Well, actually, BEFORE we move to “Cleaning House,” I wanted to circle back to something regarding trusting God that turned out to be pretty critical in my own journey.
This is challenging for me to communicate, on a couple different levels, but when I was learning to trust God, I first had to deal with a very unpleasant reality. Specifically, I realized that, although I trusted that God existed, I really did not/COULD not trust that He had ANY interest whatsoever in saving or helping me.
For me, this had profound effects in my life.
Without TRYING to fool myself, or trying to lie to anyone or misrepresent anything, I was living in two contradictory realities: I could TRUST that God existed, and that He was even absolutely loving… TO EVERYONE ELSE.
To me, my understanding of God (at one point, anyway) was that He was distant, impersonal, and uninterested in me… UNLESS I was doing something “awesome” for him.
Otherwise, I believed that essentially I was unlovable.
What I’m trying to say here is that, for me, before I could really learn to TRUST God, and to PRACTICE that reality on an ongoing basis, I had to be really honest, and be willing to NAME—on a very bedrock, sometimes even ugly level—what I REALLY believed and thought about God and myself.
It was only after I could be honest, and name the struggle, that I could start to “rehabilitate”, or correct, those ideas.
When I realized what I REALLY believed about God and myself, it was startling and distressing, but more importantly, it helped me make sense of unhealthy patterns and struggles in my life. “Oh, well, no wonder I have always struggled with shame!”
So, the simple thought is just to BE AWARE of your conception of God.
Trusting in God, to me, implies that (a) God exists, and (b) He is good and wants me—NOT just “everyone else—to be free of those things that would threaten to swallow me whole.
To get clarity on those two essentials, I really had to “clear the deck” of everything I THOUGHT I believed, and start from scratch. I didn’t have any problem believing that God existed, simply because I think I am somehow pre-disposed to be comfortable with mystery and the unexplainable. For me, that wasn’t that difficult to get past.
For the second idea, I decided to start with, well, PEOPLE.
I had just enough people in my life, that I could start to look around, and ask myself, “If I could not (yet) believe that God wants me to be free and ‘thriving,’ could I at least believe that (insert name of various friends here) wants me to be free?”
And if I could believe that my friends and family wanted me to be free, I could START to believe that God actually did. I had just let my brokenness cloud my understanding of Him.
And if I could start to believe that He wanted me to be free, then I could start to learn to TRUST Him, even when (not IF) life was difficult, and God (as I was coming to understand Him) was asking me to do rather difficult and stretching things.
Next Up (for real this time): CLEANING HOUSE.