‘Trusting God’ is quite the cliché, heard from toddlerhood. We sing about it (‘Trust and Obey, for there’s no other way’), we pray about it and talk about it a lot. But when it comes to the crunch, trusting in God when our vision is short, can take a lot of self talk, inner strength and encouragement from others. If you are struggling to trust, take heart you are not alone in wondering what plan the Lord has, or what direction he is taking you in. Our God is so much bigger than our current situation and He desires to give us good things. He is in the business of blessing, and when the time is right, blessings will flow, even if it feels like a drought at present.
When we cannot see far ahead in our future, when it looks foggy or mixed up it can take incredible strength and faith to simply say ‘no, I trust my God, He has a plan.’ Here are some things I have done lately to reverse my human thoughts to refocus back to God-given thoughts.
- Self talk. When I find myself talking negatively, or spiralling downwards I use the technique of self-talk. I tell myself ‘I can do this’, or ‘this feeling is temporary’, or ‘breathe…just breathe’, or ‘tomorrow is another day, sleep for now’. However when I use self-talk, I pair it up with scripture. For example ‘it’s ok, Vicky, I can do this…because I can do everything through Jesus who gives me strength’ (Phil 4:13). There is a lot of science behind self-talk, and the power it has over the mind to change an attitude.
- Practice gratitude. There is strength in practicing gratitude. Practicing thankfulness every day, multiple times a day is healthy and good for the soul. During a tiring day at school, I might thank God for planting me in this class right now, with fabulous young people. I might thank God that we have resources to teach with, I might thank God that I can take a moment and look out the window at the children playing and laughing. Other times I thank God for my bed, for coffee, and for family. Sometimes my gratitude is pretty deep and meaningful…other times it is fairly light and surface deep (aka coffee or a quiet staffroom), but it is still practicing a positive attitude of thankfulness. When we do this, our vision changes from an inwards focus to looking outside of ourselves. There is freedom in doing that!
- Sharing the journey with others. There is much power in this, especially when you share with people who you trust and consider your prayer warriors. There is something uplifting when you can share your worries with others, and have them pray over you and your situation. Then when you are able to reciprocate and prayer for your friends that is just magic!
- Prayer. Pray constantly…every day…every moment…sometimes without words. Sometime we feel a need so deeply, and don’t know how to put it into words. Scripture says in Romans 8:26-28 (NIV) ‘The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose’ The Bible says so much about prayer – so much about the Holy Spirit’s intercession for us. Not only does he intercede to God on our behalf, but he understands the deep groan, takes it and presents it fully to God. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
- Speaking the Word of God out loud. More recently I have learned the power in speaking the Word of God out loud, especially the name of Jesus. Speaking God’s Word out loud is an act of declaring and accepting the power of God’s Spirit over our life, our situation.
Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
The following are a small collection of some scriptures I have been declaring out loud lately…may you be blessed as you ‘eat’ God’s Word, as you engrain it into your very being.
Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous…for the Lord God goes with you.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall make your paths straight.
Psalm 37:4-6 – Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
Romans 8:28 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Psalm 9:10 – And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 28:7 – The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
Psalm 37:5 – Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
May you be encouraged in whatever situation you find yourself in, that our God is large and in charge.