By Allye Foster
I was born, raised, baptized, and confirmed in the church. I would not say there is a moment that I did not know of the Lord, as I was surrounded by a church upbringing, but I would say that I did not necessarily know the Lord, or have a relationship with Him.
In junior high I viewed my faith through a performance-based lens. My faith was an if/then belief. “If I do this, then I will go to heaven. If I do this, then I will go to hell.” I was so focused on the threat of hell and the reward of heaven, that I didn’t have a relationship with the Lord.
In high school I was overly involved in my youth group—attending every trip, leading worship, attending Bible study. However, looking back, I couldn’t tell you exactly what I believed. I did have a faith, but my focus was more on doing than believing and trusting.
In college I plugged into a biblically-based church and drifted away from performance-based legalism to focusing on the life and character of Jesus. I attended a highly relationally-driven private Christian college and was a Resident Assistant for two years, which shifted my attention on how to love others well, as the Lord loves. I grew exponentially in my faith during this four-year period, but a struggle against control continued to surface.
When Idols Vaporize
I have always struggled with control and trusting myself rather than the Lord. The Lord used one rough summer to teach me an irreplaceable lesson. The summer after my junior year of college, I moved to Dallas, where I hardly knew a soul, for an internship. The day before I came to Dallas I broke up with my boyfriend, the first serious relationship I had been in where I saw marriage on the horizon.
This relationship had been unhealthy for a slew of reasons, but the most prevalent and serious is that we were making each other our gods, our idols—instead of letting God be God in our lives. Our dependence was in each other, not the Lord.
Being in Dallas was a low point for me. I had no friends, no boyfriend, and no family nearby –all the things I had put my trust in and relied on in the past were out of reach for the first time.
The Foundation is Trust
The Lord brought me to my knees at a point of total surrender, as my only option was to rely and trust in Him. I saw what a true trusting relationship in the Lord is supposed to look like. I was Spirit-filled by the Lord’s presence in my life, finding my hope and joy in my relationship with the Lord.
After living in a deepened relationship with the Lord, with the kind of faith and trust that only comes from whole-heartedly depending on God for every little thing, I came to realize that being in a true relationship with the Lord goes hand in hand with trusting Him. I had been telling myself a lie that I could have a deep personal relationship with the Lord, but only trust Him some of the time–when it was easy and convenient for me.
Growing in Faith Daily
This season of my life showed me not only how harmful not trusting the Lord is to my relationship with Him, but also the truth that, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8) and to have confidence in Christ as our competence comes from the Lord, not ourselves (2 Corinthians 3:4-5).
I am still learning and growing in faith daily. And don’t get me wrong, trusting in the Lord is a daily battle. It is a continual temptation to depend on myself, others, or the things of this world. But it is in these moments that I have to hold firm to the promise of Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
He Wants Your All
My own understanding tells me to trust myself. But my Lord and Savior, who loves me, wants me to surrender not just part of my life to Him, but my all—including the desire to control and to trust other things besides Him. It is through this complete surrender that the Lord does His best work and that I am in right relationship with Him.