You would think that a girl who’s been around the block as many times as I have would be wary and wouldn’t trust easily. Oddly, that’s not the case. I’ve always believed the best in people and trusted them far too easily. And yes, it’s gotten me hurt a lot. But I think it’s caused me to be able to achieve deeper relationships with people than if I was a skeptic who holds everyone at arm’s length. And deep relationships are my favorite kind to have. It’s just something that God built into my DNA. This is one of the traits of myself that I embrace, as hard as it sometimes is. And I wouldn’t want to change this about myself.
One of the things I would wish to change about myself, though, is my quest for perfection and my need to earn peoples’ acceptance and approval. Where did this begin? Is it innate? Was it learned? Maybe it’s some of both. Maybe it was the years of being dressed up and paraded in front of church members, feeling like I had to perform for them. Or maybe it’s something that was part of my psyche long before that. But still today, I struggle with the need to make everyone in my world happy, to impress them, to never let them down — even in the smallest of areas. Even today, I’m struggling to not be paralyzed by the need to make someone happy — someone who I know loves me, but who I still feel the need to impress and not disappoint. I begin to wonder, do I ever have a single second of my life when I can just relax and be myself and not worry about being perfect?
It’s easy to let this trait bleed over into my relationship with God. It’s easy to want to perform for Him and to feel like I have to be perfect to be acceptable. It’s easy to feel like that if I get up in the morning and pray and read my Bible, and I go to church on Sunday and Wednesday, and I give to enough charities, that I’ll impress Him.
There’s only one thing that “impresses” God, and that’s when we trust Him enough to live in relationship with Him. In the beginning, it’s hard, because life is hard. And it’s hard to trust God to take care of you when your world seems to be turning to ashes around you. But as with any relationship, the longer you trust someone who’s trustworthy, the easier it is to trust them.
For some people, the risk just seems too great to take. It’s easy to recall how people in our lives have let us down. We go to God as our last resort and think, “Everybody else has failed me. What if He drops me, too?” But as I think back in my life, I can’t identify a single time when God has dropped me. There have been times that I have wondered where He was. But in the end, I could always see how things had worked out for the best.
This week, I’ve thought a lot about Job. How he was so faithful to God, and then, tragedy struck. He lost his family and his possessions and his health. And his friends said, “Dude, you have nothing left. God has failed you. Curse him and die!” But Job refused. He didn’t understand what he was going through or why he was going through it. But he knew that though he had lost everything else, if he still had God, he hadn’t lost it all. And until this week, I’ve always pictured the scene in my head as Job was sitting here on earth, going through heart-wrenching things, and that God was up in his observation tower in the sky, just watching. But this week, I remembered something important – “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” When Job was going through this tragedy, God wasn’t far from him. God sat in the ashes with him. And for me, it’s easy to trust that kind of friend — the kind that will sit in the ashes with me and hold the umbrella over my head while the rain falls and will wait quietly with me until the sun shines again.
“Throughout the history of civilization, people have devised every imaginable system and scheme to please their god or gods. But when the one true God initiated his relationship with mankind, it didn’t begin with a command; it began with an invitation: will you trust me?”
Stanley, Andy (2010-10-19). The Grace of God (p. 31). Thomas Nelson.
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