Stop us if you’ve been here before: You run into some kind of issue, and instead of calling someone else for help, you try to solve it on your own—even when you definitely shouldn’t.
Maybe your car won’t start, and even though you know nothing about cars aside from how to drive them and turn the radio to your favorite country station, you start poking around under the hood with a wrench instead of calling your I-can-fix-anything dad.
Or maybe your boss at work asks you for a “rundown” of all your clients by the end of the day, and instead of asking him or anyone else in the office what in the world that means, you stressfully scrounge something together all by yourself and pray that it meets expectations. (We’re looking at you, Jim.)
The truth is, we all try to plow through obstacles on our own—even when we have someone to call on for help. Sometimes, that looks like the two examples above. But other times, that looks like trying to solve our problems alone instead of asking God for help.
Usually, it’s less about feeling like we have everything under control and more because we secretly fear that God doesn’t. We start thinking things like, Maybe He needs my help, and, Maybe I won’t like His plan, so I’ll come up with a better one.
The root of those thoughts is one simple problem: We don’t trust God.
Why Is It So Hard to Trust God?
We aren’t the first ones to struggle with trusting God (and we certainly won’t be the last). Let’s go all the way back to the Garden of Eden for a little history of when doubt first entered the picture.
In Genesis, when Adam and Eve were in the garden minding their own business, the serpent came to them with a temptation.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”’
“‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” — Genesis 3:1–6 (NIV)
This entire passage can be summarized in one sentence: Adam and Eve took matters into their own hands. It’s what so many of us do every day. We doubt God’s goodness, we become overwhelmed with fear and anxiety, and we try to take matters into our own hands.
How to Trust God
Want to hear the good news? We don’t have to live like this. We can learn to trust God.
Think of a friend you trust—someone you would let watch your children or share something personal with. Why do you trust them? How did you learn to trust them? Chances are, it’s because of a few key factors:
- You know them personally.
- You know they’re dependable.
- You know they’re for you.
So, how do we learn to trust God? The exact same way! Let’s dig into how to apply those three factors to your relationship with God.
1. Get to know God personally.
The Bible talks about how much God desires a close, personal relationship with each of us. He’s not a distant God up in the clouds just watching our world spin out of control. He pursues us and loves us and wants to be known by us.
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“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.” — 1 John 4:16 (NIV)
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” — Romans 5:8 (NIV)
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” — 1 John 3:1 (NIV)
God loves you and wants to spend time with you. The more time you spend with Him, the more you get to know Him. And the more you get to know Him, the easier it is to trust Him.
2. Remember when God’s been faithful.
Have you ever sat down and thought about everything in your life you have to be thankful for? If you have, then you know how powerful it can be to remind yourself of just how often God’s come through for you—and how many blessings there are in your life. If you haven’t, then you’re missing out!
Taking time to remember God’s faithfulness in the past helps us trust that he’ll remain faithful in the future. In the same way you build trust with a friend when they keep showing up for you time and time again, seeing how often God’s worked in your life helps you trust Him more.
Romans 3:3–4 (NIV) says, “What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all!” Again and again, God shows us that regardless of what we do or don’t do, He’s faithful. We can depend on Him.
Our God is a God who comes through for us. Not every now and then—every single time. He doesn’t come through for us because we deserve it or because we’ve been good. Nope, God comes through for us because that’s who He is.
Remember when God’s been faithful to you before and let that build your confidence in Him. We can trust God because He’s faithful.
3. Read about how God feels about you.
Have you ever done something you knew was wrong and afterward thought to yourself, Why in the world does God put up with me? Well, here’s the thing: God doesn’t put up with us. Nope. If you look at Scripture, what you’ll actually find is a God who adores us—even when we fail.
So often, we project onto God how we feel about ourselves—feelings of disappointment, failure and doubt. Or we let our past wounds—how our dad talked to us when we were little or how that certain group of “friends” treated us in school—shape how we feel about God. We expect that God feels the same way about us.
If you see God as some kind of judgmental dictator who’s looking down and waiting for you to mess up, then it’ll definitely be hard to trust Him. That’s why you need to read (and reread and reread!) about how God actually feels about you. Here are just a few examples from the Bible:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. . . . Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you.” — Isaiah 43:1, 4 (NIV)
“‘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.’” — Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” — Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)
God loves you. He’s in your corner, and He wants the very best for you. When you remember how He feels about you, it becomes a lot easier to trust Him and His plans for you.
Trusting God Is an Act and a Practice
Trust isn’t a thought or feeling—it’s a practice you walk out in your daily life and a muscle that needs to be exercised. If it’s a muscle you haven’t used much before, it’s going to be weak and wobbly at first. That’s okay! Over time, it will become easier to trust in God.
Just remember this: The next time something goes wrong or you feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you, you have a choice. You can panic and try to fix everything yourself, or you can practice active trust by pausing, praying and seeking God for the solution before you make your next move.
You can take a deep breath and let your shoulders relax because your Father knows your every need before you even have it.
Ready to Finally Reach Your Spiritual Goals?
If trusting God more is one of your spiritual goals, the Ramsey Goal Planner is a great way to track your progress. It’s more than just some empty calendar pages or a to-do list—it’s a guide to crushing your spiritual, financial and relationship goals.
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