How do you trust when your heart has been broken so many times? How do you turn it over to anyone? Once your trust has been broken big time, it's hard to trust at all.
Why is it that putting our full trust in God is so hard? I think it's because He is so easy to blame. He is the grand master of all. He is the commander of the plan, so when things go wrong, when life gets rough, He is the one we put the blame on. Most of us (I wanted to say all, but realized that maybe some people haven't) have blamed God for our hardships at some point in our lives, and when times get really rough, we don't want to trust anyone, especially not Him because we think He put this burden on us.
My second study of step 3 was a lot more humble and satisfying than my first. After my first time through the steps, I was on a spiritual high. Then, something happened with my health that made me angry at the world and at God again. I just felt like there was nothing for me. I had struggled in my relationship with my husband for so long, and things were finally more up than down, then I got hit with all my health issues and felt like I just couldn't catch a break. At one point, I felt like God just didn't want me to be happy. Thankfully, I didn't get quite so low at that point to feel like I didn't deserve to be happy. Once you start thinking that, it's way harder to come back up.
Anyway, at that point, I had finished the 12 steps a week before, and I hadn't started over yet. When everything happened, and I got really depressed, I realized while in my dark little corner of the world that I could see this medical problem that had me bedridden for a couple weeks as an opportunity to grow closer to God and see what He wanted me to learn and start trying to feel joy again, or I could wallow in my misery and be horrible to everyone and unhappy and not see the light for a very long time. That's really not very appealing, so I chose the first (even though, let's be honest, there is something so appealing about being angry and horrible. except for the fact that Satan's grip gets tighter and tighter and you start losing sight of everything that is precious to you).
I went through steps 1 and 2, of course, but when I got to step 3, putting my full trust in God was way harder than before. I don't really know why. I think I felt like I had tried to give Him my all, and I felt betrayed, even though I knew deep down that there was some divine reason why I was going through these medical problems. My husband struggled with his addiction at this time, too, I think because of stress, and I felt like everything was falling apart everywhere. So, when it came to trusting God, I had issues because of everything.
I'm taking a little break off the 12 steps today, and I just want to talk about what helped me trust God my own way. I studied trust for at least a month. I did the stuff in the guidebook, but I did way more than just the guidebook. Reading through my journal over that course of time, this is how my studies went: Atonement, trust (step 3), Proverbs, grace, gratitude, Atonement, trust (topical guide), Psalm 62, 2 Nephi 2, step 3 again, conference talks, Act in Doctrine chapter 1 (amazing book), gratitude.
My entries about step 3 will include all those things as I share with you what I have learned about trust.
So, here is from my first journal entry about the Atonement (this was in December).
" 'All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Christ.' (That quote was from Sis. Burton's talk in the General Relief Society meeting.)
'Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
'And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs.'
'I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.'
'I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.'
"Atonement means 'at one' and denotes the reconciliation of man to God. When we think life is unfair or God has left us, we start to become estranged from God. We need that reconciliation to become 'at one' again with God and Jesus Christ.
"How can I use the Atonement to make right that is unfair in my life?
- service to others. Love them as God loves them. Every soul is of infinite worth and is loved dearly by God.
- keep doing what I know is right. Keep exercising faith and hope
- pray for understanding of the Atonement, especially for how it applies to me
- count my blessings and tender mercies"
I love that quote and those scriptures. They remind me that "unfair" things happen to everyone, but if we turn to Christ, our burdens will be eased. It also reminds me that I can turn to Him. He honors His promises. He will not leave me comfortless. And I can do all things with His strength. At that particular time in my life, I needed those promises. Those promises gave me a little bit of hope to trust again.
You know when you are just starting a new relationship, and you don't have that trust all the way? Then, when you spend so much time together, your relationship can grow stronger and more trusting based on the things that happen in your time together? Well, we need to treat our relationship with God like we would anyone else. We need to spend time with Him and get to know Him. I really try to read my scriptures every day and try to take some time to sit and feel the Spirit and know that He is there. Over time, I have developed trust in God because of the time I have spent in His presence (through prayer, studying the scriptures, attending church, etc).
I want to end this with just one more scripture:
"Be patient in affliction, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days."
The scriptures are full of trials, tribulation, and hardships. Nephi, Job, Adam, Joseph Smith, Moroni are just a few. They still kept the faith, and their examples and the words they have recorded in the scriptures help us find God and develop that trust in Him. Eventually, we will be able to do what it says in step 3, which is to turn our entire will over to God. When we trust Him enough, we will desire for Him to have our will because we will know that He will take care of us, and we will know that even the hardest trials are tender mercies because they help us build our character and reach our divine potential.