One of the things that holds me back from fully surrendering to God is the question of trust. I grew up in a family where I was taught that God would meet all my needs. You know, there's that verse that says that, "And God shall supply all your needs, according to his riches in glory."
Really, that's the way that our family justified the choices we made. We made a lot of sacrifices so that my parents could be "in ministry." And we walked forward into difficult things believing that God would meet needs that maybe we were leaving behind.
There's a comfort in that belief--that God will somehow pick up the slack and take care of the things that we can't or won't do. Because, after all, that's what he's supposed to do. That's what he said he would do.
But then there have been times where my needs were most assuredly not being met. There were times that I didn't have the things or the people that I needed in my life. I was hurt and I simply legitimately needed things that weren't available to me.
And even though I rationally kind of made it through those issues--I somehow came to a place where I rationally understood that (only God knows why) God chooses to work through people, and we screw things up all the time, so that at least the possibility exists that God wants to meet needs through his people, he even asks or burdens people to be there and do those things, and they're just not listening.
But at the end of the day, that didn't really solve my problem. Because if I was going to take risks in my life and step out by faith and have to trust that God would take care of me, how could I really do that? The system is messed up. Either God doesn't actually meet every need, or his people aren't paying attention and it's not getting done. It's much easier (safer, more comfortable) to just make sure that my own needs are met.
So how do you make it through to the other side? How do you actually have faith to take a risk? For me, that issue was an emotional issue, not a rational one. I could rationalize an answer just fine, but that didn't actually answer the issue I had in my heart. No matter what I thought about it, it wasn't until I was able to confront those fears, those accusations against God, even, that I could move forward and walk in faith and trust again. I had to go through this process, a relational, emotional process, of working through those emotions. First I had to own them, which meant I had to admit them to myself. And then I had to take the risk of actually talking about them with God, and really surrendering them to him. It was then that I could hear the truth from Scripture about who God really is.
One of the things that I've learned these last few years about recognizing a person's barriers to faith is that they're not much different from my own barriers to faith. Learning the skill of seeing into another person's heart starts with being brave enough and honest enough to see into my own heart. And then, having confronted my own barriers and walked down that scary road, I can recognize and then have compassion and empathy for those who are making their own way through.