Why Everything You Are Leaning On Must Be Removed

I can just about hear the rain outside, the slow prelude to some giant storm sliding in on the Atlantic. In spite of the prediction of wind and power outages, floods and uncertainty, there is peace in these hours of waiting for the storm. There is a stillness.

As I think back through my recent experience of learning to trust God with my life, I recognize two distinct phases. First there was a period of time where I wondered if God knew what he was doing. But I slowly learned to be okay living the life he has created me to live, even if it doesn’t always look the way I want it to look.

And I thought, in that moment, that I had arrived. Being okay living a simple life, and taking the opportunities that arise: this is what it means to trust God! Or at least that’s what I thought. But soon after that I realized that when you decide to trust God, when you decide to sit quietly and wait, when you decide to stop striving and start listening, the next phase begins.

This round is characterized by the voices of those you love questioning your sanity, usually in small ways. “I understand you’re a writer,” they say. “But most writers don’t make a living that way, right? Maybe you should think about getting a job.” Or, “It’s wonderful that you are chasing your dream, but what about the bills?”

And these are all valid questions. Except for this: I know what I’m supposed to do. I know the path that is spread out before me. I believe in the journey I’m on, and I’m prepared to learn from it one way or another. So I’ve discovered that trusting God means you will look foolish to some. This can be a more difficult phase than the first, because these voices, they are the voices of your friends and family, the ones who, up to this point, were perhaps your greatest cheerleaders.

Of course maybe they weren’t such great encouragers, and then you will see how that has been a good thing, because if they are old stick-in-the-muds and have always been telling you what you can’t do, then they will be easier to ignore at this crucial junction.

But, then again, you know what I mean. You’ve written that book without their approval. You’ve made a decision regarding your children without their agreement. You put up a blog post your friends read without blinking even once, so shocked were they to discover your political leanings or religious views. You quit your job or went on the “dangerous” missions trip or moved into the city. All because there was a voice inside of you, a gentle urging, something telling you to trust, and to do.

The way of trust is, in the end, a lonely way. And this is as it should be, at least for a time, because it’s only when all of your supports have been removed that you will have the courage to open your eyes and see that trust is enough.

11 Replies to “Why Everything You Are Leaning On Must Be Removed”

  1. So true, Shawn. Praying that Maile will be your greatest cheerleader!! Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Praying for continued faith for you and your wife.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement Shawn! There is a gap between the here and now and your destiny and only FAITH can fill it, Faith one step at a time! When others start questioning the direction I feel God is leading us I think of a quote that I have posted on my desktop that says “At first they will ask you WHY you are doing it, and later they will ask you HOW you did it! Keep following your dreams my friend!

  3. I am living this now, learning deep trust through isolation processing. It is hard but I’m keeping my eye on Him, knowing the purpose is for the ongoing process of salvation, becoming trustworthy in order to be used for Kingdom purposes. Knowing that makes it a bit easier. It’s my first visit here, enjoying your words.

  4. These words are like a hurricane through the soul (in a good way). Deeper waters, deep trust, things that keep coming from a number of writers. Thanks to you guys for going there before us with God and leading the way.
    First visit too – thanks to @smillerRB for pointing me here!

  5. Loved this last part:

    The way of trust is, in the end, a lonely way. And this is as it should be, at least for a time, because it’s only when all of your supports have been removed that you will have the courage to open your eyes and see that trust is enough.

    It helps make a scary thing seem a little less scary. At least to me. Thanks!

  6. Hey Shawn.
    Thank You so much for this article. It looks like it was written especially for me. This is so awesome because the Lord just confirmed to me through your article what it is he wants me to do. I’m also a writer. I know how most people feel about this type of profession. I have to trust God that he will provide. He has never let me down. You have reignited the flame for me. Thank You.


  7. Why is that people never question us when we say we’re going to medical school or seminary or getting a better paying job? Ever notice that the stick in the muds only come out when we’re doing the thing we were called to do and it doesn’t look like what THEY think is normal? Chaps my hide, Shawn.

    It’s hard enough to make a life writing. Makes me remember how when I was pregnant with Elliot and scared to death I’d not be able to handle three kids, only ONE person said something nice to me about having three. ONE.

    We need to think before we open our mouths, and we need to encourage one another. And, you don’t need my permission to kick the arse you’re kicking. You go, Shawn.

  8. Thanks for this post. Sometimes I feel like the only one. I met my future in-laws this weekend. Ayn Rand is their prophet and the idea that I didn’t have a real job was abhorrent to them. Same with my family to. So it’s good to hear that their are others on this journey!

  9. Amen. But I found that I needed at least one person walking the way of trust with me – my husband. It was just too hard to stare down the nay-sayers without him in my corner.

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