5 Simple Steps to Trusting God When Life Isn't Good — Carol McLeod Ministries

A Note from Carol: I love giving some of my dearest friends a voice during the summer on my Joy for the Journey blog. Let me introduce you to author, speaker, podcaster, and coach, Niki Hardy.

I know she has something rich and wise to share with you, and I hope you will take the time to enjoy this post and soak in her insight. I also hope you will take the time to visit her website at https://www.nikihardy.com/.

Don’t worry … I am still here, and I will be back writing Joy for the Journey at the end of the summer. In the meantime, I am writing a new Bible Study and preparing all sorts of wonderful ministry events for the fall. Blessings and joy!

I woke up in a pool of blood.

Having been to the Medical School of Grey’s Anatomy I knew something was wrong, and in that moment, I wanted to trust God and I did, kind of. Yet it was there, lying in my own blood, I realized trusting God isn’t as easy as I thought.

If life’s rough right now, I’m sure you want to trust God, too. You probably know you need to trust Him, but when the doctor called, you discovered your teen is cutting, or your brain’s spinning with worry, maybe… like me… you discovered it’s not as easy as it seemed.

How can God be good when life isn’t?

Do I want to trust a God who’s allowed this pain?

We long to cast our burdens onto him, confident He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).  We dream of traveling through life anxiety free, knowing He’s got us and won’t let us down.

Yet the fear of God being as unpredictable, untrustworthy, and unreliable as life is has a tendency to beat us down.

After I lost both my mum and sister to cancer, I was diagnosed. Despite being determined to survive, it wasn’t long before surviving was all I was doing, and it was after one of my many surgeries that I woke up soaked in blood.  When life was all rainbows and butterflies, I thought I’d be able to trust God no matter what life dealt me, but when my family heat-seeking missile of death locked in on me, it wasn’t that simple.

Now I know why.

Our brains work against us, constantly eroding our trust in God.

Do you remember the hurtful words spoken over you more than the loving affirmations? Are the memories of losing a friend stronger than the ones of the day you first held your daughter? For many of us, the answer is “yes” and that’s the problem.

 Our brains are wired to recall bad memories, not just more easily than the good ones, but with greater detail and hang on to them longer.

We’re wired this way to avoid pain and death.

Yet this self-protection works against us when it comes to trusting God.

Experience teaches us to trust people and things who’ve proved themselves trustworthy.

I’m trusting this chair to hold my weight because it’s done it many times before and chairs in general have proved trustworthy in not collapsing under me. I trust the guy who fixes our appliances to not be late because he’s never been late before.

Trust is given and earned.

On top of our memory banks sit the tough, painful moments that have broken our hearts, kept us awake at night, and left us feeling alone, unloved, and forgotten by God. We can revisit them with a glance, eroding our trust, persuading us He doesn’t care, is angry, or has left us to figure it out alone.

Thankfully, we can change our brain’s wiring, making trusting God easier.

Our happy, trust-building memories are buried deep where it’s harder to access. They remind us of the times God’s come through for us, we’ve found comfort in His arms and felt His peace in our most panic-stricken moments.

Happy memories build trust in God, while hard memories erode it. 

Since we lack a trusting-God-gene -one to make trusting God our default setting- trusting Him takes intentionality and a bit of work.

We must boost our wonderful trust-building memories of God until they drown out the painful trust-eroding memories.

Since it takes intentionality and work, I’ve done some of it for you. Here are my 5 simple steps to trusting God when you don’t feel like it.

They bring our positive memories of God’s faithfulness in the past into the present.

5 Simple Steps to Trusting God When You Don’t Feel Like It

1. Check God’s Credentials:

Before we trust anyone, from a doctor to a car mechanic, we check out their references to see if they’re trustworthy. To build positive, trust-building memories and stories of how God does what He promises we can, we must check out God’s credentials, too.

2. Ask Him for Help:

No one said trusting God with our shattered lives is easy, but I believe He’s delighted to help if we ask. We can simply pray, “God, I’m really struggling to trust you right now. Please help me. I trust. Help my lack of trust.”

3. Choose to Trust:

Trust is a verb, an action, a doing word. It’s something only we can choose to do for ourselves. We don’t need our emotion’s permission to trust God and trusting scared, trusting doubtfully, or simply trusting with the tiny slither of faith we can muster is still trust.

4. Let Go:

Is there something or someone you’re putting your trust in over God? In order to fully trust God, we must let go of anything and anyone we’ve elevated above Him, and grasp hold of God instead.

5. Keep a Record:

As we step out and trust Him, however shakily, keeping track of how He shows up helps build those trust-building memories and grow our confidence in Him for the future. It raises our expectations of what He will do and sets us up to trust Him more easily next time. It’s like paying into a trust bank.

These five steps keep the powerful trust-building memories in the front of your mind, making trusting God easier and more of a go-to response when life is hard.

When life falls apart or we wake up in our own pool of blood, trusting God is still who He says He is harder than it was when life was all rainbows and butterflies. Yet by choosing to take Him at His word, we don’t deny life is hard, we simply face it head on in the knowledge He is good, even if life isn’t; He loves us, even if others don’t; and He won’t leave us, even if we’ve been abandoned before.

It’s here we discover His peace that passes understanding and guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. It’s here we learn to trust God when we can’t stop worrying.

Niki Hardy is an English author, speaker, and coach who’s all about helping you love the life you have by growing the faith you long for. She loves running trails with her Goldendoodles, a good cup of tea, and telling terrible jokes, but unfortunately, she’s still figuring out which remote turns the TV on.