Remember life before Google Maps?
Remember when you had to pull a physical paper map out of your glove box, or side door, or from underneath the seat and create your own route to wherever you were going?
And it makes me feel old.
These days, all you have to do is say,
“Siri, get me to the nearest location with burnt coffee beans”
and PRESTO! she’s routed your course to a Starbucks (which is probably only 2 blocks away).
Used to, if you wanted that kind of service you had to pay big money for an external GPS like TomTom or something. Now it comes standard in just about every smartphone on the planet.
But back before we relied on five inches of metal to run our lives, we had to use actual maps.
And any time you pulled out a map to figure out where you were going, you always started with the same question…
“Where am I?”
Learning to trust God is the same way.
At the end of my first book, Giving Up Sunday—which somehow hit Best Seller in two categories—I left you with a little bit of a cliffhanger, but also with a challenge.
“Will you trust Him?”
That is what I asked of you. Will you trust a God that knows what He is doing, is entirely capable of doing it, is infinitely in love with you, and always seeks what’s best for you?
Will you trust Him?
But back here on Earth, I realize that is no simple task. Trusting a being that you can’t REALLY see, touch, or speak with (at least not like humans typically do) and who is infinitely mysterious and complex, well…
I might as well be asking you to just jump off a building in order to fly (I don’t recommend by the way).
So rather than ask you to do the impossible on sheer willpower alone, I figured we should walk through what this process looks like together.
And the place where we inevitably MUST start is very similar to pulling out that 26-fold giant map and looking at it with the most perplexed look on your face.
The first question you must ask yourself when it comes to trusting God is,
“Where the heck am I?”
You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are.
Wanting to see the Grand Canyon is great, and I hear it’s pretty hard to miss. But even if you’re only a mile away from it, if you’re facing the wrong direction when you start your journey, you will never see the Grand Canyon.
I don’t care how huge or grand it is.
In order to go where you want, you must know where you currently are.
If we are to embark on a journey of learning to trust God more, then ask yourself this question:
Where are you with God?
So, right now, I want you to do this first practice in our journey.
If you don’t have time right now, or if your surroundings aren’t conducive to some quiet reflection, then take that 5″ of metal in your pocket that runs your life (don’t worry it runs mine too), go to your calendar, and set a date and time that you will do this exercise
because this is important.
Sit down. Make sure you are clear from all distractions whether they be family, or looming responsibilities, or even your phone going off…put them all away.
Grab a pen and a piece of paper. I don’t recommend doing this on a digital notepad. It helps to write it down. There is something cathartic and personal about the physical connection of scratching what you feel into a piece of paper with the tip of a pen. It connects us to those feelings more effectively and personally.
So grab a pen and some paper, away from every distraction, relax for a minute, and write down your responses to this question:
1. What words come to mind when you think of God?
Whether you think of God as the God of Jesus, or fate, or the universe around us, whatever you mean when you say “God,” what are the descriptor words you associate with God?
This is not about words other people use for God.
I want no pseudo-answers. There’s no Sunday school teacher waiting to smack your hand or embarrass you in front of the class if you don’t use the “appropriate” or “correct” words.
There are no “appropriate” or “correct” answers. Only truthful ones and pretend ones.
When you sit down and picture God, what words pop in your head?
Do you think of Him as kind?
While you do this, I will let you in on a little secret…
God’s not going to smite you because you wrote a word on a piece of paper.
Neither is He going to strike you down via rogue lightning bolt because you put words to what you’ve really been feeling for a long time.
My mentor once said something to me that changed my life forever. He said,
“Feelings are fact. Whether they are misguided or not does not matter. They are factual simply because they exist. How you feel is how you feel.”
These feelings that you have—whether positive or negative—are not made worse simply by stating them. According to Jesus, the only way to heal something is to bring it into the light.
Neither will these feelings go away simply by pretending that you do not feel them. The Living Bible translation of Jeremiah 6:14 is a very interesting one to me that I think captures the sentiment of the message.
“You can’t heal a wound by saying it is not there.”
So, if we are going to move forward truthfully on this path;
if we want to have a flourishing relationship with God that is rooted in authentic trust, then we must not only allow our true feelings toward Him,
we must also allow ourselves the freedom to vocalize those feelings, without fear of punishment, shame, or retribution.
So, sit down.
Pull out your over-sized, overtly-complex relic of a roadmap
stare at it like it’s written in Chinese for a moment
and allow yourself to answer the question:
Where am I?
Chances are, your answers will be excellent clues in our search for greater trust in a truly good God.
For the next few weeks, I will post a series of articles with some practices that have brought me to the greatest place of trusting God I have ever experienced.
These are in no way silver bullets.
You will not simply say a prayer and find yourself surrounded by a heavenly light show, floating off the ground by the power of God, and wake up as a superhero of the faith because you “trust Him fully now.”
Nope. They are called practices for a reason.
You have to practice them.
But I will be here for the whole process, so don’t worry! This is a journey best walked alone, with the help of friends.
If you are willing to try, try, and try again,
you too can find yourself trusting God and moving toward a happier, healthier you more full of hope for the road ahead.
For more information on trusting God, check out my post:
“Who Am I: How God Really Sees You”
Please leave a comment below or if you want to dig deeper feel free to contact Kurtis directly