July 31, 2008 by



Categories: faith, Meanderings (look it up)

A few years ago, when my religion was failing me, a lot of that season was actually about un-learning and re-learning the concept of faith.

Being raised with a charismatic, Word-of-Faith background, my whole picture of faith was to take Scripture that applied to my case, pray, confess the word, and believe with all my heart that what I wanted to happen, would happen. Despite all claims to the contrary–to me, it was a formula I worked. And if it didn’t work, I must have done something wrong.

But when I went through that time when nothing I was doing was working, when God refused to jump through my hoops, and I exhausted myself trying to get a breakthrough…something shifted with regard to my faith, and I realized how incomplete my picture of faith had been.

When you are exhausted and have no more strength–if you are standing up–what do you generally do to keep from falling headlong? You find something to lean on.

And that’s just what I did. With no strength left, my soul began to lean on Jesus, literally for its survival. My long prayers of confession and declaration were reduced to, “God, I lean on You to get me through this day.” There was this knowing that we would make it–or not–by the hand of the Lord, and by nothing else. There was nothing else.

And every day that I leaned on the Lord like that, I made it through that day better than before. Regardless of whether things looked better or worse…slowly but surely, my peace stopped being dependent on circumstances. And slowly but surely, things began to change for the better.

And that’s when I began to live in the truth about faith. Faith isn’t simply about believing; faith is about leaning. Faith is about trust.

After that time, God brought us into a season of much-needed rest, and it has been precious to us. That lasted until about the first of this year, and then we felt a shift, a change. I can feel the stirring of the waters, a strong sense of transition. I don’t know what it’s going to look like, but the in-between is not a comfortable place. It’s like so much that seemed so certain seems uncertain now, and it’s hard to know where to put your footing.

So I’m leaning.

I think it’s important that we take the lessons learned from previous seasons into the new ones. Even though I’ve had a chance to breathe, I don’t want to forget what brought me into that rest in the first place. So every time I feel uncertain, uneasy, or fearful, or want to “work the problem” on my own…I am trying again to purposefully lean upon the Lord. And just like before…every time I do that, I see His hand at work on my behalf.

Hm…seems like God is teaching me a thing or two. 🙂

Musician. Composer. Recovering perfectionist. Minister-in-transition. Lover of puns. Hijacker of rock song references. Questioner of the status quo. I'm not really a rebel. Just a sincere Christ-follower with a thirst for significance that gets me into trouble. My quest has taken me over the fence of institutional Christianity. Here are some of my random thoughts along the way. Read along, join in the conversation. Just be nice.

10 Responses to Leaning

  1. Kansas Bob

    This is a very good post Jeff. I particularly loved this:

    “my peace stopped being dependent on circumstances”

    Having been in the WoF movement years ago I can relate to the pressure that is foisted on “believers” to believe for their peace.. among other things 🙂

    I too am in a transition. I resonate with your sentiments about leaning.. something we need to engage our hearts about.. I often tell people to lean into their hearts.. maybe I need to take my own advice 🙂

  2. Larry Eiss

    I’m right there with you, Brother. Thank you for posting this open and vulnerable statement. My own past has been very similar to yours, and I had been forgetting to lean. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and LEAN not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths (or make your paths straight–same thing).”

    Thanks again, Sir.

  3. SteveS

    Faith = Trusting God
    I discovered last year that one of the Hebrew words translated “faith” in the Old Testament was also used when talking about putting your child into someone else’s care – entrusting a nanny with your child – or (talk about “leaning on”) when talking about how pillars hold up a roof – entrusting the pillars to support the roof. Greek unfortunately doesn’t have these shades of meaning.

    That’s what the book of James is all about – if you really trust God, it will affect what you do. Salvation is by trusting God; but that level of trust will change your behavior.

  4. Alan Knox

    Your post reminds me of Proverbs 3:5-6 which has become very important for me recently: “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding…” The question God keeps asking me is this: Can you trust God more than you lean on your understanding of God? It has been a difficult question for me to answer, but it has also been very rewarding and, I think, maturing.

    Also… I can’t help but hum the old hymn, “Leaning… leaning… leaning on the everlasting arms…”


  5. co_heir

    A couple of years ago, God took us through some tough times and taught me not to have faith in “what God would do”, but to have faith in him, period. My prayer has gone from “Lord, I believe that you are going to do _________”, to “Father, you lead, and help me to follow.”

  6. tysdaddy

    I’m a recovering pentecostal as well. It’s amazing what happens when we stop trying to work the program and rest in the mystery . . .

  7. Jeff McQ

    Good to hear from you. I pray that in your transition you find peace and great joy as you "lean".

    Larry & Alan,
    Interesting that both you added the same Scripture to the mix. Thanks for the encouragement and for chiming in.

    Thanks for bringing that Hebrew meaning to the conversation. What a great picture!

    Yeah, bouy. That's what I'm talkin' 'bout. 🙂

    Thanks for coming by, for the encouragment, and for the link love! 🙂

    Yes, the mystery of God is something I am embracing (and loving) more and more.

  8. Sarah

    Wow! Great post and some pretty great comments too! I concur, and this is a good reminder for me right now. I think for me, I’m learning to have faith IN God (that He is good, and a future with Him will be good), even when I don’t know what He’s going to do, or where He’s going to lead.

    Aaaah! I (and my family) are in such an inbetween time and can’t see what’s coming. Exciting and scary – and the perfect time to practice resting in His goodness. 🙂

  9. WaynO

    I like what you said and what the comments say. I did notice many spoke about not knowing where God is leading them.
    I compared walking with God to moving around a curve in the road. You can see behind but not too far and you can see ahead but not to far. The whole key is that you continue to see what is around the bend. We trust in the road and the vehicle enough to continue and we need to do the same with God.
    Trust he has the road ahead for us. WaynO

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