Have you ever asked yourself a question while really asking God that question? Here’s a recent example from my life.
What more am I going to put myself through before I completely trust in You?
I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and reflection lately. Probably in preparation for my birthday that’s coming up in a few days. I’ve had some nudges from God as I listened to Michael Card’s teaching last Sunday and as I put together my Digital Portfolio last week.
Granted, God has blessed me beyond measure, especially in my years as a widow. I’ve connected with people and places I never could have imagined when I was standing at my husband’s new grave in that southern Illinois cemetery.
But I’ve also stumbled a lot. Made some difficult mistakes. Endured some unhealthy situations. Felt shocked by some outcomes. Asked God the why question at least a thousand times. Failed to plan and failed.
Here are a few situations I’ve put myself through because I didn’t put my complete trust in God. Maybe you can relate.
Obesity and high blood pressure.
Wow. I stressed my body to the max and ended up in the ER. Note: Driving yourself to the ER is not fun. When I did a little self-examination while I was waiting for the doctor to arrive, I had to face some grim realities. My favorite meal had become chips and salsa. My exercise routine consisted of driving my car and scrolling through Twitter. I weighed more than I had ever weighed in my entire life.
The remedy? I had to trust God for self-discipline. For the past year, he has helped me fight the daily battle of what to eat and when to exercise. And he has blessed me with many positive results!
Sweat-producing, eye-twitching, heart-racing fear. Where did that come from? An unwelcome visitor from my not-so-distant past. Fear that woke me up in the night and greeted me every morning. Fear that tinted every day gray with black rolling in on the horizon.
Immersing myself in the truth of God’s Word took care of that. Making Bible study and prayer a daily priority. Listening to worship music and singing along. I might feel afraid on some days, but my God is bigger than my fears.
Regrets, I’ve had a few, as the old Frank Sinatra song says. Just to give you some insight, my piggy bank was always empty while my sister Barb’s was always overflowing. Add to that my I-feel-sorry-for-you/me spending habits and a mind that loves words instead of numbers. You get the picture.
With God’s help, I’m dealing with my finances intentionally. Each day. I won’t lie to you. This has been one of the most difficult battles of my life. But I know the one who goes before me, who commands the angel armies, and who is always on my side. He is blessing me with unexpected benefits. Regardless of what my current age is.
Withdrawing into my self-made world gets easier and easier. I’ll admit it. It’s a reality. I will spend time — and maybe more time than I want to spend — alone as a widow. But I also admit that the more I reach out to and engage with others, the happier and healthier I feel.
So is the risk worth it? Of course! God keeps connecting me with people to teach me and help me. People whom he needs to touch through me. People who add spice and variety to my life. People I’ve known for years and who stick with me. I am richly blessed.
I’ve jumped into some relationships, convincing myself they were God-ordained. I didn’t have the guts to admit that they were really Laura-ordained. I even secretly prayed and asked God to substitute my priority for his priorities. Of course, the endings were painful and not pretty.
I’ve learned that my primary relationship is with my Lord and Savior. The other relationships he sends or doesn’t send into my life flow from my relationship with him. Whew. Hard one to learn. And still learning.
I could make you a list, but I won’t. You could probably make me a list, too. All the reasons why I should feel sorry for myself. And why everyone else should, too.
Get over it, girl. As Solomon tells us in the book of Ecclesiastes, there is nothing new under the sun. No matter how bad my struggles seem, there is someone else in a worse situation. No matter how many reasons I have to be angry at God, there is someone else with more reasons. No matter how cheated I feel, there is someone else who has less than I do.
There’s the focus problem again. Focusing on myself instead of on God and his truth.
When I list my blessings instead of my reasons to feel sorry for myself, I discover which list is longer. What do you think? Blessings, of course. Thank you, Lord, for shifting me to the positive perspective.
That question continues to echo around me: What more am I going to put myself through before I completely trust in You?
I will always have strongholds. Areas in my life where I trust God a little, refuse to trust him, or have to learn to trust him. But the more I place my trust in the One who holds my past, present, and future in his hands, the less earthly correction I will have to endure.
So where are you on the trusting God scale today? Let me guess. It’s time for you to boost that trust. Here are some Bible passages that give me that trust boost. Hope they will be helpful for you, too.
1 Timothy 6:17-19
“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6).
Laura Warfel is a widow, writer, and follower of Jesus Christ. Her greatest joy is to bring others along with her on her faith journey. In 2015, because of the encouragement of the Launch Out Conference and Jon Acuff, she launched More Than A Widow on Facebook and Twitter. Today she blogs, tweets, and posts to help widows (and those who know them) find encouragement, hope, and resources for the journey. Her goal is to help all widows live beyond the label and live as more than a widow.
Copyright © 2019 by Laura Warfel