Does anyone else ever feel like God sometimes has to hit you over the head again and again with the same message for you to finally begin to get it? This morning, I began praying and reading and was feeling like it was time to move on from trust, only to open up the book "Strong Women, Soft Hearts"
to gain even more insight on my constant struggle of releasing control and learning how to trust.
I mentioned this book earlier, but I have to reiterate that besides my Bible, this book has been my lifeline for 2010. I'm reading it in my Bible study and I LOVE it!! (Thanks to the fabulous recommendation from one of my friends and heroes Catharine McNally!)
Author Paula Rinehart has an incredible way with words and she is so gifted in speaking truth into the lives of women. If you're interested in reading it, there's an online book club getting ready to start May 9th with videos, questions, etc. I definitely recommend getting some friends together to read it.
As I poured over Paula's two chapters on releasing control and learning to trust this morning, I wanted to copy everything she said on this blog because it's so rich. Instead, I'll give you some highlights and hope that it encourages you to read her book. I promise you won't be disappointed!
Paula talks about our desire to hold on to the illusion that we're in control of our lives. She defines control as, "the insistence that your life follow a particular path" and having a set agenda, for how your life should unfold. Letting go of this control can be difficult, but it's only when we are willing to loosen the grip we have on our lives that we begin to learn how to actively trust God. Trust she says, "is allowing yourself to fall backward into the goodness of God."
The most eye opening part for me was when she discusses the root of trust and ties it to our ability to realize how loved we are by God. Without realizing how loved we are, trust she says, is just wishful thinking.
"A major turning point in my life came when I realized that being able to trust God is grounded in staking the whole of my being on the reality that he loves me...Friends may leave, my children may turn out to be reprobates, the mountains may crumble—but if I am loved by God, somehow it will lead toward the light. And apart from the reality that he loves me, trust is just wishful thinking—hopeful naïveté in the face of a cruel and capricious world...
...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. We let ourselves be loved by God. Our hands release their grip on the reins of our lives and we stop trying so hard to be women with all the answers...letting ourselves be loved by God is the place where we stumble upon trust."
Don't you love that? "Letting ourselves be loved by God is the place where we stumble upon trust." I love how she challenges us to step out and trust, and beautifully links it to our understanding that we are deeply and profoundly loved by God.
Even though your life won't be perfect and it might not necessarily follow the path you thought it would, "your trust and willingness to take your sticky fingers off the steering wheel of your life rest on the risk that, in fact, the goodness of God will catch your when you let go. What you don't know—and why the risk feels electrically charged—is how and when and in what manner you will experience his mercy. You are simply and mightily assured that you will."
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."
1 Peter 2:9