Trust. This was my word for 2015. There were 2 major lessons I learned this year from trust. One happened immediately upon my arrival to Thailand and the other towards the end of the year. Both lessons tie together and happened one right after the other.
At the beginning of the year I thought this word would be me learning to trust God for provisions, not worrying about having my basic needs met, etc. Of course that did happened this year. I mean I entered the mission field with the goal of it being long term for crying out loud. But “trust” is so much more than that. Trusting the Lord is so much greater than those things. Yes they are important but it goes much deeper than that. This year God taught me trust is also about giving situations and people over to Him instead of fixing them myself.
1st LESSON IN TRUST: PEOPLE
I am someone who likes to tell people how it is. I think I have some good advice and so I want people to take it and fix their problems. If someone upsets me and I tell him or her but they still keep doing it then I get passive aggressive and nothing good comes from that so I’m not sure why I keep doing it.
When you live in a place where you have a multitude of friends, and you have this sort of personality, it is easy to behave this way. If the person you are giving “advice” to doesn’t accept it, and decides to not be your friend anymore, then it doesn’t matter cause you have other people to do community with. Or if you finally rid yourself of the hurtful person because of your passive aggressive behavior then good ridden, you can blame them right?
NOPE!!!!! WRONG THINKING!!!!
When you live in a new place where you only have very few friends (of whom you are completely dependent on for everything because you are crippled) you can’t necessarily continue to behave this way. If the hearts of those friends aren’t ready to hear what you have to say, it can make your life miserable. You can find yourself in a very lonely place, very quickly.
I found myself in that place this year. All those years of praying for God to teach me how to control my tongue finally were answered, through a painful lesson of loneliness that my quick-tempered tongue brought on itself. During this loneliness God introduced me to the concept of trusting others in His hands. Man cannot change another man’s heart. Forcing this only brings hurt, anger, and frustration into your life. Only God can change a heart. Only God can make a wrong, right.
Growing up my mom would constantly tell me not to get back at people, but instead give them over to God. My teenage self would just roll my eyes thinking, “she knows not what she speaks.” I’d get revenge and may feel good for a little bit but later on it wouldn’t feel so good. I realized that I actually did really enjoy being with those people. I missed them. Most of the time I regretted how things ended and that they were no longer in my life. Looking back I see how extremely unhealthy, immature, unkind and prideful this is.
I have heard so many of my married friends talk about how frustrating their life was because their spouse was doing something that hurt the relationship or family. It wasn’t until they decided to shut their mouth and pray to God that things started to change in the marriage and their spouse began to change his/her ways. I never understood this until now. It actually works! Not only that, but by praying for that person I’m struggling with God also changes my heart and my perspective on the situation. We both change!
I wonder how many relationships I could have saved if I would have only learned this “trust” lesson earlier? I wonder how much heartache I could have avoided?
2nd LESSON IN TRUST: SITUATIONS
Control is an illusion. I’m a planner. Planning isn’t a bad thing, in fact the bible tells me to be prepared. But worrying about the future is bad. Things are going to happen. Circumstances and situations that once seemed solid will eventually let me down. When that happens I can either worry or I can trust. I tend to worry.
If I really trust God’s plans then that means I will rely on His strength and not my own when plans change. Emmanuel is with me. He is standing right next to me, waiting for me to stop figuring it out on my own and trust His way. “None who wait for you shall be put to shame…” (Psalm 25:3)
Sometimes things happen as a consequence of me being a wretched idiot (see lesson above). Sometimes unexpected things happen for reasons I do not understand, therefore, I will not understand how to get out of them. This is the kind of “circumstantial trust” I am referring to in this lesson. This is the most recent lesson I have begun to learn late in this year. I’m pretty sure this lesson is going to affect me for quite awhile actually. This lesson is also wrapped up in a lesson of submission (my word for 2014) and humility (my word for 2016).
I’m not going to go into much detail about this because I don’t understand, I’m confused, and really none of it makes any sense to me. The reasons I am being given don’t add up, the stories I am being told don’t match up. I’m heart broken actually. I did everything I was asked, everything that was expected of me this past year, and it ended with the solid plans I thought I had ripped out from under me. Because of lack of communication, miscommunication, misunderstanding or whatever factor is playing into my current situation, I find myself in an extremely unstable territory, wandering in a desert, feeling manipulated, betrayed and isolated, hoping the dream I’ve been chasing these past 10 years doesn’t get taken away from me as well.
Every prideful bone in my body wants me to lash out with pride and get revenge. I have the “wretched do, do’s” as I call them (see Romans 7). When I think about it though, I really believe this is an opportunity for me to learn a lesson in humility. I am so thankful for this conviction because I know the outcome of this choice will be the best. Humility is such an important trait for the mission field. (I’m not going to go into too much detail about this because my next blog will be about humility and this one is starting to get too long.)
Even though this doesn’t make sense to me, and I could come up with a million reasons why, I have decided to submit to my authority and follow the recommendation I’ve been given. It’s being obedient. I just have to trust that God will provide in the midst of all this uncertainty I am now facing even though it came out of no where and I can’t explain it’s existence. “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” ~C.S. Lewis
Often I tell people “I’m an eagle, not a cockatiel” because I am such a free spirit. I love to fly and fly high. I hate being put in a cage. I need to be in a flexible environment as big as the sky. I might consider myself an eagle but even an eagle knows when it’s better to soar with the wind than fly against it. I don’t have to be in a cage. I can still be an eagle. But it’s time to soar with the wind.
Saying no would be soaring against the wind. I’ll get where I need to be but it will be much harder without the spiritual protection of my leaders over me. It is a very stubborn thing to do. Saying yes with a prideful and arrogant attitude will put and keep me in a cage I have no desire to be in.
I used to think that saying yes was keeping me in a cage. But once you hit your 30’s it’s time to grow up and stop acting like an immature teenager who thinks she knows it all. One thing I have learned since stepping foot on Korean soil almost 3 years ago is that saying yes sometimes is actually soaring with the wind. If what is being asked of me isn’t detrimental to me or my faith and could actually benefit me, then why not say yes and look for opportunities to shine within the yes? Soaring with the wind may take longer to get where I want to go but it will be a lot easier.
So that is it! That is what I learned from the word “trust” this year. I’m still a work in progress and will continue to be until the good Lord takes me home. I’m so grateful for His patience, mercy, and forgiveness to me. I’m also grateful for those people who He has put in my life who put up with me, pray for me, and don’t leave me! If you are one of those people thank you for not giving up on me!!! God bless you!!! I love you!!! I pray I don’t forget the lessons I learned this year! I pray that I remain thankful for the blessings I have during difficult times as well.
“Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noon-day.” ~Psalm 37:3-6