judgmental. I have also come to respect the significance of the inconvenience. It comes down to potential.
Potential consists of latent (existing, but not developed) qualities that have the capacity to be developed. I’ve never been able to legally drive, so while the desire is within me, the capacity to do so (legally) never has existed. The potential is not there. However, the quality has been developed in those who do drive, and therefore, when a car is in the shop, they are not able to use their full mobility potential.
My potential, on the other hand, lies in the ability to get around extremely well despite my inability to drive! I am known for adventures like getting to a friend’s concert 100 miles away and back in 16 hours. I have potential to ask for help and creatively coordinate plans and rides…because it’s what I’ve always done! I have the potential to build amazing relationships from the car rides.
Are you tapping into your full potential? The Journey Training can provide you with tools to explore your potential and act on it! Don’t sit at home and mope because you don’t have a car. Drive (or ride) on over and sign up for the next class!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me understand that my potential is not defined by my circumstances.
Journal: What potential do I have that I am not using to the fullest?
Post/Tweet Today: Tap into your full potential! #limitless #triumph #thejourneytraining