To wait, to trust, to love, to be vulnerable

(Note: To my non-Christian friends/readers – the following does contain Christian views, but it’s my blog and my thoughts and God’s a part of my life so they’re staying!)

She stood outside the shop, just tall enough to peer in through the window and look at the toys on display.  It was the doll which first caught her eyes – the dress was the perfect shade of blue and the hair hung loosely around the doll’s face, just waiting to be brushed.  And as she looked through the window, eyes wide with anticipation, another little boy and girl walked into the shop and carried the doll away.  It was the first of many heartbreaks.

“But Dad… I wanted that one.  The one with the pink bow in her hair.  And I want it NOW”

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like that little girl.  I see things in my life which I want and rather than be content to wait until the time is right, the impatient three-year-old inside me taps her foot, and shouts at God with tears in her eyes “I’m tired of waiting, I want it NOW”.  But I’m coming to learn that His timing is not the same as mine, and even if I want something right away, I’m not always ready for it.  And sometimes, I need to take a step back, stop fretting about things I can’t control – and simply trust Him.

Trust.  It’s a strange thing.

It’s a word which has been on my mind lately.  A word that, in Christian circles, seems to be thrown around a lot.  We often talk about how important it is to trust God and trust other people in our lives – but where do we draw the line between “trusting and waiting on God” and being proactive? How can we truly rely on Him without simply sitting on the sidelines and watching our lives pass by?  I know there is a balance there somewhere, but sometimes it is difficult to find.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll know what it’s like to have trust broken.  You’ll know the pain that goes hand-in-hand with having someone who you trust and care about, turn around and (often unintentionally) slap you in the face.  I guess we’re all human and we all mess up and hurt other people sometimes.  And with this risk of being hurt, is it really any surprise that sometimes I hesitate and feel like locking my heart away in a safe place – because what if I trust or love too much? I don’t want to get my hopes up only to have them destroyed.  I don’t want someone to let me down.  I don’t want to be hurt.  And I don’t want to hurt anyone else…

beachheartBut what would this world be like if people refused to love or trust for fear of being hurt?

Part of loving others (and loving God) is being vulnerable.  As a friend reminded me, it’s not about trusting that you will never be hurt, because the reality is that people will let us down.  That’s just life.  Instead, it’s about trusting that God will help you get through the broken heart, bruised ego, or disappointment.  It’s about being willing to love others, trust others, forgive others, apologise, embrace opportunities, enjoy life, be active, embrace waiting, have hopes, follow dreams – knowing that things may not always work out – but recognising that there is much to gain by living a life of love.

For to borrow the words of CS Lewis (and the quote shared to me by a friend):

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

And if you’re interested in reading a comic based on the above quote, you can find a rather cute one here.  Picture is not mine – it can be found here.

~ Elizabeth

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