Trusting God's Good, Even If Life Isn't
Waking up in a pool of blood gets your attention, fast.
I was in hospital following major surgery, my eyes struggling to open after a morphine induced sleep. The sticky warmth pooling around me was an obvious clue something was wrong - I didn't need to be a doctor to figure that out - but I had no idea what.
Had they botched my surgery? Was I bleeding out?
In that moment I wanted to trust God, I really did.
And I did, kind of.
Yet it was there, lying in my own blood, I realized trusting God isn’t as easy as I thought.
Are you struggling to trust God too?
If life’s rough right now I’m sure you want to trust God. You probably know you need to trust Him but when the doctor called, you discovered your teen is cutting, or your brain's spinning with worry about any number of things, maybe, like me, you've discovered it’s not easy as it seems.
How can God be good when life isn’t?
Do I want to trust a God who’s allowed this pain?
We long to cast our burdens onto him, confident he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
We dream of traveling through life anxiety free, knowing He's got us and won't let us down.
But the fear of God being as unpredictable, untrustworthy, and unreliable as life, makes us hesitate.
After I lost both my mum and sister to cancer I was diagnosed.
Despite being determined to survive, it wasn’t long before surviving was all I was doing. That's when I woke up in that pool of blood and panic raced through me.
When life was all rainbows and butterflies I thought I’d be able to trust God no matter what life threw at me but when my family heat seeking missile of death locked in on me, it wasn’t that simple.
Now I know why.
It's not all your fault.
Our brains work against us, constantly eroding our trust in God.
Do you remember the hurtful words spoken over you more than the loving affirmations? Are the memories of losing a friend stronger than the ones of the day you first held your daughter?
For many of us the answer is “yes” and that's the problem.
Our brains are wired to recall bad memories over good. And that's not all, they're wired to remember painful moments not just more easily than the ones where we smiled and laughed, they're recalled with greater detail and hung on to for longer.
We're wired this way to avoid pain and death yet this self-protection works against us as we try and trust God.
Experience teaches us to trust people and things who've proved themselves trustworthy.
I'm trusting this chair to hold my weight because it always has and I trust the guy who fixes our appliances to not be late because he's always on time.
The tough, painful, moments that have left us feeling alone, unloved and forgotten by God sit on top of our memory banks where we revisit them at a glance, eroding our trust, persuading us He doesn't care, is angry or has left us to figure it out alone.
Thankfully we can change our brain’s wiring making trusting God easier.
Our happy, trust-building memories are buried deep where it's harder to access. They remind us of the times God's come through for us, we've found comfort in his arms and felt his peace in our most panic stricken moments.
Happy memories build trust in God while hard memories erode it.
Since we lack a trusting-God-gene; one to make trusting God our default setting, trusting Him takes intentionality and a bit of work.
We must boost our wonderful trust-building memories of God until they drown out the painful trust-eroding memories.
Since it takes intentionality and work, I’ve done some of it for you. Here are my 5 simple steps to trusting God when you don't feel like it.
They bring our positive memories of God's faithfulness in the past into the present.
5 Simple Steps to Trusting God When You Don't Feel Like It
1.Check God's Credentials:
Before we trust anyone, from a doctor to a car mechanic, we check out their references to see if they’re trustworthy. To build positive trust-building memories and stories of how God does what he promises we can check out God’s credentials too.
2. Ask Him for Help:
No one said trusting God with our shattered lives is easy but I believe He’s delighted to help if we ask. We can simply pray, "God, I'm really struggling to trust you right now. Please help me. I trust. Help my lack of trust."
3. Choose to Trust:
Trust is a verb, an action, a doing word. It’s something only we can choose to do for ourselves. We don’t need our emotion's permission to trust God and trusting scared, trusting doubtfully, or simply trusting with the tiny slither of faith we can muster, is still trust.
4. Let Go:
Is there something or someone you’re putting your trust in over God? In order to fully trust God we must let go of anything and anyone we’ve elevated above him and grasp hold of God with instead.
5. Keep a Record:
As we step out and trust Him, however shakily, keeping track of how He shows up helps build those trust-building memories and grow our confidence in Him for the future. It raises our expectations of what He will do and sets us up to trust Him more easily next time. It's like paying into a trust bank.
These five steps keep the powerful trust-building memories top of mind making trusting God easier and more of a go-to response when life is hard.
When life falls apart or we wake up in our own pool of blood, trusting God is still who he says he is harder than it was when life was all rainbows and butterflies. Yet by choosing to take him at his word we don’t deny life is hard, we simply face it head on in the knowledge he is good even if life isn’t, he loves us even if others don’t, and he won’t leave us even if we’ve been abandoned before.
It’s here we discover His peace that passes understanding and guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
It’s here we learn to trust God when we can’t stop worrying.
Want to Trust God more and worry less?
Then this is for you 👇😘🎁
In my FREE ebook How to Trust God When You Can't Stop Worrying I unpack this process in more detail, taking you through all you need to know what to do when fear or panic grip you, how to build your trusting God muscles for when life sideswipes you, and I give you a guided prayer format to help you pray when trusting God is hardest.
It comes with my two more FREE books, one with an audio guide, Waking Up Happy When You're Tired of Being Tired and Hack Your Self Talk and Love the Real You.