On my best days, its hard for me to believe that God is really good. I admit it – it’s hard to trust God in difficult times. Its like I’m stuck between believing what the Bible says – that God is good – and feeling what circumstances in my life tell me – that He isn’t. Sometimes, it even seems that God is good – to other people and just not to me. I see Him bless others. I see Him provide healing for others. I see Him work on behalf of others. And I wonder, “Why not me, God? Why won’t you do for me?”
As a Designer, I ask my clients to trust me…a lot. On their best days, its hard for them to believe that I am really a good Designer. It’s like their stuck between believing what my design board shows them and feeling terrified that I’ve just ripped out half their home. Sometimes, it even seems to my clients that I’m not working on their behalf, that I’m working on other people’s homes more than theirs. They see me designing and they want my attention on their project too.
You see, just like I plan and oversee a home design for my client so God plans and oversees our life’s design. So, how do we trust God has what’s best for us in mind? How do we trust God when it feels like He’s ripping out all the walls of our life and all we feel is pain?
How to Trust God in Difficult Times
Take a Look at His Portfolio
When clients come to me and want to work with me, its because of two things – they’ve heard I’m a good Designer and they’ve looked at my portfolio. They’ve heard that I’m good and they’ve verified it with proof.
God’s portfolio is displayed all throughout the Bible. We don’t have to go looking for proof, it’s right there for us to find. The pages of the Bible are filled with stories of God’s faithfulness, forgiveness, grace, mercy, love and so much more. When all we’re seeing around us is pain, when circumstances are causing the walls of our hearts to cave in, when we hear that their may be a Savior, a Designer who wants to reimagine us into a thing of beauty, we go and look at His Portfolio. We see His track record. We see what He’s done for others and we believe that He can and will do the same for us.
When you’re lacking faith to trust God in difficult times, when you’re doubting God’s goodness, go look at the stories of the Bible. Find God’s faithfulness and trust that He will be faithful in your life too.
Communication is a HUGE part of my working relationship with clients. Unlike HGTV might have you believe, I don’t go away, concoct a design, and implement it without any input from my client. Rather, its a constant back and forth as the design evolves. If they don’t hear from me, they start to doubt and worry. If I don’t hear from them, I can’t move forward with my design plan.
It’s the same way with God. You have to communicate about His plan. Communication builds trust. Communication establishes a bond. Communication aligns you both toward a common goal. We have to talk to God. We have to get to know Him. We have to read His Word and get to know His ways.
When you’re doubting or worrying because you haven’t heard from God or you don’t understand His ways, talk to Him, read His Word, pray, and listen. You’re building trust and a relationship.
Wait in the Silence
There’s a point in almost every design project where there is silence. I’m busy refining the design so I can’t respond to a client’s inquiry. Or maybe my client is waiting to hear their spouse’s opinion on selections before responding to me.
The reality is that just because you aren’t seeing God move or hearing from Him, doesn’t mean that He’s not working. In the silence it’s easy for doubt, fear, and worry to creep in because you aren’t in control. Keep your eyes fixed on your Master Designer. Think about it this way – when you are having a self-portrait painted, you keep your eyes on the artist. You can’t see the canvas, but you trust that he is painting a beautiful masterpiece.
When its silent and you’re struggling to trust God in difficult times, look at Him and trust that He is painting a beautiful masterpiece.
Try to see the Whole Design, not just One Piece
My clients often times tend to hyper focus on one piece or each individual piece rather than viewing them together as one design. This is the point of the design project where I have to remind them to zoom out, to change their perspective. I have to remind them that although this one piece may seem not to fit, but when you look at the overall design you see why and how it fits in the design.
Sometimes we don’t get to see God’s whole design. Sometimes we want a 3-dimensional rendering that shows what our exact life will look like. But in reality, all we get is a vague concept. This is where we have to zoom out. We have to change our perspective. We have to remember that there is a larger picture. And even though we weren’t planning for this particular piece that God is giving us, we have to trust that He sees the whole picture.
When a piece of your life doesn’t seem to fit, when it feels like God is making a mistake, trust that He sees the Whole Design. Trust God even in difficult times.
Embrace Fear and Uncertainty
Fear is a common part of design. I work with clients sometimes who struggle to make a decision and ultimately abandon their project because they aren’t ready for real change. They can’t handle the fear and uncertainty that comes with design. Being an Interior Designer also means sometimes being a coach/therapist/support system for your client. It’s stressful when demolition starts and the unknown is brought to light. It’s hard to sit in the messy, complicated, and wonder how, when, and if it will all be made right. But the truth is that demolition has to happen for new construction to start.
Demolition is God’s process of breaking us down so He can build us back up to be more like Him. He’s not causing pain in our lives just for pain’s sake. He’s redesigning and re-imagining our Interiors into something more beautiful.
When you’re in a stage of demolition that seems like it won’t end, keep your eyes on two things – God’s portfolio and His Design plan. This is where trust grows. You see evidence in God’s portfolio that He is good – so you trust that He is good. You see His Design plan and you know He wants to create something beautiful – so you trust that He is good. Even though the walls are crumbling around you and the floor is giving out under you, you can trust that He is good.
Take a Picture and add it to God’s Portfolio
When I finish a design, I always take a picture. I want evidence that something was transformed. I want to sit and compare the before and after. I want to enjoy the result of my work. And I want to add it to my portfolio to show other people.
When God finishes re-designing a piece of your heart or life, take a picture. Enjoy the after, enjoy the peace. But prepare for God’s next project too. You’ll need a reminder when demolition starts again in another area of your life. You’ll need to go back to God’s portfolio. And this time you’ll be armed with one more story of God’s faithfulness.
Let’s not be shy to share God’s portfolio with one another. We all need to hear stories of God’s faithfulness while we’re going through a little design, demolition, and reconstruction. What story can you share of God’s faithfulness lately? Leave a comment below to encourage someone else!