Yesterday a dear one prayed the following over me “I pray that Leah would trust herself enough to believe that she can make good decisions about her life.”
I wrote it down.
I walked away from it.
Or so I thought.
For the last 24 hours I’ve twirled the idea around in my head that I have not always trusted myself with myself. That I have been unsure that I am trustworthy or able or grown up enough to make decisions, choices, and changes without someone else to help me.
But here’s what is ridiculous about that train of thought…I have been on my own for 21 years. I moved out when I was 17 and for all intents and purposes, I was on my own. Made my own decisions. Stopped asking permission. I’ve been the captain of my own ship. The master of my own fate. The driver of the car. The buyer of the houses. The taker of the jobs. The signer of the lease. The owner of the cat…ok…that one isn’t true…no one owns a cat.
I think there is something wrong with a family and religious tradition that tells you all the time that you are confused, lacking good judgement, and unable to make clear choices. I am as guilty as the next person of believing for myself or selling to others the following:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.–Proverbs 3:5
Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. –1 Corinthians 8:2
If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. –Galatians 6:3
Without context, this stuff sounds pretty debilitating to our ability to trust ourselves. Put together with the instruction to not make any decisions or do anything until God speaks, and you’ve got a whole lot of sitting around and almost no action. In a certain light, these verses teach fear, doubt in ourselves, and that underlying “wretched sinner whom God can’t stand, touch, or have anything to do with” stuff that causes captivity.
Meanwhile…there are still such truths in these words. When in context. When in concert with the mellifluous (that’s a great word right?) sound of the presence of God.
Wait a second…if God is in me…and I am in God…can’t I trust myself…even a little?
For so long, I believed that there was only one right way to do everything. One pure way. One true way. One way that would please God. And that if I made the wrong choice there was only so much God could do with my screw up and that I’d have to deal with the consequences. One right choice…one wrong choice. Good and bad. Black and white. No redemption for mistakes. No coming back from errors. No wiggle room…for me or anyone else.
But what about the confidence that comes in relationship with God? What about believing that God and I are part of one another?
But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. –1 Corinthians 6:17
And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. –2 Peter 1:4
I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. –John 17:23
If God and I are joined…then it would be silly to not believe that I can trust myself. Sometimes, yes, I need to be still and give myself some room to think. But believing that I have zero capacity to think for myself because I am horrible, stupid, lowly, and all the things that sometimes the Christian faith teaches…explicitly or implicitly…is an insult to the Spirt of God in union with it’s creation.
So I am going to trust God more…believe the Universe and it’s Creator are benevolent…and that the Holy Spirit knows what it’s doing in me. And in so doing…trust me.