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Are you experiencing a trust fall? I think I might be.
Remember that old team building exercise? People pair up and one person is supposed to fall backward with the hopes that their partner will catch them. I am fairly convinced that there isn’t a person alive who had a profound moment that led to a deeper trust from that exercise. I’m also 100% sure I used it on multiple occasions. The only ones who really had a life changing experience were those who had an unreliable partner and ended up in concussion protocol.
Today I find myself in an actual real life trust fall.
I recently made the decision to leave a well paying, comfortable job in beautiful San Diego to move near my children in Arizona. I worked with people I loved and felt like I was being used by God on a regular basis. The church I pastored was also moving into their first permanent facility, something I had prayed about for decades. You may be thinking that I have made a terrible mistake. In the last several months I’ve wondered that myself. Certainly when the Arizona weather hovered around 115 degrees for about a month. (It’s not so much the heat as the electric bill! Don’t ask. Okay, I’ll tell you. It was $650)
Without going into great depth, I am convinced with my whole heart that this step is in accordance with God’s will for my former church and that He is leading me with my best interests at heart. My friend Eric confronted me with my poor decision making before I left, mostly because he was going to miss me. In the midst of his sharing his heart he reminded me that I was simply practicing what I have preached so often. I don’t know much about parenting, less as I get older, but this I know. You have to show up for your kids and it’s hard to show up when you are in a different state.
I’m not going for MVP (Most Valuable Parent), I’m simply going for the participation trophy.
Three of my children live in Arizona and the fourth is going to move. (That last comment is not based on fact, but parental wishful thinking!)
God has placed me in a trust fall and fall I have. Perhaps it’s all the change my wife and I are dealing with or the stress of moving or maybe I just miss my friends, but I have had more fear of falling and failing the last few months than I can remember.
I have learned throughout a life of one crisis after another (some real, some imagined) that my first response needs to be to cry out to Jesus.
I’ve worn out the page in my bible that reads “Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything pray.” These verses are a reminder that ,1) Anxiety is a life experience we can all relate to and, 2) If you are a God-follower you need to be a first responder. When confronted with our latest worry we are not called to solve it, Google it, go to Web MD or Reddit, but to go to our loving Heavenly Dad for comfort.
I really want to tell you that over time I have developed a sense of calm in all circumstances, but reality is what I’ve learned is that my peace is a moving target and…
The best I can do is run back to Dad.
Turns out it’s all a matter of where you put your trust. This season of upheaval has revealed to me that this God I theoretically trust has some competition. When you step out of a job into no job it is quickly revealed how much trust you put in your money. Leaving a job of 25 years shows you pretty quickly how much of your value has come from your position. When you leave all the people you love in another area code, you realize how much you have leaned into other people for your sense of self.
When my wife and I chose to be obedient to God’s calling to a new land, I vowed to have a forward faith. Looking back it’s easy for me to see the faithfulness of God in the past to help us get into a home, build a ministry, raise children, etc.. I wanted to trust God in advance for what He is going to do rather than my regular practice of white knuckling life until all the pieces fell into place. In my first month I was largely unsuccessful in this pursuit.
Turns out it’s all a matter of where you put your trust.
Again my unease made me run to Dad and He suggested I look up every verse in the Bible on trust. Where to put it, where not to put it, what are the results of each. Here’s what I found.
Trust in people is unreliable (Psalm 118:8, Proverbs 29:25)
Trusting in money is reckless (Proverbs 11:28)
Trust in position for value is irresponsible (Isaiah 31:1)
I had unknowingly placed trust in all of those areas and when they were gone my sense of self and peace fell like a soufflé on the Junior British Bake Off. In the last month I have had to rebuild that trust on a more solid foundation. Turns out my instinct to run to my Dad was right. He promises these benefits to the person who learns to fall back in trust into His arms.
I don’t need to fear what other people think of me (Psalm 56:3,4)
I can get the rest I need. Not just sleep but soul rest (Psalm 91:1,2)
I don’t have to be shaken by ever worry or fear or car sound or work crisis (Psalm 112:6-8)
Perfect peace is available to me if I take God up on his offer to fall back to Him (Isaiah 26:3)
Trust leads to help me find my life’s ultimate purpose (Proverbs 3:5,6)
(If you would like a copy of my favorite verses on trust email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Over and over my reading led me to the deepest desires of my heart including safety, refuge, direction, knowledge, good judgement, security and the desires of my heart. All of these are on the other side of trust. Not trust in my friends or my money or my career or my wife or my children. Ultimate trust in those areas will prove unreliable.
There is only one place I can lean back with complete faith and take that trust fall.
Years ago I found myself in a game with my son that I didn’t know I was playing. When he was little I would challenge him to climb up high places and jump to me. He would jump off of stairs and rocks and balconies and bunk beds. Unfortunately I didn’t always know when we were playing. One day I was tying my shoes and he leapt off the bed and my reaction time was just good enough to keep him out of the ER. I had to stay frosty because there were times when he would leap at me and I had to react. I don’t remember ever dropping him. There was a moment when I was holding his 6 month old sister and he jumped off the side of the couch. I reached out my hand to save him from falling on his head. I was just able to reach out to keep him from a concussion. When I looked up, however, I realized that I had dropped his sister. Sorry Paige. My record of catching my son was however, unscathed.
The same is true of my Heavenly Dad. He has not dropped me yet. I’m still in a bit of a free fall. Not sure how all the details are going to work out in my latest trust fall. But I’m learning who to trust and what I trust and where my trust needs to be placed so that in my heart I’m safe and secure and filled with peace and joy and hope and a forward faith.
A couple questions before I go.
Are you experiencing a trust fall?
Where do you put your trust that has proven unreliable?
How can you develop habits that make you a first responder to God and not Google?
Let’s make a deal. If you’re in a trust fall like me…
Let’s fall back into the arms of someone reliable.
Agree? Disagree? Have something to add?
I’d love for you to join in the conversation by responding in the comments below.