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Learning to Trust

Posted by Deborah Woo on


I’ve never been very good at trust falls. You know, that team building exercise where you’re supposed to fall backwards into the arms of a partner or a group as a sign that you trust people to have your back?

Yeah, I always catch myself.

It’s not because I don’t trust people to catch me. Or even that I’m scared of falling. I think I’m just naturally so clumsy that my body is used to catching me when I fall, and I can’t quite seem to override this when I want to.

Sometimes trying to trust God feels very similar.

When faced with a challenge, I might say something like, “Okay, God, I am trusting you to work this out.” I don’t mean it as lip service. I genuinely want to trust God.

But my natural tendency is to strategize, problem solve, and contingency plan.

Just like my body is so used to catching me when I trip, my brain’s natural response is to find solutions. But when I kick into problem-solving mode, there’s little room for God to work.

In that mode, when I say, “I trust you, God,” I really mean that I hope God will work out a solution that is in line with my thinking and makes things easy for me. I trust he is going to make all the pieces of my plan fall into place against the odds.

But I think really trusting God would be surrendering the problem in the first place. It would involve admitting there is something I am hoping for and clinging to, and being willing to let that go. It would be looking to see what God might be teaching me or what opportunity for growth he has for me in the midst of struggle. 

When I first heard Lauren Daigle’s “Trust in You” on the radio, I thought it was a bright, cheery reminder to trust in our big, timeless, all-knowing God. But then I really listened to the words of the chorus:

When you don’t move the mountains, I’m needing you to move

When you don’t part the waters, I wish I could walk through

When you don’t give the answers as I cry out to you

I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you 

Trusting in a God who has been faithful before, and believing that he will be faithful again can be challenging. Trusting in a God who seems silent or unmoving when you are in the depths of pain or confusion can feel impossible. But that is the reminder that I hear in this song.

The ways that God shows up may not always be what I want. I may not always understand what God is doing. But I should trust him just the same.

Perhaps trusting God is less like a trust fall and more like embracing free fall. God doesn’t just want me to bring him the worries, big and small, of each day, but he wants to give me a heart free from worry. Learning to trust him is an invitation to let go of my need for control and embrace the freedom in surrender.


Deborah Woo has been attending The River since 2014. She is a Bay Area native who grew up attending First Covenant Church Oakland, and has a bachelors in psychology from Azusa Pacific University. Deborah moved to San Jose to work for the nonprofit City Year, where she spent six years providing interventions and after-school programming for students in East San Jose, and professional development for AmeriCorps volunteers. She is working on an organizational leadership masters degree through Northeastern University online and joined The River staff team as children's ministry assistant in fall 2016. She finds great joy in seeing the world and faith through the eyes of the youngest members of our wonderful community. 


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