Hi. This is Natalie Hoffman of Flyingfreenow.com, and you’re listening to the Flying Free Podcast,
a support resource for women of faith looking for hope and healing from hidden emotional and
Recently I had to make a decision about something that involved COVID, my kids, and
school. I won’t go into any details, but one of my teens informed me that I probably wasn’t
a Christian because I didn’t trust God. Now, this child was motivated by a strong desire for
something that I wasn’t giving her, and she was pulling all the possible arguments out of
her toolbox to see which one might be the magic key that would turn the lock and get her
mother to give her what she wanted.
Teenagers can be very astute when it comes to manipulating their parents. They
instinctively know which buttons to push for the best effect. But they learned this from
watching other grown-ups do it.
And when you hear your kids using Christianity or the Bible or principles like trusting God
as manipulation tools to get what they want, you know they picked up those tactics from
You see, all the humans want what they want. Whether they are religious or secular. All the
humans have their own rule books for how everyone should live and what others should
and should not do for them or to them. You do. I do. Our kids do.
Religious people have thick rule books for themselves and others that are full of their own
personal thoughts programmed into their brains from childhood and interwoven with
bible verses to give their manuals that holy flavor – and it gives the people holding their
manuals a good feeling that they are right and everyone else is wrong.
But at the end of the day, our manuals for others are just ridiculous hogwash. And boy, do
those manuals cause a lot of heartache for all the humans.
Manuals are simply our brain’s justification for getting up in everyone else’s business. “Well
I need to let them know because I CARE about them.” When in reality, we really just want
the other person to do and believe what we do and believe.
I know this from personal experience both having a manual for others myself as well as
being beaten over the head by the manuals of many others. I’m spending the rest of my
life becoming aware of my own manual, trimming it down to bare bones, and dismissing
the manuals of others. Someone else’s manual doesn’t mean anything until we give it
meaning. So, when my daughter tells me I’m not trusting God because I won’t give her
what she wants, I don’t have to make that mean anything other than she really wants
something bad enough to sling mud.
It reminded me of another time when I sat across from an older man, an elder, who told
me I didn’t even KNOW God because I was leaving my husband. I wasn’t living according
to his manual, and so he believed he was justified in slinging mud.
But I got to thinking about this whole idea of trusting God. What does it mean to trust
God in a pandemic? Do we just live our normal lives and say que será, será to whatever
happens? Do we take in information and make informed choices? Is that trusting God?
Or is that trusting in ourselves? Do we go to the doctor if we are sick or do we stay
home? Which one is trusting God the most? And who decides? Should I let my
two-year-old play by a bluff or maybe a freeway and trust God that He will protect
These are the kinds of questions that came up a lot in my prior marriage. There was a lot
of confusion over what trusting God meant, and because I tended more toward learning
from the things I read as well as from my own experiences and the experiences of
others, I made some decisions that others decided were not the “Trusting God” type of
decisions. According to their manuals, I was trusting myself. And they told me so.
Jesus tells a story about a business owner who goes away and leaves different portions of
his business with three different employees. Two of the employees invest their portions –
which means they had to take a risk, make decisions, and trust that they were acting in
the best interest of their employer. Were they trusting their employer or trusting
themselves? Did it matter?
But one didn’t want to take a risk. He didn’t live from a stance of love. He lived from a
stance of fear. He didn’t trust himself or his employer’s instructions. And he buried his
portion to keep it safe.
Reading this story, already knowing how it ends, our brains assume the two investors just
knew they would succeed. And that’s why they invested and were successful. But how
could they know if they would succeed or not? If investing was a sure bet the last one
would have surely done the same. But there was risk involved. A decision had to be
made, and the last employee was unwilling to make that decision. The way some Christians
think today that man was trusting God. Whatever happened— it
The way some Christians think today that man was trusting God. Whatever happened— it
wasn’t his responsibility because he was trusting God.
But when the employee came back that man was punished. Why? Because it was his
responsibility. He made a decision even though he didn’t. He decided not to decide. And
then he chose not to take responsibility. And that was his downfall.
What if trusting God is simply trusting that He is our Abba Father, and we are free to make
decisions and fall on our faces sometimes? We are free to stub our toe on a rock while we
are running through the fields of grace, and we trust that He loves us no matter what. We
are free to make mistakes and get messy as the Frizz says on the Magic School Bus.
Because we have a Creator who knows that making mistakes is how we will grow the most.
What if perfection isn’t the goal but the glorious journey is.
What if we had such audacious trust in God that we could ALLOW THE OTHER HUMANS
TO BE WHO THEY ARE, and we could drop our manuals for them. What if we could commit
them to Jesus and then just love them? I wonder what kind of world that kind of trust in
God would create?
What if that elder knew who God was and knew that our God is so much bigger than a
dysfunctional marriage? That our God can make beauty out of ashes and that our God
wraps His weeping Children in His arms and accepts them just as they are? Even when
their faith is failing because churches kick them out of the gates and slam the doors on
What if our brothers and sisters in Christ trusted God enough to lay down their control of
everyone else? What if we trusted God enough to stop trying to change our husbands so
we could be safe with them and we just accepted that they are who they are. And they get
to be. And that we also get to be who we are, and we get to be safe if we want to be. We
can leave if we need to. We can leave without shame because we are loved and accepted,
and we all trust our Abba Father to be with us on our way out of hell.
I think trusting God looks like all of that and more. So, stop analyzing whether or not you’re
trusting God enough. And go out and live your life using the tools God gave you. Your
brain. Your experience. Your body. Your education. Your wisdom. Your relationships. And
your love. Go out and take the risks you need to take and make a choice to mitigate other
risks you don’t want to take.
Let’s weigh things out and make decisions knowing that God wants us to do that. And we
are safe in doing that. And there isn’t always a right or wrong to many of our decisions.
There is just a choice to be made, and God can be trusted in all those choices.
Think about a chess game. God can play an infinite number of chess games all at the same
time – and he knows all the moves. There is no move you can make that is outside of His
knowledge or ability to continue playing chess with you.
People can’t figure this out and when they try, it’s only because they aren’t trusting that
God’s got this.
I’d like you to consider the idea that maybe trusting God means living your life in freedom
and love because you know He’s got your back.