Yesterday Jennifer asked me a follow-on question about my "Year Of" post from a few weeks ago. Which was basically ... what did you learn from last year's "Year of Trust" theme? I had intended to write about that, and then January got dogpiled by a whole lot of work deadlines and other craziness and I didn't get back to it.
So: Trust. Right. Here we go.
Here's the thing. I know how this story is supposed to go, by typical media and internet standards. I'm supposed to have a glorious story of the big moment that flipped my entire life upside down, because before that moment I didn't have real trust in God and now I DO, and EVERYTHING IS AWESOME because of it. (And then in keeping with the times, I'd add one of those supremely annoying Facebook-style titles which have been cropping up far too frequently of late: "This woman didn't think she could ever learn how to trust in God. I was amazed at what happened next." GRRR. We hates them, precious, with their bald and exploitative emotional manipulation. Ahem. Where was I? Right, trust.)
In actual point of fact, I don't feel like I have much more trust in God today than I did last January, when the Year of Trust idea was sparkly new. But personal virtues, like trust, tend to grow slowly. Sometimes they grow so slowly it's hard to tell if they are growing at all, and you have to look backwards and measure from where they started in order to see the change.
Personal trust comes hard to me. People definitely need to earn it, and I don't always give them the chance. Keeping my distance is much safer, because I don't risk having my trust being broken. The scariest worst thing always reminds me how desperately painful that is.
God is a person, and he needs to earn my trust too. I can't argue whether that is right or wrong. It is definitely because of my messed-up-ness that I find it so hard to trust someone who goes to such great lengths to demonstrate his trustworthiness. But then, he's not surprised by my difficulty either. He knows how I am; he's been here all along.
Jesus is always more chill with the long process of change than I am. This is a fact which I am always reminded of (and often surprised by) when I come to him thrashing myself over some real or imagined failing and find he refuses to join in.
And there, I think, is my most significant marker of change in the area of trust. Over the course of the past year my relationship with Jesus has developed to a much more deep and personal degree. I don't edit my thoughts before I think them at him nearly so much any more. I am more able and willing to say whatever unpleasant thing tumbles out of me and splatters on my notebook pages, the place I almost always go looking for Jesus when I want to whine or growl or cry about something. Isn't that a real indication of trust? Having the ability to talk to someone without careful editing, to be able to say any horrible thing and know they will take it in calmly and not react with shock or push you away? To someone for whom rejection is the scariest worst thing, being willing and able to say absolutely anything to a person takes a bloody lot of trust. And Jesus has earned it, because I do it.
So: Trust. Do I trust in Jesus wholeheartedly? No, sorry to say, not yet. Do I take any kind of action he asks me to, even ones that are laid out plain as day in his book? Sorry again, I don't do that. Do I always talk to him when I need someone to talk to? Even there, I don't. Not always.
Complete trust? No.
Growth in trust? Yes. The measurements which prove it? A whole lot of scribbledy notebook pages full of ugly prayers. This post in which I can frankly talk about some of my failings without worrying (too much) about people who might be horrified by it or reject me over it. Jesus won't. I trust him for that.