Thursday, February 2, 2012

cultivating trust: the triumph of letting go

If the antidote to perfectionism is letting goand the way to let go is to trust, then the Year of Letting Go needs to be about cultivating trust.  

And the best way to cultivate trust I know of is to chew on trust-filled words of Scripture, and then put those words into action.
I open my Bible and start digging.  I make another list in my journal.  Twelve trust-passages, one for each month of this new year.  
January’s passage?  The first one to spring to mind:
Proverbs 3 
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways, acknowledge Him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh,
and refreshment to your bones.
The first eleven days of January, I mull over these words from the third chapter of Proverbs.  Every morning, as part of my morning routine, I read them out loud to myself.  I make a playlist on my iPod of songs with “trust” or “heart” in them, and treat myself to one new song every morning.  Sixpence None the Richer’s “Trust” rolls around in my heart, soothing, settling.  I immerse myself in truth.  I practice trusting.
I practice trusting in the small moments, and then one day, it happens.  
My first real test.

{Can I open my hand and receive whatever God gives?}

It’s 8:00am.  My husband should be leaving for work soon, but he’s still in the office sitting at his computer.  Soon he comes to the kitchen door, where I’m still tidying up from breakfast.  I can feel him hesitating.
“Um… how would you feel…” he’s bracing himself, I can feel it.  “How would you feel about... going into the city today?”  Over four hours in the car.  We had two families of guests yesterday (mountains of dishes), and two more families expected for dinner tonight.  My helper’s coming in an hour.  My to-do list looms.  
He’s waiting for my answer.  And now I know why he braced himself; he’s waiting for my explosion.  My heart saddens.
And I see it clearly.  This is it, the moment of truthTrust in the Lord with all your heart, do not lean on your own understanding rolls through my mind.  I take a deep breath.  I feel myself calm, steady.  I keep my voice light.  “Why do we all need to go today?  Why can’t you just go, and then if we all really need to come in we could go tomorrow?”  (Tomorrow my day is completely free.)  I keep reasoning: “There really isn’t any proof they need us to redo these documents - what if we drag the boys all the way in there for nothing?”  I talk him out of it.  He agrees, goes to get ready for work. 
I go back to wiping the table, but I keep thinking.  If we don’t get these documents sorted out this week, it will infringe on our holiday next week.  And today is the first business day of this week, the sooner the better.  I could tell he really thought we should go in today… 

I give in, surrender in my spirit.

I lean into the door of the study.  “Love, if you think we should all go in today, I will make it happen.  Really.  I just need to be back by 4:00 (inwardly wincing) to start the pizza dough.”  

He looks up, doubtful.  Waiting for the explosion.  Praise be, it doesn’t come.  She’s serious.  Hesitantly: “Well, yes, I do think it would be wiser to all go today…”
“Okay.” I spring into action, mentally rearranging my entire day, flipping through my to-do list to find anything portable I can bring along to make the most of those hours in the car.  Laptop goes in the bag, iPod with speakers for the boys to watch Sesame Street, stuff a ziplock with every snack in the closet… Grab water bottles, cuddlies for naptime, diapers for Ben… Quick, get the boys dressed, quick call my helper and tell her to come tomorrow.  Grab purse, hat, coat, scarf, gloves, bags, boys, carseats, out the door, into the car… 
As soon as we’re all strapped in and driving away, James says quietly to me, “Thank you, love, for being so gracious.”  And in those words are the whole world.  

We had the. best. day.  
Stimulating, encouraging conversation with my husband in the car, listening and discussing audio books; the boys were good as gold; we got all our paperwork turned in, bought the boys hamburgers for lunch, and headed home again.  We were home by 3:00.  A whole hour earlier than I asked for.
I took a deep breath, stretched my aching back, and went straight into the kitchen.  I finished the dishes I’d left behind, hung up the load of laundry that stayed in the washer all day, and sat down at the kitchen table for a quick cup of tea to gather myself, before starting to prepare dinner for six adults and six kids, arriving in an hour and a half.

The door opens.  “Hello? Aunty?”  It’s two local teenage girls, a neighbor girl and her friend, here to practice English.  

I must admit, I almost didn’t pass this second test, coming so close on the heels of the first. 

Twice in one day, Lord?  I panicked.  I can’t have them here right now!  I have so much to do!  I couldn’t think straight.  

I had literally just sat down with my tea, so I put on a fake smile, poured them each a cup as well, and we sat there awkwardly at the kitchen table while I fought with myself to be gracious.  “We just got home from the city, and we have guests coming soon,” I said in a rush, hoping they’ll get the hint, “so I really don’t have much time.”  
“Oh, can we help you?” in their sweet, stilted English.  I couldn’t even think what task I had to do first, I was so rattled.
“Oh, no, that’s ok,” I mumbled, hopping up and fiddling with things in the fridge.  Just leave, please just leave… I can’t think with you here… 
And then the Lord whispered, “Just. Trust. Me.”

So - I did.  I just trusted.  

I got out the stuff to chop for my salad, saying, “Well, actually, you could help me make the salad, if you want to…”  These girls were expert salad makers.  Their cubes of cucumber and tomato were exquisite.  They had six flower-like plates of labor-intensive malibu salat (little piles of cubed kielbasa, cheese, cucumber, tomato, canned corn and croutons with mayonaise in the middle) ready in a fraction of the time it would have taken me alone.  

Meanwhile, I concentrated on my pizza dough and my heart… as the dough rose, so did my heart.  
By the time our guests arrived, I was all ready to welcome them, and I could never have done it if I had been on my own.  The girls sweetly said goodbye and got ready to leave, and as they were putting their coats on, I looked them both in the eyes and said, “I know God sent you two today, to help me get ready for these guests.  I never could have done this without your help!  You are my helpers from God!”  

See? said that still, small, gentle Voice in my heart.  I told you so.  

* * * 

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1 comment:

  1. You are always an encouragement to me! Thank you for listening to that still, small voice. Love you, friend!