Trust in the Midst of a Few Waves

Japanese rock garden

The past few days I’ve been confronting my trust issues. Well, at least when I’m not trying to hide from them in distractions and avoidance.

I want life to be orderly. Predictable. Controlled. All my i’s dotted and t’s crossed.  Somewhat orderly like this picture of a Japanese rock garden that I took back in 2008.  I feel calm when life seems mapped out that way. I acknowledge this is not a realistic picture. Life is unpredictable at times. Chaos strikes. Plans change. Order gets shaken up into disaster. But I still like my illusion of control. And I like it more than I had been willing to acknowledge. I thought I was the one putting my rocks in a row. I think I’m wrong about that now.

Several events this past week make my life feel more like the second picture — looking out on open water covered by fog as waves start to cover my rocky perch. They’re silly little things. But the silly little things seem to shake me worse than the big things. Somehow they get me more unnerved.

Lake Superior waves washing over rocks

I thought God and I were all “cool.” Now that things have gotten a smidgeon bumpy, I realized maybe my trust has been in myself and not so much in God. I want to get myself off the rocky perch but feel trapped.

God led me this far. I didn’t drown on my way out to this place. So, why is it that I’m so afraid now? I’m probably too busy looking around at the waves and fog while feeling the chill of the water as it rises.

God keeps inviting, “will you trust Me?” Will I rest in God’s providence over my life? Over my family’s life? Or will I continue to cling to my anxiety and desire for ordering the world to my liking? I’m having a hard time releasing my death grip on control of things that aren’t mine to control (and aren’t possible to control anyway). All this makes me a bit insane, and I dislike this control freak worrywart dwelling inside me.

Time for a wee reality check. All I am and have is a gift. This moment is a gift from the God who sustains the universe; the sun hasn’t blown up. Nuclear warfare hasn’t obliterated the entire planet. The world keeps spinning. I still live, move, breathe. This is nothing less than pure grace. Grace I don’t control or earn.

The desire for control keeps me from enjoying the present. Instead of relishing the silence or the beauty of the world in front of me, I’m busy fearing for the future. I find myself choosing fear over life. I cheat myself of the gifts before me as I yield to the anxiety. I miss out on life.

I’d rather be living fully than be cowering in the corner. I need to trust to be able to do that.

Trust is not a passive action. Trust is not maybe. Trust means taking a step. Trust means commitment. Movement forward. Standing on the road but never taking a step forward is not trust. Faith means leaning into God. Following. Not just observing forever.

Lord Jesus – have mercy on me. Help me to really lean deep into you. Teach me to depend on You rather than my meager efforts alone. As the centurion prayed, “I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief (Mark 9:24).”

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