Earlier this month I was blessed to have the opportunity to join the first year missionaries for what would be my second 8-day silent retreat. This retreat was based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and each of us had a spiritual director who met with us everyday to guide us in our prayer and meditations.
This year my retreat was a very deep spiritual experience for me, where I personally experienced peace, joy, and the love of God. In addition to these things, I learned a funny little fact about myself: I am very rational. I like for things to make sense and if they don’t make sense I like for them to be explained to me.
Around the same time I realized that I found myself wrestling in my prayer about something that I’d been struggling with all year: trust. I struggle trusting God and I struggle trusting the people around me. It is not my natural inclination to be very open with people at all unless they’ve done something to earn my trust in some way. This would be a struggle enough by itself, but now add the fact that I never actually figured out what a person had to do to have “earned” my trust and we just have a rough situation on our hands.
Throughout the week the Lord really conquered my fear of trusting Him. It was irrational! He had never hurt me and I knew He never would. He brought me through so many Scripture passages about His faithfulness and dependability and unfailing love that I got to a point where it was clear: God had earned my trust more than anyone in my life had ever done.
However, I was still faced with the problem of trusting people and this seemed like a much harder problem to solve. I had reason to not trust people – it was irrational! Experience told me that it was foolish to open my heart too deeply because I would inevitably be hurt.
Different people have tried to help me with this problem and the solution seemed to be narrowed down to two different possible solutions – both of which seemed impossible to understand (Let’s be real, when it came to trust I understood nothing!). The first suggestion was that I “choose to trust.” This concept made absolutely no sense to me since I’d been hurt by trusting people before. Why would I choose to trust anyways? I didn’t get it. The second was that I learn to “discern who to trust.” This made sense in theory, but I had no idea how to do it.
Suddenly, in one of my holy hours it all clicked. I got it! Once I understood how my brain worked, in all it’s rational glory, it became clear how I could simply look around me and see how people had already earned my trust. “Discerning to trust” was really a possibility because it made total sense. I was waiting for fireworks, but I didn’t need them because I was given all the tools I needed to figure it out. Rationally.
God knows our struggles and He gives us everything we need to overcome them. What is it that you’re struggling with? Is it trust? Self-worth? Courage? God doesn’t give us any more than He is strong enough to carry us through.