Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Safety Nets

Several of my children have begged for a trampoline for such a long time.  Well, this summer we finally caved and bought one; we got a great deal!  But the one stipulation for me was that it absolutely had to have a safety net.  I know trampolines aren't the safest place for my children, but the safety net makes me feel just a bit better.  And if I'm honest, that's exactly how I feel in my life as well:  safety nets make me feel better.


Can you relate?  Life isn't safe.  It's never going to be.  In fact, a safe life is not something God ever promised us.  Yet we want that safety more than almost anything else, don't we?  We want to know that at the end of the day, everything is going to be okay.  That we won't fall and get hurt.  That our children and loved ones won't experience great pain.  But we know better. And still, we put such effort into constructing safety nets around our lives.  

This week at my women's group, we discussed the idea of complete surrender to God.  We expressed a common fear of letting go and surrendering complete control.  We honestly shared--as wives, mamas, and friends--that completely surrendering control of our lives was scary.  It didn't come naturally to a single one of us.  And yet the irony is that we were all aware we were not ultimately in control.

So what do we do?  We put up those safety nets.  We make a perfect plan (or so we think) and we aim to stick to it.  We know what's best for us, right?!  We make rules too:  don't lean on or put pressure on the net.  We don't want it to tear or be compromised in any way.  How funny is that?!  We know the net is not completely reliable.  We know it's imperfect.  I wonder why we put so much trust in what we know we can't fully trust when there's a perfect one we can trust?  There's one whose ways are perfect even when they are not our ways...even when we cannot understand them.

I am guilty of living this way.  I am not always quick to trust that God has a better plan than I do.  Especially when I do not understand or comprehend the why of what He is doing!  So often, in His gentleness, God has reminded me that He has a perfect purpose and plan and that it may be revealed to me in time.  He has gently reminded me to trust Him.  At other times, He has actually allowed me to fall right through that safety net and onto my face.  And while it may be incredibly painful...and my self-esteem may be bruised, He has allowed me to see that there is no safety net I can construct that can protect me.  He alone is my safety and shield.  

I haven't arrived at this conclusion perfectly, fully, or completely.  I know it.  But I don't always remember it.  And sometimes in the midst of my day-to-day, God finds me busy constructing another safety net.  For me, it usually gets constructed in an area where I don't have a clear path or the answers I think I need or deserve.  When I feel that perhaps God has forgotten about a particular area, I go to work.  I make a plan.  But my plans are far from perfect and a fault is revealed in time.  Playing it safe is rarely the path that God has chosen for me.  If it was, I wouldn't need to trust Him.  I don't want to live as if I don't trust the only one who is trustworthy.  

I want to feel free to live and jump knowing that the only one who's a safe shield for me is calling me to trust Him without fear and without hesitation.  He calls me to have faith in what I cannot see.

I don't want to trust in what my finite mind can comprehend.  I want to trust in the one who knows the end from the beginning.*  As for my children?  Well, they will still jump on the trampoline with a safety net intact.  (And yes, I know there is still risk involved).  But I hope to help them understand that God is our only safe shield.  His word and his hope are where we can securely put our trust.*

*Isaiah 46:10; Psalm 119:114