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.
Before I went through The Journey Training I thought I had my life pretty “together”, not perfect by any means but better than a lot of people. I was, of course, in complete denial! I was broken, bruised, scarred, and hurting. I could write pages of all I received from the training but I’ll save that for another time. What I will address is the fact that The Journey Training is not over at the end of Threshold or Crossroads, or even Launch – which I just completed.
After the training weekends, I continued to realize things that God was speaking to my heart long after I got home. I think God was always trying to speak to me but I had stopped hearing Him and had given up on the dreams He had placed in my heart long ago! I knew, even as a young child, He wanted to use me. But over the years, I had let the weeds of my life choke out those dreams. My heart had been broken too many times and I had stopped going to the Father for comfort. When I returned home from Journey, I felt hopeful that I would possibly hear Him again and I told Him I was open to listen!
Yesterday, I was doing my grocery shopping at Walmart with my husband Beau. We both dislike shopping, especially Walmart shopping, so we are usually rushing to get our list knocked out and get out of there. We were getting bread when I saw a young black man, in his late teens or early twenties, looking down at a list that appeared to be typed out. As I looked away to select my bread, I heard that still small voice say, “Give him 40 dollars!” My husband started off to the next aisle and I quickly followed.
I thought – oh that’s just me… how awkward would that be… he would probably think I was trying to look down on him because I am an older white woman and he is a young black man… Isn’t that just like our stupid minds to get in the way? I then thought, do I even have $40 in cash? I looked in my wallet; and of course, the only cash I had was 2 crisp twenty dollar bills!
Well, I told my husband, “I just wanted you to know, because I told that still small voice: God if that’s you, that young man will need to cross my path again before we leave this store!” Beau just looked at me funny and continued on his mission to get out of the store!! We got all the way through Walmart and were headed up to the checkout line and I said to my husband, “Well I never saw him again, it must have just been me!” I was partially relieved and partly disappointed that I had missed it!
We arrive at our well selected line; the shortest one we could find that had the most competent looking cashier. We were putting our items on the belt when I looked up; and guess who was in the line checking out at the lane in front of us? YUP, the guy! I was surprised, then excited, then terrified! I looked over at Beau and he looked at me like, what up bro?! He had no idea that was the guy and I sure wasn’t going to say it; he might hear me!
I retrieved the $40 out of my purse and had it tightly gripped in my hand. My mind was racing as I was trying to decide how I would do this without it appearing that I thought he looked like a homeless person; because he didn’t! While the young man was checking out, I paced back and forth between the 2 lanes as I was putting my own bagged groceries into my cart. The cashier gave him his total of $3.43. The young man looked surprised and said, “Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t know it would cost anything, I’ll put one of the gallons of milk back.” He was using a WIC payment, which is assistance given to families with young children. As he was reaching for one of the gallons of milk, I stepped over, handed him the $40, and said, “Sir, here. I’m supposed to give this to you.” He said, “For real?” I said, “Yes!” He paid the man and as he was leaving said, “Thank you so much!” I just smiled and waved!
This seems like such a small thing but I’m crying as I’m typing this because it was a huge thing for me! It wasn’t about the money; God has blessed us. It was about being able to hear God’s voice again and walking it out! It was about Him showing me that He is still there and still wants to use me!
I am so thankful that someone saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself and invited me to The Journey Training! I’m also glad they didn’t let it rest until I finally agreed to go! I have my peace back; I have my hope back; I have my joy back; and I am HEARING again!
When you’ve dug yourself into a hole the first thing you need to do is stop digging! But then what?
I’ve been in more than one hole in my life, as I’m sure you have. There are several keys to getting out of the hole you’ve dug for yourself. Hard work and dedication are two, and the most important of all is having the faith that you can do it.
I’ve seen victory after victory in my life, and it all had to begin with a belief that things could get better. If we have no hope that things can change, we will stay stuck. I’ll bet that most of you who are reading this can identify with what I am saying in some area of your life: finances, relationship, health, weight, or even an addiction.
I’ve got news for you. There is hope! There is a way out! And it begins with one step! Let me explain.
When I was 460 pounds, the idea of running was as foreign to me as standing on the moon. Then one day something happened. While walking around the Presidential Mile, Allen Smith, a co-star on Season 8 of The Biggest Loser said something to me. He said, “Let’s run.”
Then of course I said, “What are you, CRAZY?!” Allen replied, “Just to that light pole up ahead, let’s go!” And he took off. I followed, but after 10 steps my mind told me to quit. Allen cheered me on and I chose to keep going. I made it to the light pole, and the next day, Allen challenged me to run a little farther. I noticed after a week of this something was happening. The time from when I started to when I wanted to quit was getting longer and longer.
Nine months later I was running the 114th Boston Marathon, which was my second marathon in only 6 months! And each time I started running, the point where my mind would tell me to stop was getting farther and farther into my run! That day it was mile 13 before my mind said to stop! I’d gone from 10 steps to 13 miles before wanting to quit!
Since that day, the thoughts of taking on seemingly impossible tasks aren’t as scary. In fact, I have the faith that if I begin, stay the course, and slightly increase day by day, I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. And not only the time from starting to wanting to quit gets longer and longer, but the time from when I fall down to when I get back up gets shorter and shorter.
That’s what life is all about. We’re going to be scared of the unknown, but we must be willing to take a step. We are going to fall down, but we must get back up. Faith will help you. And each time you accomplish something new, your faith gets bigger. So whatever you are struggling with today, ask God to give you the strength, then STAND UP AND BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY! Soon you may find yourself in the longest race of your life, and enjoying every minute of it!