Learning to trust God with every part of my life when I grew up trusting only myself has been like watching a toddler trying to fill one of those red plastic pails with sand. Without a shovel.
Yes. Last week we were horses wearing blinders. This week we are toddlers in the sand. If you stick around UpGradual any length of time – and I hope you do – you’ll find that I deal a lot in metaphor. It’s like my native tongue.
Everything just makes more sense that way. Drives my husband crazy.
So… Have you ever actually watched a toddler trying to fill one of those little red plastic pails with sand, without a shovel?
They toss in tiny fistfuls, most of the grains spilling out between their pudgy fingers. Over and over again, they dig up a minute amount of sand, drop most of it, and take forever getting any to pile up in the bucket.
Every few fistfuls, they come up with a better place for the sand. It doesn’t belong in the bucket. It belongs in their mouth or in their sister’s hair.
That’s me learning to trust God and give over control to him in each area of my life. One handful at a time. And many go in the ‘I’ve god a better idea’ direction. (My poor sister would have a whole bucketful in her hair if the metaphor were real life.)
Learning to Trust God in the Big Things
Let me give you an example so you know I’m for real. Because I’m not saying that I’m struggling with trusting Jesus with little, inconsequential things.
Sin is never inconsequential, I know. But I’m not talking about some prettied up version for social media. I’m struggling to follow God in ways that have real consequence.
I’m talking about me causing difficulty in my own marriage, for example. Most recently, that looked like me calling my husband to task in front of the kids, because I’m afraid that he is more powerful in their lives than Jesus.
There will be no ratting on my beloved husband here. No telling of tales. Let’s just say we’ve run into some issues where I think he is a degree off. And he feels strongly that he’s not.
Don’t tell me you’ve never been there. I know it’s not an unusual place for husband and wife to find themselves.
But, somehow, I haven’t managed to give over the result of the ‘mistake’ that I think he’s making to Jesus. I have felt that addressing it, right then, was necessary for my kids’ moral education. Like I needed to cause a conflict with my husband in front of my kids in an effort to get him to change his mind, you know?
Go ahead. I’ll wait while you laugh.
Or cry, if you’ve been trying this too. Either way, I doubt I need to go into how well this is working for me.
It’s not. But I’ve been trying it for a long time.
What to Do If Fear Has You Grasping for Control
Blinded by fear, that’s my excuse. I was afraid that my kids would have one more obstacle to hurdle if I didn’t change my husband’s mind. As if their parents arguing a point of morality in front of them wasn’t creating an obstacle.
My logic said that I needed to go against what God says to prevent my imagined negative from coming to pass. That I could hand it over to Jesus like another one of those fistfuls of sand didn’t even dawn on me. I was too busy being afraid of a possible outcome that hadn’t even occurred yet.
That’s just obviously wrong. But I missed it because, in my fear, I hadn’t held the conflict up against what the bible says.
When I did finally go to scripture, I came to Peter 3:1-6.
Here’s the How-To
First, it talks about husbands being ‘won without a word by the conduct of their wives’. LOL. That’s a big F for me, but it’s exactly what a trusted friend of mine suggested I try.
Then, the scripture goes on with words like respectful and pure conduct. It talks about how precious a gentle and quiet spirit is to God. And, it wraps up talking about holy women submitting to their husbands, doing good and not fearing anything that is frightening.
So, that is how I’m supposed to handle it. I’m meant to trust God to take control of the outcome. I just Googled ‘Obeying God’ to see why I should handle it the way God says. (Maybe because my ways haven’t been working for me?)
My search returned a tonne of convincing verses. John 14:15, Luke 11:28 for a start.
If you’re struggling to fix something under your own power but the battle never goes anywhere good, maybe it’s not meant to be under your own power.
I’m not speaking about situations of abuse here. But, maybe, what looks like impending doom to your rational and intelligent brain is actually something that God will turn for good. It might even be something he’s purposely allowing in order to teach some vital lesson that will have far reaching and awesome impact.
No matter what, God is big enough to handle the outcome. If you can’t handle something in accordance with his Word, then it’s not yours to handle.
And, one more thing…
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.
When you’re struggling with an issue, talk to a friend. Be transparent. It took the perspective of a friend to remind me that Jesus is bigger than whatever feels frightening.
He’s bigger than my parenting mistakes and he’s even bigger than any points my husband and I could ever disagree on. And, I’ll guarantee that He’s bigger than that ‘fistful of sand’ that you’re struggling with right now.
I’ve told you my mangled mess up of mistrusting God with my challenges. I’d love to hear about something you’ve had to learn to hand over to him? Did you need a friend to help you see things clearly?