“From the fear of what love demands, deliver me Jesus.”
Have you ever prayed the Litany of Trust? I just discovered this prayer maybe a month ago, and it is so moving. Every time I pray it, some lines just really jump out at me and mean so much in my life at that moment.
This is a prayer that we may be open to trusting God with every aspect of our lives. The more I’ve prayed it, the more I’ve realized that it is also a prayer teaching me how to love other people.
Trusting God with my life is one thing, but what I’ve really been struggling with is trusting God with my friends’ lives.
This semester, I’ve found myself with a really solid group of friends. They call me on to holiness, even when they don’t realize it. I see how my friends selflessly give of themselves for others while at the same time striving to be the best person they can be.
When I’m stressed, my friends are there supporting me. And because of their examples, when something is wrong in their lives, I want to return the favor.
See, I like to fix things. If I see my friends having a problem, I want to go and fight their battles for them. I want to solve all their problems. I want to make things turn out the way I see best. I guess what I want is to play God and write our life stories the way I want them to turn out.
And this is where “From the fear of what love demands” comes in.
I’ve spent all semester trying to figure out what love is, and through discussion with and example from friends, I’ve settled on a working definition. Love is doing what’s best for the other person, even if it is not what you want.
In my life, this mostly plays out in me stepping back. When a friend wants to spend time with someone else, I need to step back and give her space. When a friend joins a household, even though I don’t want to miss out on spending time with her, I see that it will help her grow and I need to support her. When some of my friends head off to Austria next semester, as much as I’ll miss them, I need to encourage them because I know what a fulfilling experience it will be for them.
Basically, I’m learning this semester that loving people means wanting the best for them, even if that doesn’t involve me. I am learning, as I pray in the Litany of Trust, “That your plan is better than anything else.”
Now, just to be clear, I’m not saying this from up on a mountaintop. “Guys, I did it. I succeeded in trusting God. You should try it some time.” No, I’m saying this from the valley. I’m saying this from the bottom of the hill leading up to the university, already out of breath at the sight of it.
I’m still trying to trust God; I’m learning to let go and trust him in my life and the lives of my friends. I’m just sharing where I am on my journey in hopes that someone out there will read this and relate and know that he or she is not alone, or perhaps read this and decide to embark on this journey with me of learning how to trust God.
This is a long climb, and I often backtrack, but I’m also lucky to have such a strong support group here, leading by example and sharing in my struggles. And as much as I’ll miss them over break, they’re also helping me to grow because they’re helping me to let go of reliance on them.
The thing is, my friends help me to grow because of the goodness within them, and even though I’ll have to be separated from them now, I’m not separated from the root of their goodness: God himself, who is always with me. He is “continually holding me, sustaining me, loving me.”
I encourage you, if you at all are like me and struggle to trust God, to try praying this Litany of Trust. Try it, but be warned. It strikes deep, and if you allow yourself to really mean the words you pray, you’ll probably be transformed.
So for me, my journey of trust is far from being complete. Especially as we wrap up finals and leave campus for break, I will continue to try to trust God.
“That you will teach me to trust you, Jesus I trust in you.”