Friday, May 3, 2013

Learning how to Trust.

[I will warn you ahead of time. This blog is long. Stick with me.]

At once the father of the boy gave [an eager, piercing, inarticulate] cry with tears, and he said, Lord, I believe! [Constantly] help my weakness of faith! (Mark 9:24 AMP)

My unbelief. A weakness for any living being. The areas of trust..are so much easier said than done. And I will explain that in a little..

So often when my life feels like it is in pieces and I feel like I'm one thread away from unraveling into a bowl like spaghetti, it's because my perspective has changed. I start thinking my problems are bigger than my God--that my mountains are too big for my huge mountain moving Father. 

I doubt. Disbelief. The slithery lies sneak in. I start to doubt my purpose, my value, and my name. All of a sudden, I forget the works of the Lord and only remember all of the disappointments. 

Most people who know me, know I haven't been sleeping (sorry to the ones who live with me and see the grouchy consequences of that). Yet, how quickly we can snooze off spiritually. Never fall asleep. Constantly put on the armor (Ephesians 6), get in the Word, and stay connected. The winding and paralyzingly road of distrust can lead to a dark pit. From experience I know it leads to a dark place. I hate getting stuck.

It's a daily fight, a constant surrender, and a hard and challenging process. This just "living". This taking your hands off of the wheel. It is easier said than done Carrie Underwood..to allow Jesus to take the wheel.

This makes me think of my mom. My brother lives in the mountains out in Pennsylvania. Around the town, if needed, she would probably allow someone else to drive. It wouldn't be a terrible fight to take over. But, at night, on the winding mountain roads--ha! yeah right. It would be a battle to the death. She grips the wheel tight, is in constant stop-go-mode, eyes focused forward, trying to maintain complete control, not knowing what to expect around the bends--she for sure is not letting anyone take over. She will be the one to drive that trip. 

I'm not making fun of my mom (and honestly she is the only one I trust driving on those roads). But I think it is such a picture of what I do with Christ. In "town", where it's familiar and comfortable--God why don't you take this one. But that road up ahead, the one where I have never been, where I don't know what's around the corner, where it's not nicely lit--let me just hold on. I grasp and cling to the steering wheel. 
Where is the trust?

Another warning: I am well aware this dream is going to sound cheesy, like it came from a Hallmark Christmas movie..bear with me...

This was my dream last night: I was walking on the beach. There was nothing out of the ordinary. Walking along where the waves meet the shore, I was searching for a sand dollar. Seashells are cool but since living at the beach I have only found 4 sand dollars. They are a rare find..a gift. So here I am, on a frantic search for this treasure. And I keep hearing..Seek Me. Seek Me. Search for Me. In my dream, I came to this realization that I don't seek Him the same way I seek what He has to offer. He has so many treasures to give. Sometimes He surprises us with gifts. Other times they remain hidden, but that doesn't mean they aren't still available. We just have to seek the One who holds the map. Seek Me. Search for Me. 

Do we pursue God with all of our being? Do we know what it is, to search for Him? Have we been on the hunt for Jesus? If we seek Him--if we have the intimate closeness with the One who chose us--won't the trust come more naturally. Isn't it easier to allow someone we know, love and believe in, someone we have confidence in--isn't it easier to let go and let them take control?

This year, I have found myself on the floor very often. I think about those moments all the time. Even in my times of pure joy, I remember what it took to get me there. It is those raw, honest, intimate moments of total desperation..laying at the feet of Jesus...that I find the most pain...the most growth. 

Prayers have become...not a list of wants or a chore..but the power...the communication line that keeps me living. To believe in the Word. To trust what He says is true. To draw near to His throne of grace with bold confidence that He will hear my cries. Just to speak His name..a bold and radical move.

"Our most powerful prayers are linked to the promises of God. When you know you are praying the promises of God, you can pray with holy confidence. God said it, I've circled it, and that settles it for me." 
-Pastor Dad 

One more thought. 
We are reading a book, Follow Me, by David Platt in Bible Study. The last chapter we read, hit me deep. It talked about what it means to be a child of God. 

1 John 3:1 "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God" 

We are His children. We know John 15, talks about how He chose us.

To choose us. This took me years to grasp. It contradicted my very insecure heart. That God would choose us when so often we are just an option, feel used, unappreciated. But God says, No..I choose to love, save, redeem, rename, mold, shape, and use you for a meaningful purpose.

But there is another whole side to this choice that I've never thought about. Why? Why did He choose us? Out of duty? Because He's God and that's what He does? No..because He WANTED to. This makes the tears start to run their familiar course. My Father chooses me because He wants to delight in me. Not out of cold duty but out of pure love.

My heart has a hard time believing this, because we put our own human attributes, insecurities and experiences on God. We think of all the reasons why we are unwanted and shouldn't be picked. All of the obvious reasons why it shouldn't work. He takes the risk. God's relentless love, continues to push through and break the walls built up in my heart.

I took some long, drawn out personality test a while back. It was supposed to show you how you handle conflict, approach problems, situations and life. Anyways, in the category of feelings vs. thinking. The norm is to be somewhere in the middle, usually leaning towards one side but generally having both. I am 96% feelings. That's ridiculous. Every time I think about that I want to either laugh or cry..do something "emotional". Because that's most of who I am. 

I frustrate myself more than anyone else on this planet. It's hard when half of the time you don't even understand what you are thinking or feeling because emotions overwhelm. I'm comforted that (psalm 139) He knows me inside and out. And even when the world can't handle me, when I am "too much" most of the time, and feel like a jerk because I make a mess wherever I go..I have to trust. I have to believe that (even if being tender hearted has never made life easier) He has made me this way for a reason...and wants me...chooses to use me and all of the 96% emotionalness that I am.

Through this season. Through the restless nights, the all out crying sessions, the painful moments of learning to let go...He has given me more of Himself. This is the Psalm I've been going to..

"Take my side, God—I'm getting kicked around, stomped on every day. Not a day goes by but somebody beats me up; They make it their duty to beat me up. When I get really afraid I come to you in trust. I'm proud to praise God; fearless now, I trust in God. What can mere mortals do?...

[You've kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.]

If my enemies run away, turn tail when I yell at them, Then I'll know that God is on my side. I'm proud to praise God, proud to praise God. Fearless now, I trust in God; what can mere mortals do to me? 

God, you did everything you promised, and I'm thanking you with all my heart. You pulled me from the brink of death, my feet from the cliff-edge of doom. Now I stroll at leisure with God in the sunlit fields of life" (Psalm 56 MSG)

I never would trade the tossing and turning, the endless tears--for coming out on the other side and strolling with my Father in the sunlit fields..living...learning how to trust.