Today was a rough day.
I think God has been brewing a lesson for me and today was the day I got to take a sip of it.
I say that I put my faith in Him. That I’m a Christian and have decided to follow Christ. I say that I trust Him to take care of me. I profess to believe that all good gifts come from Him and that I’m a grateful steward of the things He’s blessed me with.
Sadly, the reality often is that I trust myself and not Him.
It’s easy to say that you trust a boat to keep you afloat when you’re wearing a life jacket. Or that you believe you’ll pay all your bills when you see that your bank account exceeds what is owed. It doesn’t take much faith to believe things will work out when you know that you have what it takes to make it all happen.
My dictionary app says that faith is, “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” Pretty serious stuff, right?
BUT, professing to be a Christian, “ups the ante” on faith. Jesus said, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)
That’s the real stuff. Not seeing and not knowing yet still believing and still trusting.
I could write a 3000 word essay on the conflict that I feel about planning, preparing and “being wise” contrasted with living by faith. In the last paragraph, I’d chalk it up to being another one of those things in life that’s a fine line, so I’ll spare you the other 2990 words.
At the end of the day, I think the right way to live is a fine line between planning, preparing & being wise and having faith that it’s ultimately in His hands.
Fine lines bug me.
A little to the left and you’re off course. A little to the right and you’re in the ditch.
God seems to love fine lines.
They’re like a tight rope that we walk while holding His hand. As long as we lean on Him and grip tighter, we don’t fall off the rope and plummet to the ground. Or, better yet, we don’t fall off the rope and dangle stupidly from our safety harness – looking silly and having no traction.
When the winds come, or the rope shakes, we panic. Our first instinct is to hunker down, flex our muscles and will ourselves into balance. We try harder. We tell ourselves that we can handle it. We’re good enough, smart enough, rich enough, beautiful enough, capable enough and tough enough to stay on the rope.
We don’t need no stinkin’ help.
And what do you know? Sometimes it works. Sometimes we can recover control and regain our balance.
Sometimes it even works time and time and time again. Soon we don’t even see that God is right there with us holding His hands out to support us. Sticking close by for us to lean into when it gets bumpy.
This convinces us that we are good enough, smart enough, rich enough, beautiful enough, capable enough or tough enough to do it by ourselves.
But guess what?
We really aren’t. We weren’t created to do it alone. It’s not good for us to believe that we are enough. It robs us of peace, joy and contentment that are to be had when we let go and really trust that He’s got us.
We don’t need to worry. No wind is strong enough to knock us down when He’s holding our hands. No storm can pull us off the rope when we lean into Him.
We can take a deep breath and relax because the burden is not on us. It’s on Him.
He loves taking care of us. He loves watching our true selves emerge when we’re not weighted down with the worry of staying on the rope by our own means. He takes joy in grabbing us tighter when we’re scared so that He can see the look of relief wash over our faces. He loves being the hero and getting to rescue us when things look grim. He doesn’t expect us to do anything more than hold His hands and allow ourselves to lean into Him.
We don’t have to perform tricks on the rope to be worthy of His safety. We don’t have to wow Him with how much we know or how capable we are. We don’t have to flex our muscles to show Him how strong we can be.
He never expects things to be even. They are uneven and it’s okay. That’s the way it was meant to be.
And today I realized that my faith is pretty weak. I may talk the talk, but I’m really only trusting in myself.
I trust in my ability. I trust in my paycheck. I trust in my plan. I trust in my backup plan. I trust in my intellect. I trust in my problem-solving skills. I trust in my reputation. I trust in my talents.
I struggle to trust in God.
Interestingly enough, the things I’m trusting in are a little shaky right now.
My mental prowess has been cracking, my bank account has been depleting, my plans have gone awry, my problem solving skills have been outdone by anxiety, my health has been sub par, and on and on and on.
I was struck today by the reality that it’s time to reach out my hands to grab ahold of His. It’s time to lean into Him and take a deep breath of relief. It’s time to stop struggling and performing and flexing my muscles and start trusting that He’s got it all taken care of.
It’s not going to be easy, but I know that real life, abundant life, is to be had on the other side.