I think I have trust issues.
As much as I openly joke about how transit in Vancouver has broken my trust time and time again, I do believe that over time I have developed a sense of mistrust, especially where my faith is concerned.
I left off my last post with an invitation to look into your heart and to see where God was in your life. If you’ve looked inside and asked the same question as I did – “My God, why have you forsaken me?” – you are definitely not alone. During the retreat, I had thought a lot about abandonment but also looked deeper, with the help of the Holy Spirit, into why I felt this abandonment and doubt.
Doubt is one thing, but fear is another. And I know that fear is Satan’s way of leading you away from God, robbing you of your joy, and preventing you from the ultimate relationship that God wants to share with us.
In this part 2, I want to share an open and honest list of three reasons why I have found it difficult – impossible, some days – to surrender to God.
1. I am a control freak.
If you’ve ever thought this about me, you can breathe your sigh of relief now. I don’t blame you: sometimes I scare myself. But remember how I said that I love to plan? In the midst of all my great schemes and plans – from an hour to hour plan to a 10-year plan – I had fallen away from actually trusting in God.
I can’t believe I’m going to do this, but I going to use a meme to sum up exactly how I feel about my controlling nature, how I always want to plan and why I always need to be in control:
In short, I’ve been disappointed in the past. A lot.
So naturally, I have grown to depend on myself and would rather stress myself out if it means that things will get done.
This desire to constantly be in control has also spilled – nope, flooded – into my relationship with God.
As in, I didn’t let Him into my decision-making. I had no idea what discernment was. I would only thank Him when things went my way. But when things went against my plans and what I wanted, I shut Him out even more.
If I think about this even harder, I ask myself why I chose stress of all kinds over the freedom and the ability to let God just work in my life. Because I’ve endured many stressful times to the point where I physically couldn’t sleep or eat. I had tension headaches and my back would be so aggravated that I couldn’t lie down. I would be fidgety and incredibly anxious and suspicious of everything and everyone.
To me, that isn’t freedom and that is definitely not being in control.
Letting go and letting God is something that I am constantly working towards, because it is a hard pill to swallow. To surrender yourself and act in complete faith that God will work in His time is worrisome only if you have no faith. The reason why someone would have no faith is because they might be fearful of the what-if’s and the hypothetical situations.
Which leads me to the second point.
2. I was afraid. Always afraid.
I have always been an anxious person.
And what really messes with anxious people is the fear of the unknown.
Here’s a newsflash: I’m not God. You’re not God. Therefore, we have no idea what is to happen tomorrow, or the day after that, or next year, or in ten years, or even in the next minute. For all I know, I might drop dead before I even finish this blog post.
But despite the fact that I knew (or thought I knew) this simple truth that I’m not God, I was afraid of what was to come. I was afraid that what God planned for me was something that I didn’t want. But even beyond wants, I was afraid that what God planned for me was something that I could not do.
Another newsflash: I hate letting people down. And I think that the worst person the let down would be God.
My thinking on this whole issue of fear came down to this: I was afraid that I couldn’t possibly do what God wanted me to do. If I can’t, and don’t, do what God asks, then I will let Him down and ultimately find myself with a one-way ticket to hell for not being obedient.
In this regard, I saw God as a scary, authoritative figure who would bring about wrath and destruction on my world if I disobeyed Him. I think this came about because I read that He had done this before – check out Genesis 19.
But I was introduced to God as a good and loving father during Rise Up. He was introduced to me as merciful and loving, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Psalm 103:8). Someone who yearned for a relationship with me and someone who was ready to meet me where I was at.
In my fear and cowardice, I strived always to not only conceal how small I felt but also overcompensated for my fear.
Which leads me to my third point.
3. I was power-hungry.
During the retreat, I started to do a self-guided study on womanhood in the Catholic context and how to be a woman of excellence. I was prompted to think about past wounds, and to think about how I reacted to God because of them. I was then prompted to vow that in the future, when I am hurt by someone or something, to call upon God and share my feelings with Him.
In an instant, God revealed not only all the wounds that I have suffered but also my sick and twisted reaction that I would have to them.
I never saw myself as such, but I was power-hungry. I received pain from certain people, and in my own prideful way, I wanted to inflict pain and suffering on those that hurt me.
For example, after a relationship had gone horribly wrong, I still maintained one connection with my ex despite deleting all evidence of us ever being together, deleting all our messages and erasing his number from my phone: I kept him on Facebook. I wanted to have a perfect life, complete with a fantastic looking body, evidence that I had a life filled with fun and friends, and a new boyfriend, so that I could show him that I didn’t need him.
Over a month and a half, I kept this line close, checking his profile every night. But soon, my checkups became less and less until I actually forgot about him. Nearly three months later, I had gone back to check his profile only to find that he had unfriended me.
I was stunned and angry. After all this time, I wanted the power to cut him off. But the tables had turned and he actually had the audacity to cut me out of his life.
Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident and I fell into this trap of power and pride many, many times.
At the beginning of this year, I committed myself to a year of humility.
Through my life-changing Conversion at Rise Up, I learned that my biggest stumbling block was my pride and lack of humility. The three above points – my control, my fear, and my need for power – subsequently stemmed from the lack of humility in my life.
But by abiding in God and allowing Him to work His will through me, I no longer need to be worried or fearful. Through faith, all things are possible.
Though it’s not quite the same, it’s like the faith that I put in an airplane pilot every time I take a vacation. I put my trust in him that he or she is trained and will deliver all of the passengers on board to their destination safely. I may never meet this pilot, but I trust them anyway.
I don’t physically see God before me, and admittedly I can’t always hear His voice. But I have come to learn, accept, and respect His plans for me. I know that whatever He has planned for me, it is never to hurt me but to help me grow and prosper (Jeremiah 29:11). No matter what He wants me to do, He will always see me through it, He will never leave me alone, and He will never give me what I cannot handle.
And this goes for you too!
Pope St. John Paul II had a beautiful apostolic motto during his time as the pope.
He lived by the words Totus Tuus, which is Latin for “totally thine”. He consecrated himself and all that he did to Mary, allowing himself to fully surrender and submit to God’s plans for him through Mary’s intercession.
When I came across this phrase a few months ago, I realized that this was what I was lacking in my life: to completely and totally surrender myself to God.
Now, I am seeking for the grace and humility to let God work what He wants within me, and to allow myself to readily accept His plans for me.
With my eyes set ever forward to the prize that is a life in eternity with Him, I hope that you also will allow yourself to be humbled in His presence, to discern what it is He wants for your life, and to let yourself be totally His.
Because God wants you. He is crazy about you, and He loves you.
Did you miss part 1 of this reflection? Check it out here!