Trust. verb. According to Google, “to believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” I’ve struggled with it ever since trust falls on 9th grade youth retreats. I am struggling with it now.
I’d been going to yoga. One Thursday I showed up to a toned pixie with messy hair leading the class. We started in child’s pose.
I sat on my feet, hips trying to touch heels, folded in half so my forehead touched the ground. I pressed back through my palms, feeling the tension. The teacher claimed that hips carry a lot of emotion. I almost believed her. “This week in my classes, we’ve been talking about trust,” she said. “So tonight, meditate on trust. Where do you need more trust?”
I’m sometimes oblivious to burning bushes, signs from God. This one was hard to miss.
Wednesday had been hard. Some of my distant, hopeful plans for the future toppled. My ideals were looking, well, idealistic. The months ahead looked hard, like work and angst. Letting go of my tentative outline sucked.
I thought I knew exactly what I wanted for the next few years. I predicted how much hard stuff I could handle before my measly strength gave out, how far my emotions would swing in a few months. “I can’t,” throbbed in my mind when all I saw were my own trembling hands, knuckles white with pressure. So I held my own little whispered hopes close. I’d just started to give voice to them.
And then, one conversation, and my plans crumbled.
I spent the day grappling with the mental aftermath when not wrangling kids. I wanted to stomp, stick out my bottom lip, and cross my arms, like the diva seven-year-olds I work with. It would have been so much more satisfying than sitting quietly, watching the playground, wondering if I’d get my way.
Two weeks later, I still want to pout most days.
I should be better at this. The past months are littered with evidence that I have something to trust in. I got a miracle job for the summer. A random conversation linked me to a roommate just in time. Just days ago, my cranky car got fixed without leaving me stranded for more than an evening. Clearly, I have not been cosmically ditched. And still I forget. Still I refuse.
It sucks. I want to stretch into the mythical day when all will be well and I will be content. I itch to instantly unfurl branches that reach further and touch more: more warmth, more adventure, more happiness, more space for the life I long for. But I’m stuck, rooted here and now. Growing is slow. It hurts, the cracking of stiff bark, old ideas, to make room for new shooting of fresh leaves. It goes inch by inch. From my stunted height, my plans still seem best. I ache for them to be fulfilled.
There has to be something better. I want to ask “What if?” with hope, not fear. I want to believe that those June evenings I spent reading in my boyfriend’s room, him listening to lectures, our knees touching, won’t be the only golden days. I want to believe that college was not the height of God’s provision of community and purpose. I want to know what it means for the Lord to be my strength and my song.
“Trust yourself to try something new,” the yoga instructor said. That night, I tried. I tried growing branches in tree pose, stretching my fingers towards the sky. I tried taking my peace fingers, grabbing my foot, and straightening my knee. I wobbled and broke the position. I tried again.
Now, I feel like I’m failing at trusting. I keep feeling the tension, losing my balance, and breaking the position. It hurts. But I have to keep trying again.