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.
I was in my bed with a book of prayers. I’d been reading and praying for a while when I realized that I was perfectly relaxed. My pillows were perfectly situated. Supporting my lower back was a cushy, squishy pillow with its ends curled just slightly around my sides. Above that, supporting my shoulders, neck, and head, was a firm throw pillow. It was perfect for reading and my prayers were so peaceful.
Why in the world am I telling you how I like my pillows? The support was critical for what I was doing. So, it is in life.
My life has changed a lot in the two years since I went through The Journey Training. I have found a new job, moved, made some incredible new friends, and made several changes to my health and fitness regimen. Through all of that, I have received a world of support. I am blessed by the world’s greatest family and friends! I can count on them to always lift me up.
Sometimes the support systems shift though. A particular person may not be there the way they were previously. I often find that God “highlights” one or two relationships in a given season, in which He enables an increased energy and focus to be put into that relationship. The support changes based on what I need, who I need, and who needs me. When I am well supported, I feel relaxed and at peace. I feel ready to tackle whatever is in front of me.
We are not meant to go through life alone. We all need support from time to time. Do you crave some quality support? Consider trying The Journey Training – you’ll be lifted up like never before!
My wife, Lisa, and I are blessed to have a beautiful home. It’s not beautiful because it’s the biggest or fanciest home we’ve ever owned. It’s beautiful because of the love we’ve poured into it and Lisa’s gifts and talents for making anything in this world more beautiful. It’s what she was created to do!
The other day, we were outside planting some new flowers in the flower beds and we noticed that quite a few weeds had begun to appear in some areas. We had already done a lot of work that day so I made her a promise that I would take care of the weeds and have them out before she got back home from a trip she was about to take.
Being the great procrastinator that I can be, I didn’t jump on this task right away. I left the house and came home many times over the next several days. Then one day, all I could focus on was the weeds as I came in the driveway. I couldn’t see all the beautiful flowers anymore, even though they were still right there.
So I finally got to work on the commitment I had made and while I was pulling the weeds I started thinking about things from a different perspective. Why was I so focused on the weeds and not the flowers? Why was I allowing the weeds to redefine the true beauty of the flowers?
Then it occurred to me that we do that with ourselves and other people all the time too if we’re willing to be honest. It really is a matter of focus. We can become so focused on a negative behavior or event that we will actually begin to treat ourselves or other people differently. We will wipe out years of good decisions or years of love and kindness in the blink of an eye. Before we know it, something that was once so beautiful begins to disappear as if it doesn’t exist. Yet it’s still right there.
Where’s your focus right now? Is it the weed or the flower? What is bothering you right now? Are you so focused on something you haven’t done right or that someone else hasn’t done right that you can’t see who you or they truly are anymore?
We should be careful about what we choose to focus our attention on and for how long. If we have done something wrong or someone else has done something wrong, we should face it and hold ourselves or others accountable. We should pull the weed and not ignore it or dwell on it.
And then we should strive to remember this:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
Where’s your focus? What will you choose?
To learn more about The Journey Training, visit us at www.thejourneytraining.com. Hope to see you in the next class!
Plenty of people have compared the weights we can lift to the weights we carry in life, whether we call them weights, trials, or maybe even chains. This blog will look at how I lift weights a little differently, in the gym and in life.
I’m taking a Strength and Tone class on Monday nights. This usually involves a step bench, weights (“light” and “heavy” as designated by each individual), and sometimes a bar, resistance band, or ball. I always have extra weights handy, because my left side is weaker than my right from a stroke. Needless to say, I work out to the best of my abilities. I can do everything I’m asked to do (try telling me I can’t – I dare you!), but it usually looks different or takes my muscles a minute to coordinate themselves.
Recently, I was doing overhead lifts and I could feel my left-hand over-flexing, bending back too far. I didn’t have to drop the weight. I just had to change my grip!
The beauty of taking a class like this is that there’s always freedom to do what works for me.
Let’s look at some of the choices I can always make:
- Do the exercise as it is prescribed – Sometimes, I can do exactly what I’m given to do. That’s great!
- Change the way I do it – One of the best ways I’ve learned to do push-ups is with a hand on a weight – it takes pressure off of my wrist. Maybe you can’t do something the same way as another person – so do it your way!
- Do more – I can lift more on my right side, so I always have a heavier weight for that side or I do more repetitions with that side. Sometimes we can do more in one way than another! I can listen and give advice way better than I can cook.
- Alternate – Sometimes I can’t do both arms at the same time, but I can focus on one at a time. How true in life is this one? If there’s more paperwork to be done, my house can stay messy until I can finish the paperwork and then pick up the cleaning – unless there’s something more fun!
- Drop the weight – Oh, I do not like this option! Well, maybe I should. Maybe I need to rest for a few seconds. Maybe, I need to reclaim my balance. I’ve come to realize that if I’m going to be any good later, sometimes I need to take a break.
We all have trials in life that aren’t as simple as managing hand weights during a workout. Sometimes we don’t have all of the choices available to us in every situation. For example, if you’re a single mom, there may be weights you cannot drop, but you can move them around. You can lift them differently. We always have choices that we can make, if we will learn to slow down and consider them.
The Journey Training is like weight training for your life. It can train you to identify your weights, equip you with exercises, and help you lift more effectively, all while strengthening you in your life! Are you ready? Enroll in the next class and get pumped up!
Over the past few months I have had to deal with some physical issues that have led to the doctors putting a lot of limits on what I can and cannot do. I’m the type of person who loves being around others and usually hates having to depend on others for anything. In fact, for the last 5 years I’ve generally faced life with a “God and I can do anything” attitude, staying strong for my kids, family, and friends. So when the doctor said, “ You can’t drive for at least 2-3 weeks. You can’t lift heavy objects or even walk without being attached to a tank of oxygen,” it kind of threw me for a loop.
At first, I was tempted to go into a dark place, feeling sorry for myself and wondering how on earth I was going to get my kids to and from school, pay bills (without working), and basically keep life going at all. I felt like I was being given a sentence of isolation and being punished for something I had done. Fortunately, I had friends and family that reminded me of some things I learned through my experience with The Journey Training.
In The Journey Training I learned that I always have a choice and I was challenged to see circumstances that I face from a different perspective. Even the Bible says, “My brothers and sisters, be very happy when you are tested in different ways…” (James 1:2) In every situation, we have a choice on how we view it and respond to it.
I was seeing the restrictions placed on me by the doctors as a sentence of isolation and a form of punishment. I was dwelling on the fact that I couldn’t get out and do all the things that I enjoyed and be around those that added to my happiness. I saw myself as weak, stuck in the house, alone and broken.
As I was talking to a friend about my situation, they gave me a different perspective that I could possibly choose to see. They brought to my attention that there are people who pay large amounts of money to go someplace where they can be alone, have time away from everything and to refocus. They told me that I was being given this kind of opportunity for free.
A light bulb went off in my head and made me say “hmmmm”. How could I look at my situation differently than a sentence of isolation? How could I turn this situation into a window of opportunity? What could I do during this time of limitation that would take me closer to my dreams after this season of rest was over?
As I contemplated these questions and realized, I actually had a choice, new thoughts came to me. I could: spend more time with God, journal about where I wanted the next phase of life to look like, allow myself to get the rest I needed to heal properly, spend time dreaming more, and a multitude of other things. Instead of focusing on the “bars on the prison window”, I could focus on the light of the sun that was shining through it and all that the light could possibly represent.This brightened my attitude, increased my energy level and allowed me to enjoy the season I was in instead of dreading it.
What are you facing right now? Are things that are beyond your control placing limits on what you can do? How can you turn your focus from the prison bars to the sunshine? The Journey Training and the friends I made there have truly changed my life and given me tools that help me in everyday life continue to reach for my dreams and actually live life rather than just exist in it.