Trust. Now there’s a fun buzz word. We hear this all the time:
“What? Don’t you trust me?”
“Dude, trust me!”
“You have some serious trust issues.”
But what is that word, really? According to Webster, trust is the “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something,” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/trust). Okay, so if we take “assured” to mean confidence or security, then trust is having confidence that someone or something will do/say/be what they claim.
I don’t know about you, dear readers, but I struggle with this concept mightily, partially because I’m a control-freak and partially because I am a closet pessimist, disguised as a realist. Trusting someone means I have to not only overcome assuming the worst, but I have to let go. Yikes!
With a show of hands, how many of us are really able to hope for the best and let go of control? Consistently? With everything? If you raised your hand, you are awesome for following directions when no one can see you! But in all seriousness, this is something very difficult, hoping for the best and letting go even though you may have no idea what’s coming.
Which is where I found myself this weekend: in a situation that required me to trust beyond my comfort level, with no idea of the unknown heading my way. It began at the starting line of the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon. As I stared down the 13.1 miles stretched in hills before me, I thought, “I’m not gonna make it.” Then by mile 7, when my knee was giving out and my feet were cramping, I thought, “I can’t do this!” I kept imagining catastrophic scenarios involving me rolling down one of the million hills (seriously, WHO designed this course?), or having my knee caps just fall off and run away crying. Plausible, no, but fear can do stupid things to one’s brain. In any case, I had a running partner who was able to remind me, “Just one step at a time. That’s all that matters.” She reminded me to trust in my strength, to trust in my training, that we could overcome the pain. And when I stopped worrying about what was coming, when I let go and focused on the moment at hand, I was able to finish that race, one step at a time. And I finished it earlier than I thought!
It was a great reminder of what happens when we choose to hope for good things, something I don’t do often enough. I don’t have enough hope that God has good, even great, things in store for me. I don’t have faith that if He thinks I can do something, I can do it. Without faith or hope, how on earth can I trust God, or anyone?
The truth is, trust is something we must have to grow and move forward. If I don’t trust in my relationship with my boyfriend, I won’t be able to let go enough to grow with him. If I don’t trust in my friendships, I wouldn’t be able to give or receive love in the way that helps my friends (and myself). If I don’t trust in God, well I either spend a lot of time freaking out about what’s next and trying to control it, or I give up completely. Doesn’t allow for much growth, huh? Trust in God is what allows us to move forward in the ways He is calling us to. Without trust, we can’t grow. We become stagnant. We stop truly living.
So… trust is kind of (a lot) important. As I accept that I have trust issues to work on, I remember two equations:
1. Trust in relationships = time + experience (i.e. opportunities to be both trusting and trustworthy) + Lots of prayer
2. Trust in God = Letting go + Hope + Lots of prayer
These equations are ones I will continue to work on, because I would like to move forward in the ways God is calling me to. When life brings me face to face with another daunting task, I want to be able to smile, take a deep breath, and move forward one step at a time, trusting that I can do all things through Him.