This past weekend I had a foolhardy moment and went to a bootcamp with a friend. I should have known better. There would be no enjoying this activity. None. But my brain tricked me and lied, “It could be fun! Maybe it won’t hurt so bad!” I have reached a new level of sloth over the past 5 months, so there was no escaping the hurt. 5 days have since passed and I am still hobbling like an old lady.
Sometimes life can be like a really challenging bootcamp workout. We don't always see when pain is coming, or we have expectations that don't always match reality. Because of this, I've had to rework my trust muscle with the Lord many times. He didn’t fail me - but my perspective gets wonky really easily. He knows this and helps me out.
Here are 5 ways that can help you work out your trust muscle:
1. Know whom you are trusting. If you’ve committed your life to Christ, and are pursing Him and dying to yourself, you’re in a good place. He’s incredibly Good and Incredibly Capable. But hearing this and experiencing this are two different things. Put in the time. Know His character. If you aren’t sure how He works, find out (check out the Gospels). Then, rest in that.
2. Ask the Lord for help. He knows better than anyone what obstacles you need to get over, and how to do that. After my father passed unexpectedly 10 years ago, I didn’t know how to get over some huge hurdles in my heart. But He knew how to move them. So I asked for His help. If you get some specific actions steps (like go forgive your brother, or work through your offense at The Church) then go do it. Quickly and completely.
3. Fix your eyes on Him. Storms are bound to come. Don’t pull a Peter and get distracted or freak out (Matthew 14:22-33). What you focus on has great ramifications, so focus on Him.
4. Make your emotions your employees. This is one of my favs. While watching King of the Hill, there was an episode where Hank Hill is giving some advice to his niece Luanne, who is living with them for a short time. Her boyfriend broke up with her and she is a hot mess. After crying for days straight, Hank finally intervenes and tells her, “Luanne, you’ve got to make your emotions your employees. You tell them what to do…” If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or anxious, or afraid, those are simply feelings. They are valid and you need to work through them, but ultimately make them your employees.
5. Surround yourself with encouragement. Seek out other people’s (positive) stories where God came through for them. Post verses from the Word around your house of God’s faithfulness. Remind yourself of times where God showed up in your own life.
If you’re interested in further resources, I highly recommend Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning.
Growing in trust doesn’t have to be some nebulous, ambiguous process. You can be proactive. Get to know the Father. Ask Him for help. Fix your eyes on Him. Keep your emotions in check. Then surround yourself with encouragement.
Are you facing some situations that require a lot of trust? What practical ways can you work your trust muscle? Have you had some serious sloth time, like me? If so, go get your swoll on!