My word for the year is trust, and I have been weaving that word into my prayer and meditation.
I desire to grow in trust, and I have issues with trusting.
It is a conundrum. I want to trust, and I am afraid to trust.
As I considered Lent and where God may be inviting me to grow in trust, this question came to me: Am I limiting God by holding onto what feels safe?
I know that trust involves a great deal of letting go, but this question presented my lack of trust and my fear of letting go in a different way. This question involves how God acts through me.
When my friend Jim had brain cancer, we spent a good deal of time at the New Jersey shore. Jim would look out at the ocean and say, “Look how big our God is.” And then he would add, “Think big thoughts.”
Looking out over the ocean, it is easy to see vastness and openness. It is easy to imagine a God big enough to create not only the ocean but the sky above. It is easy to think big thoughts.
But I don’t live by the ocean, and my outside horizon is limited by houses and trees.
Here, it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, the sameness of life, the smallness of life. Here it is easy to fall back into old beliefs about my inadequacies and to narrow my worldview.
I have tried to pay attention to when I am limiting my vision, when I am living and acting out of fear instead of trust, when I am living small instead of living large.
And in that awareness, I can see how often I choose to stick with what has been, rather than to risk something new; to cling to old habits and beliefs that feel safe in their familiarity, rather than let go of the old to make room for something new.
My Lenten question reminds me that when I live out of a small place, a place of fear or stinginess, I am not just limiting myself, but limiting how God interacts in my world.
I am continually tempted to play it safe, to stick with what is familiar—and God keeps inviting me to live larger, to step outside of what is known and familiar. God invites me into the great unknown. How scary that can be!
Trust me, God says. I know the plans I have for you (Jeremiah 29:11).
Again and again, I am invited to shed what has held me back and to become who I am meant to be.
Am I limiting God by holding onto what feels safe? The answer is yes. The follow-up question is, what needs to change so I can move from fear to trust?
Are you thinking big thoughts? Living large? Or do your fears hold you back? What keeps you from becoming the person you were created to be?