Monday, November 15, 2010

Strong Women Soft Hearts Chapter 6

Trust: The Art of Falling Backward
This post has been a little while in writing. I have been letting it simmer for a few weeks now.

If I’m completely honest, it has actually been boiling away in my heart, and my mind and life.

I’ve been trying to decide just how candid I will be here, here on the world wide web where bits of information can be stored forever, where anyone can see and read what I write.

My decision is to be open and honest, and my prayer as I type is that the words that form in my mind and get transferred to the page will be used by God to touch others. Others who also find trust a scary, blind place to be in. Women for whom the word “trust” makes them catch their breath as they fight the urge to let panic over take them.

I don’t know who might read this, if anyone. I don’t know your faces, your stories, your fears, or your dreams to overcome them.

I do know this: God knows.

He knows the number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:7).

He knew you even before you were born (Psalm 139:16).

He holds onto you and won’t let go (Psalm 73:23).

And He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

Know this too: as I’m writing, I’m praying for you.

I want to share something; I have the team building activity where people stand in a tight circle with someone in the middle. Then the person in the middle is blindfolded and had to allow themselves to fall backwards, trusting that they would be caught before they hit the ground by the people standing in the circle.

I hate this activity. Those few milliseconds where you fall backwards always felt like an eternity to me, and I’m sure my heart has almost stopped a number of times with relief once my turn was complete and I realised that I hadn’t ended up injured on the ground.

This is the analogy that Paula Rinehart uses in this chapter to describe what trust on God should be like. Only she took it one step further and suggested going up a ladder and falling backwards from a height, and trusting strangers that you would be caught! No thank you, I like terra firma.

Paula says that trust is allowing yourself to fall backward into the goodness of God. I guess though to do this you have to believe that God is good, and I have no doubt that there are people out there who struggle with this truth.

But He is good and I wish that I had a good explanation for why bad things happen, for why God allows terrible things to occur. I wish I had a non cliched reason for why, but I don’t. I just know that despite all the tragedy that we go though in this life God is good, and His plans for our lives are for good and not evil. (Jeremiah 29:11) “Accepting the mystery of what we cannot know will lead us to the heart of God where we trade our craving for explanation for a simple willingness to trust”.(page 81)

This is the place I have found myself in over the last few weeks.

I have spent weeks, if not months, battling against God’s timing on a number of areas of my life. And they have all boiled to the surface this last two weeks and exploded, leaving exposed some ugly truths about the state of my heart.

Ugly truths, like jealousy, greed, and my insatiable need to control everything about my life, that all but filled my heart and desires and left no room for God.

I have been so driven about making things happen the way I want them to happen and when I want them to happen that I had closed my ears off to God’s voice, and my heart to His promptings.

My plans to travel have been my own. My plans for when we buy a house have been mine. I haven’t asked God when He thinks it might be a good idea for us to start a family.

I had even decided how my tithes should be used. This one shames me the most. For most of my adult life I have tithed faithfully, even when I had nothing to really give, I always gave something. Yet this year I decided that I didn’t like how my church’s leaders were spending money and so I decided not to tithe into our church anymore.

I kept praying that God would show me where He wanted me to tithe instead. It took me until last Sunday to realise that He has been telling me to tithe into my church, His church. It is His money, not mine, and He alone has the right to decide how it should be spent. I very clearly heard Him tell me to stop controlling this area of my life, and to trust Him.

“The need to trust is our invitation, over and over, to the place where we look into his face – and no one else’s – and let ourselves be loved by him...our hands release their grip on the reins of our lives and we stop trying so hard.” (page 79)

Have you ever felt like you are just trying way too hard for things to happen in life? I think one of the things that God is trying to teach me through this little journey he has me on at the moment is that if I’m trying too hard, maybe I should just take a moment to reflect on why I’m trying so hard. Is it something I want or something God wants for me? Am I trying so hard because I’m fighting what I should really be doing? Am I trying to make something happen that God doesn’t want to happen, or it’s not in His time?

I found beauty and a real sense of peace in an image that Paula wrote. “Trust lies in the willingness to accept the particulars of how and when and where God chooses to intervene. It waits in the cool shade of surrender.”

I picture in my own imagination a beautiful big, full leafed tree, growing near a river bank with lots of lush green grass underneath, perfectly made for resting under on a hot summers day.

I love summer and the hot weather, but even I get tired and feel drained after a number of really hot days in the middle of summer, the kind of days where the has been no respite from the heat, even at night. After days of no or little sleep, everything can become a burden, weighing me down.

The moment the cool change is ushered in is sweet relief! That’s how I picture this idea of trust that Paula painted in her words, the moment of refreshing, of reinvigorating, the moment of release.

This is how it can be when we stop trying so hard to make everything happen, and just rest in God, in the knowledge that He is in control. He is. It often can seem like everything is out of control, but I choose to trust that despite appearances, He holds us all in His gentle hands and is in control.

So much is unknown in this life, and so far I have found that trying to control everything doesn’t make me happy or trouble free. It mostly makes me crabby and stressed out

So I want to leave you with one final quote from this chapter;

“What you don’t how and when and in what manner you will experience his mercy. You are simply and mightily assured that you will.”

Thank you Jesus!

xxx Sharen

P.S. If you would like me to pray for you, please feel free to leave a comment, or contact me!

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