trust falls

written circa march 2013
and so so so relevant still.

I remember trust falls in 6th grade up at our school’s retreat center. I remember revisiting them again when they gathered all of us awkward freshman into the gym for Peer Leaders – a sorry excuse to miss gym for bonding with our classmates and learning how to trust and rely on one another.

Those moments when the group leader announced trust falls I’d feel my skin go cold and clammy. My head would start to spin in six different directions: from “I want to do this, to test and see if they’ll catch me” to “I don’t want to do this; I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.” Standing in the old gym I’d slink to the back of the crowd and appear composed when inside I was weeping and screaming and falling apart.

I never did trust falls, at any time. I tried them when I was alone though. To see if I could trust myself at first, then to see if I could trust God. I’d stand on my chair, or I’d lift myself onto my tiptoes on the diving board facing the wrong way. I’d give myself permission to fall. I’d start letting go, but always I’d catch myself. Never let myself truly go. I always had the soft bed to land on, the knowledge that I could stop the falling and jump up if things got to scary. Surrender was in my vocabulary, but it wasn’t in my heart.

No one will catch me, I reasoned. So after these experiments (that sometimes I still conduct) I vowed to always have a safety net. Keep this much money in the bank and don’t dip below the magic number, stop after this and that, don’t get too close to people, remember to push them away. Don’t ever let anyone in fully. I got so good at locking the whole truth away, that I forgot who I was myself. If you’re going to jump, make sure you installed the net yourself.

Recently God has been revealing to me the closed-fisted, heart walled up girl that I still am. The girl who would rather be alone and figure everything out then just take things day-by-day, the girl who wants to drive the shard of broken glass down her arm after being in community. God, in his divine perfection pointed out to me – with all the bluntness of the Almighty – that I have a problem with control. I want to be in control always. When I am not in control I despair, I cry, I run. Through the compassionate words of a friend and the letters strung together in the Word, and then again in the book I am currently reading God has shown me just how my need for control is keeping me stuck, is keeping me in the pit, is keeping me from being a true disciple and member of the body of Christ.

But, may I ask… how do you let go of control? How do you learn to surrender fully? The Word says, in numerous places, that God is trustworthy… so why do I still hesitate when there is not safety net – that I know about? Will I one day be able to trust fall into the arms of the one who created the universe, the one with nail scarred hands and arms wide open?

Help me oh Heavenly Father, to know true peace in full surrender.

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