About a month ago, I finally admitted to myself, my husband, and to God that I just don’t know how to trust. Not myself, nor other people, and sometimes, not God.
This epiphany came from a headfirst dive into the work of Aundi Kolber in Try Softer, a book about doing the opposite of what my mind tells me I must do. My mind pushes me: Do more. Work harder. Be everything to everyone. Be strong. Be soft. Be positive, not heavy. Be wary, but love well too. Think it through, but don’t overthink it.
All the lies I’d heard whispered to my soul shaped a woman who was too scared to move in any direction, who questioned every decision, and who even questioned her own sanity at times. But with this book, I began to unwind the tangled yarns of my broken and weary inner world. My mind, my heart, my soul—every piece of me needed mending.
But I still filled my life with busyness. My first two months of freelance work were so full that they resembled a full-time job. Because of my migraines, I was supposed to be pulling back, not charging forward. Yet, because it’s my tragic flaw, I picked up my pen and yelled “Charge!” as I accepted too many offers and sent out unnecessary more. I was afraid if I didn’t build the momentum constantly, it wouldn’t be enough to carry me long-term.
Every week that went by without some kind of positive growth, my heart beat its battle drum, running forward with no sure plan, only the absolute terror of being overcome—overrun—if I didn’t do something; if I didn’t act now. Then came mid-July and August. Some projects got pushed back, others just never came to fruition. Everything that goes up must come down, right? Well, my business went up, up, up—and then, silence. Crickets. I thought surely it was curtains for my short-lived freelance career.
But in these moments on the precipice of down, on the scramble to the foot of the mountain, I learned to breathe. And in that breath, I learned to trust what I heard: God’s calling, “Trust Me.” So, I slowed, as if my very breath needed to “try softer.” Instead of scrambling down, clawing for purchase anywhere I could get a handhold, this morning I realized I needed to take it slower. Softer.
With footfalls gently gracing the path down, I let my eyes wander around. And I begin to see beauty even here. Beauty in slow mornings and coffee stains on Bible pages. Beauty in starting a new journal because the old one is too full. Beauty in front porch swings sheltered from the rain as friends chat in hushed voices, as if in awe of the silence, the breath the Creator has given us. Beauty in the freedom to go slow, to learn new, to remember old, to curl up with worn out books and cozy blankets. Beauty in grieving loss and embracing restoration in so very many areas of my life.
Beauty in a heart stripped raw, cleared out to be built up again.
As the One who gave us heart and breath says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26 CSB). And I know that’s what He’s doing in me. He’s teaching me anew to breathe. Breathe in grace. Breathe in and wait for Him to move.
Beauty comes in the waiting, too. Now, as I breathe and try softer, I see what He’s been doing around and in me. He’s teaching me to trust, just like I asked Him to do the day I admitted my lack. Ultimately, He’s teaching me to trust Him for all, but He’s also teaching me to trust the people He’s given me, to trust His working through me rather than my own skill, and to trust that having room to grow isn’t a bad thing at all.
There is breath, there is beauty, in the valley too.
Here, the sun paints the grass with golden light. Everything is lush and thriving. Rivers run around and through. Wildflowers in luminous color crest the hills and dot the horizon. And I realize that I can thrive here too. I can thrive in healing that runs soul deep. I can thrive in resting and resetting. I can thrive in quenching my thirst as the living water rushes in to refresh years-long weariness and readies me for the building to come.
For more on Aundi Kolber and Try Softer, check out these links.