Trust God - Don't Lean On My Own Understanding
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
8It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.
Proverbs 3:5-8 was one of the passages God used to begin to show me how much I trusted in myself and my own ability to take care of myself. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” What does it mean to trust? Do I trust anyone or anything? I recognized that I did lean on my own understanding. If it failed me, I spent a great amount of mental energy trying to figure out what went wrong and how I could do it right the next time.
I put the question to the Lord. “How can I trust You Lord with my whole heart? What would it look like to not lean on my own understanding?” He then began to show me little areas where I didn’t trust Him to provide.
My family was fairly poor while I was growing up and we were always pinching pennies. When I became a mom I lived with the fear that we would not have enough money to provide even the basic needs for our family. My husband had a good job but I did everything I could to make the money stretch from paycheck to paycheck. I used coupons when I bought groceries and I rationalized when I cheated the system. I came into the store with a pile of coupons, bought a cartload of groceries and while checking out hoped the checker would be overwhelmed enough that she would not notice that I had extra coupons for things I had not bought. When she did and confronted me, I would lie and say, “Oh, I guess I forgot to pick that up.” Or I would feign surprise that I needed to have two of the items to get the dollar off.
As I began to spend time in Scripture looking at God’s character it highlighted His holiness and my lack of integrity. The Holy Spirit began to nudge me to confess this to the new group of ladies we were meeting with in the first Establishing God's Peace class. James 4:17 rang in my mind – do you want healing? Confess your sins to each other.
As I haltingly told the class that God was showing me that I was a thief and a liar and shared my abuse of the coupons, the class was really quiet. I remember feeling like I was standing naked in front of them, looking at their horrified faces. I even wondered how long it would be before the pastors would tell me I couldn’t teach anymore. (It was so ingrained in me that if you were a teacher you had to be above reproach, which meant you had to have it all together or at least keep it secret if you didn’t.)
After class, one by one, different ladies came up and whispered that she had done the same thing. Even one of the church leader’s wives confessed quietly that she had lied about not receiving something that she had accidentally thrown away, in order to have it sent to her again, without charge. Something happened that day. The humility opened me up to receive God’s grace. Once I began to taste the freedom to not have to pretend to be perfect, I knew I wanted to keep healing.
He gave me a new area each week and as I openly shared each thing the others in the class began to open up, not just to me privately but to the group. God began to use the honesty and gave us an openness with each other that I had never experienced before in a group. We began to discuss with each other the areas where we were not trusting God. We pondered together the truth about His trustworthiness.
Could I trust God to provide for my family? Did He need my help saving 25 cents here, a dollar there, even if it was gained dishonestly? I had rationalized in my mind that it wasn’t hurting anyone because the store would be reimbursed. And that now I would have more money to feed my kids or put into the church offering. God showed me that this was “leaning on my own understanding” and that I was not trusting Him to do what He loves to do – meet His children’s needs. Psalm 145:15-16 “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.”