On a FaceBook group someone wrote the following:
"Ultimately, every spiritual valley
brings me to the same choice:
I must decide between trusting God more,
or trusting Him less.
There is no third option."
It prompted me to share my experience as follows:
What does "trusting God" look like in action or attitude, Kim? I ask because I don't know. In the past I have done what I would call "trusting in God", and it looked different every time. For instance, there was a time when I had just got into my chosen profession. It had taken years to get into the video game industry. Jobs were VERY scarce and the number of applicants for every position was huge. I had a new baby, and was struggling financially from schooling. After 6 months the studio I had just landed a job at got closed down by the parent company, Sierra. (They made a bunch of adventure games back in the day.) Well they offered us jobs at Sierra so we wouldn't have to lose our jobs. Great news! But then I found out the only project they were staffing was called Gabriel Knight 3, which was an adventure detective game about a guy who finds out Jesus had secret bastard children and there were vampire angels, and a bunch of stuff like the DaVinci Code. (but this was before that was written)
So I had what would normally be a very difficult decision. Either keep my job, but work on a project that compromised my values and beliefs, or quit and get a job not in my chosen profession that I'd just paid tens of thousands of dollars to get educated in. I expressed my concerns and actually got a call from the VP of Sierra. He told me "Look, I'm a Christian too. But I can tell the difference between fantasy and reality. If you refuse to do this project, what's to say you won't have a problem with the next one?" Well, besides the insult implying that I can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality, he was right about the problem I would present to the company.
At that point I had the firm conviction that I needed to sacrifice my dreams to stay true to God. So I quit. My family had to move into my parent's attic while I sent portfolios all over the country. After several months it became obvious that no one was going to hire a jr. artist. So we moved from Seattle to Tulsa to live with my wife's grandparents where I could get a job at a lumber yard. Turns out I found a place that produced software tutorials and I got a job there writing tutorials for Photoshop. Not my dream at all, but way better than a lumber yard.
A couple months later I got a call from a company in Ann Arbor, MI, and got a job in the game industry again. Not only that, but the salary I requested they laughed at, and insisted I get paid MORE than that. Within two years I was an Art Lead making double my salary at Sierra.
The reason I share this story is because it's an EASY example of "trusting God". Very black and white. Thus it was EASY for me to make that choice. And you know what? It made me fairly cocky. Like I was God's chosen one. I did the right thing and got the reward. Wooo!
Now fast forward 7 years. My youth-group-sweetheart-married-at-18-wife is literally a crack addict. We now have two sons. My company was bought by another one, which then closed us down. My wife stole my severance package and spent it on drugs. What I had left I spent on trying to win her back to our marriage and God. Didn't work. My whole life I had believed that if I did the right thing then God would reward that. Not necessarily financially. But in the IMPORTANT ways, like family. So I kept slamming my head into that wall. Kept praying and trying everything and anything to convince my wife to do the right thing. Besides, she made it very clear that if she got the divorce she wanted she would take the kids.
When you talk about spiritual valleys, well, this was the deepest one I had ever been in. And so my version of "trusting God" meant spending all my money, time and energy on becoming a doormat for this woman to abuse me and my children. All because I had the conviction that doing so would save her soul and our family.
It was only after I was told by my 5 year old after the boys had spent yet another night at the crack dealer's house, that they were playing with bullets and saw naked pictures that I realized that whatever "trusting God" meant, I HAD to take action and end the marriage and save my kids. Was I "trusting God" at that time? I don't know.
What I do know are the results for me and my boys. I was convinced at the time that was essentially cursing my future by filing for a divorce. That God would withhold His blessings from me since I violated my vow that I made before Him. I figured I could never let myself love another woman. I couldn't even think about romance for the rest of my life. (A really fun idea at age 29!)
But I ended up with full custody of my kids. Found love again and have been extremely happily married to her for 7 years this month.
So my point is this. At one point in my life I felt like I was "trusting God." The result was pride and rigidity in my approach to life. At another point I thought I was NOT "trusting God", and I could point to Bible verses that say I was not "trusting God". Yet from THAT experience I grew, I was humbled, I matured, I became closer to God then ever.