Sometimes I don’t put my full trust in Christ. I like to think I do, but my actions and feelings don’t always indicate it.
Rather than dream big, I think small. Rather than take a risk, I sit back, silenced by fear, like all the times I’ve talked myself down from my plans before even trying them, like when I was convinced I would take a solo trip across the country upon graduating high school, only to end up going a mere few states away. Am I the only one?
What would happen if every Christian started to dream big, take risks, and live as if the sand were running out? I think we would be unstoppable.
I like feeling secure. I like knowing I’ll succeed before I attempt something. I like trusting in my own ability to provide for myself. I don’t want to trust other people because people are untrustworthy. For some reason, I act as if God is untrustworthy too.
What if we gave up on obtaining our own security, and instead embraced the unknown, trusting Christ to care for us?
What if we set aside our desires and asked God what he wants for us?
I believe we sacrifice a deeper relationship with Christ when we insist on being in control, like how I used to consult my friends, family, or the internet before I would ever ask the Lord for his input. The first time I attended college and had to pick a major—I only asked for God’s opinion after I was set on my career path. We don’t want to go for the risky option, even if we feel him nudging us toward it. We don’t want to have the hard conversation because we might lose a friendship. But amazing things can happen when we follow his lead.
Late last year, I felt God calling me to work fewer hours. I was working forty hours a week at a job I was proud of. But God started to whisper something to me that sounded like: This isn’t it. This job is only temporary.
He didn’t show me his grand vision for my future or the impact I would make if I followed his lead. (I still don’t know where he’s leading me.) Honestly, I was afraid of the financial hit that my husband and I would take. But I followed his lead after praying (a ton) and feeling him nudge me to let go and let him take care of the rest.
And guess what? I finally have time to be involved in church more than once a week, and I have even started a small women’s group that meets once a month. I am also continuing my pursuit of higher education. Did I mention my husband got a promotion and a raise right after I dropped my hours? I don’t think that was a coincidence. I would have missed out on so much if I had insisted on doing things my way.
Don’t get me wrong—my life isn’t perfect now. God has been doing some serious refining in my life this year. The refiner’s fire isn’t something you sit beside to warm your hands or toast a marshmallow over on a cold winter’s night. It’s called being in the refiner’s fire for a reason. But it’s going to be so worth it, because I’ll never be ready to follow him fully if I don’t surrender to the way he wants to shape me.
The risk I took last year is one victory in a sea of failures. I want more victories. I don’t want to settle for less. I want to fully trust in the Christ who died on the cross for me. I might fall down in moments of weakness, but I will keep standing up, not because I’m strong enough to pick myself up, but because my Savior is standing there with his hand outstretched. I can trust him to be there.
Lately, trusting in the Lord has meant speaking his truth in one of my college classes when I feel that he and his word are being misrepresented. It’s not easy—I struggle with self-doubt often. However, in my perseverance, I can sense him providing for me. He provides me with the words, the gentle spirit, and the attitude of love that I need in order to share the truth with my classmates. He also provides me with encouragement that I am doing the right thing, even when it feels nerve-racking.
If I didn’t know something so wonderful would be on the other end of the refiner’s fire, I would have given up already. Continuing on this journey is a daily choice, and lots of times I feel like giving up. But with each step I take toward obedience and trust in the Lord, I feel myself being freed. Freed from the expectations that people have of me, freed from my desire for control.
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good
works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” The Lord cared enough to prepare something in advance for me, and I want to find out what it is. I just have to trust him to lead me.