Overcoming Your Trust Issues So You Can Truly Trust God

Trusting God in difficult times requires strong faith and perseverance.

Do you struggle to trust other people? Do you characterize yourself as a person who has trust issues or somebody who can only rely on themselves? Well, if any of that is true, then I bet you also struggle with trusting God. 

A sweet member of our community asked me recently how she could learn to trust God when she has trust issues that cause her to rely only on herself. I’m going to answer that today. For a long time in my life, I would have described myself as a person who didn’t trust anybody. 

I would tell people flat out that I didn’t trust people and don’t expect me to open up, be vulnerable, and be honest with you because people always let me down. That’s what I had come to expect. It took me a long time to realize this, but my distrust of people translated into a distrust of God. 

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I didn’t fully trust God because I didn’t trust people. That lack of trust caused me to feel alone, overwhelmed, isolated, frustrated, angry, disappointed, and hurt all the time. And the truth is I didn’t need to be. Today I want to talk a little bit about this belief that you can only rely on yourself. 

What You Believe

First I thought it might be helpful to be clear on some definitions. When we’re talking about trust, the dictionary says it is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. When it comes to not trusting God or other people, what you’re saying is that you don’t have faith in them

You don’t believe that God is capable or that he can take care of you, provide for you, and be with you and help you through whatever it’s that you’re walking through in life. It really becomes a question of your faith and your confidence and your belief in who God is and what he can do. 

Let’s address this thought that says, “I can only rely on myself. I can’t trust anybody else.” Listen, that’s a lie. This belief that the only trustworthy person on the planet, the only person that you can depend on, the only person that you can rely on is yourself.  

It is all about control. You believe that you are the person for every job, for every situation when it comes to your life because you think that if you control everything, if you’re the one making the decisions, if you’re the one making the choices, if you’re the one driving the bus, then you don’t have to be surprised by the outcome. 

Hear me in love: that never works, not ever, not once. It’s not happening. There is no time in scripture where you see a human being rely on themselves and it works out well.  Abraham didn’t do it. Jonah didn’t do it. David couldn’t do it, and none of the disciples could do it, not a single one. 

They regularly made situations worse by trying to act in their own strength and their own power. And the same thing happens to you. You may think that you are doing the right thing. You may think that you’ve got it all under control, but the truth is that you can’t. 

Especially when you are walking through hard times. Those hard times are not meant for you to grin and bear it and pull yourself up by your bootstraps and just power your way through. They’re meant to remind you that you are fully dependent upon an almighty and an all-powerful God. You should not be able to control it all and do it all by yourself. 

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Why You Believe This

Where does this belief come from? Why do you have this false narrative in your brain that says, you can only rely on yourself, you can’t trust anybody else, and you also cannot trust God? It comes from your past experiences. 

Something that I tell my clients all the time is that your experiences affect your thoughts. You’ll have an experience, you’ll have a thought about it, and that leads you to feel some kind of an emotion. And then that will dictate your actions. 

If I walk into my room and see something black and fuzzy on the floor, that’s my experience. I think it’s a spider, and then the emotion attached is going to be, me completely freaking out. I’m going to jump up and down and scream and yell and call for one of my boys to come and kill the spider. 

But that’s not the only way that it could go. I could walk into my room, see the black furry thing on the floor, and remember that my kids were doing arts and crafts. They left a pompom on the floor. My emotions calm. Then I’ll pick it up and put it away. 

Your experiences are going to influence your thoughts. Your thoughts influence your emotions, and your emotions often will dictate the actions that you take. When you’re walking through life here on this fallen sinful planet we call Earth, you experience hurtful things. You are disappointed in people. 

You have situations that don’t make sense, that don’t turn out the way you want to. Instead of having a proper perspective on those things, and having the right mindset about those experiences, you allow those experiences to feed this thought that nobody else can be trusted. 

You believe if you were the one making the decisions, the one in control of what was going on, that it wouldn’t have happened. Therefore you tell yourself that you can only rely on yourself. Then you try to do all the things. Well, guess what? You’re human too. 

You are not going to get everything perfect. You’re going to make poor choices. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to go the wrong way. It’s just part of life and it’s just what happens. This idea that if you can control everything, it’ll be fine doesn’t work out. 

It just makes you more frustrated, more overwhelmed, more weary, and you really can’t get anywhere until you get it right. Often when somebody lets you down, if you’re depending on another person, a friend or a family member, or your spouse or your partner or whoever that is, you take that experience and pain and those negative thoughts and project that onto God.

Well, my father walked out on me when I was five, and God is supposed to be my father, therefore, God is like my earthly father. God can’t be trusted, right? My friend promised that she was always going to be there for me and she would never leave me hanging, but she just abandoned me when I needed her the most. 

God says that he’s never going to leave me or abandon me but I don’t know. That’s not been my experience. People always leave and abandon me. Therefore, God’s going to do the same thing. We tell ourselves stories over and over again that have nothing to do with God. It’s because somebody in your life caused you pain and you project that onto God, which is something that you shouldn’t do. 

Understanding God’s Sovereignty

The other thing that I have seen and experienced in my own life is not having a good grip on God’s sovereignty. God won’t do what you want him to when you want, and how you want him to do it. If you are praying, Lord, I have this need, and I need you to do ABC and then it’ll be just fine and he doesn’t do that you believe a lie.

You decide that if God actually cared about you and loved you, he would’ve given you what you asked for but he didn’t. Therefore, he cannot be trusted. Guess what? You’re all the way back to the first thing that I said. That whole thing is about control, you wanting to dictate to God how he’s going to do what he does. 

You can’t do that. God is always a sovereign and he does or does not do whatever he wants in his perfect will because he knows what’s best for you. He knows the whole plan. When you feel this strong sense of “I can’t trust anybody” I want you to stop and think why. Where is that thought coming from? 

Sit with it and get a journal and a pen and write it all down. Write down what you’re really thinking and feeling. If you can get to the root of that, there’s some hurt, some disappointment, something in your past that is influencing your thoughts in the present. 

You can’t always control your experiences and what happens to you, but you can choose your thoughts. You can take your thoughts captive and renew your mind. You have control over that. You have power over what you think and the way that you think about certain things that happen to you. 

You can also have control and influence over your emotions, but that starts with having the right thoughts. Start to ask yourself why you feel you can’t trust God. What has God done that means that you can’t trust him? What has your experience been that’s led you to feel like you could only rely on yourself?

Think about how relying on yourself has gone in the past. Did it work out great, not so good, or more the same thing? The solution here is getting to the truth. Trust is really about faith and confidence, and this is found in the truth. 

Final Thoughts on Trusting God in Difficult Times

When you go to the word of God you’ll get to know God, the real God of the bible, as he reveals himself in scripture. Don’t allow your present circumstances or your past experiences to cloud your view of God. If you’re looking at God through your pain, through your experience, it’s often going to be faulty, distorted, and wrong. 

You need to look at God, at yourself, and your situations through the lens of scripture. When you read the bible and it says that God is faithful, he’s faithful. Even if he didn’t do what you asked him to do, he’s faithful. If he’s faithful, that means that he’s going to come through for you. 

He’s going to answer your prayers, he’s going to keep providing for you. He’s going to lead you and guide you to what you need to do. Learn to stand on those truths. If you are like the sweet sister in our community and you are struggling with feeling like you have big trust issues I have some final words of encouragement.

Seek out some help and support on how to deal with it because those trust issues often come from wounds and hurt in your past. Sometimes you need to get somebody to help you dig that stuff up and get some healing from those past things so that we can move forward whole, healed, and in a healthy way. 

Take some time to be in the word and find out who God is. Who does he say he is in scripture? What is his character? What are his promises? What will he do? What won’t he do? The more firmly that you are grounded in the truth of scripture, the easier it becomes to trust God. It’s really hard to trust somebody that you don’t know. The best way that we have of getting to know God is by spending time with him in his word. 

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