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"5 ways to grow your trust in God" by Danielle Bean (CatholicMom.com) Pixabay (2016), CC0 Public Domain[/caption] Do you struggle with trusting God? I think it’s easy to say we trust God when everything is going well, but when life gets challenging or uncertain, trusting in God can be one of the hardest things to do. I can clearly recall once, when praying for a friend’s newborn baby who was very sick, I had a lot of trouble praying the words “Thy will be done” and truly meaning them. I mean, what if God’s will wasn’t my will? It’s during trying times that many of us come face to face with the ugly truth that while we have been praying those words “Thy will be done,” what we have actually been meaning is “Thy will be done … as long as it’s my will too.” C.S. Lewis once said, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” When I first read that quote, I laughed out loud because it so accurately describes my state of mind sometimes. Sometimes, I hesitate to pray and fully trust in God because ... what might he do? So, if like me, there is room for improvement in your trust department, let’s talk about some ideas that can help us grow in trusting God. 1. Pray for greater trust. Ask and you shall receive! If you struggle to trust in God’s goodness, if fear and anxiety get in your way, ask God for the grace to trust in him more. Make it a habit to pray a simple prayer every day: “Jesus, I want to trust in you. Help me to trust in you.” 2. Fake it till you make it! If you are feeling hesitant to trust in God, give yourself the reminder of God’s goodness and our call to trust in him by repeating a prayer of trust. A simple one that I like to say whenever I feel tempted toward worry (4:00 am, anyone?) is “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in you.” However small your feeling of trust, place it in Jesus. You can even visualize yourself physically handing over a particular worry or a burden to Jesus as you repeat the words and let them grow in your heart: “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in you.” 3. Go through Mary. Who better to turn to in our moments of worry than our good mom in heaven? Mary loves us and wants nothing more than to lead us closer to God, so when you struggle to trust in God, ask her to pray for you to grow in trust. Ask her to help you open your heart to receive the graces God wants to give you. Pour out your worries to Mary through prayer (The Memorare is a good place to start) and let her be the strength you need. 4. Read God’s word and stories of the Gospel. The Gospel stories are the Good News of God’s goodness, mercy, and love. If you are struggling to trust in God, spend some time reading the Bible stories of Jesus’ life. Find out about the people he helped, healed, and forgave during his time on earth. Read the words of reassurance and love he spoke as he taught needy, broken people. Let his words speak into your heart. 5. Remember past worries & how they worked out. We are such fickle creatures! How many times have you prayed for some blessing, received that blessing, thanked God, and then moved on with your life forgetting about the whole thing and failing to trust in God the next time something challenged you? I know I have done this. More times than I care to admit. This is where it can be helpful to have a prayer journal. With a journal, you can look back and recall all the times that God has taken care of you and provided for your needs, sometimes in unexpected ways, throughout your lifetime. If you don’t have a journal, though, you can still spend some time thinking about your past struggles, your anxiety-filled prayers at the time, and the ways in which God has worked out all things for your ultimate good. A good reminder that our lack of trust is an offense to God who takes such good care of us. These are just a few ideas that help me in my struggle to trust in God more. But I would love to learn from you!

What prayers or practices help you to grow your trust in God?

Copyright 2018 Danielle Bean