My iPod Lies to Me

Posted: 01/04/2011 in Musings, Personal Walk, Running, Running the Race

Trust is a funny thing.

For ages I have been running with a nifty pace/distance tracker that attaches to my iPod. It has some awesome features that range from the purely practical (keeping track of how far I have run (or more importantly how far I have left to run)) to the completely unnecessary and delightful messages of encouragement from different athletes when I complete a new PR for distance or pace. Anyway I was realizing over the past two weeks that my pace was slowly getting worse and worse, and I eventually realized that my helpful tracker was becoming less and less accurate as time was progressing.

Not that big of a deal until I realized that it was taking me 1.56 miles before the tracker would acknowledge I completed 1. And also not that big of a deal until you are trying to go on 20 mile runs.  There is no way I want to end up “accidentally” running 30 miles.

So you can say that I don’t trust my iPod… because it lies to me.

Actually, I found this relevant because I have been thinking about trust, and surprisingly not about trust that is broken, but what it means to trust in something. Relevant becuase I realized I could have, quite possibly, ran 30 miles because of the trust that I placed in this little gadget.  If I’m honest, even before I began to question my iPod’s honesty, I went online mapped my run… so I guess I can’t be too angry I guess I never actually completely trusted it in the first place.

Sure, for a 3 or a 5 mile run I have always been completely secure in agreeing with what my iPod is somewhere in the ball park of trustworthy, but the prospect of anything more significant seems foolhardy. This sounds elementary, but I’m realizing that trust isn’t a binary thing: on or off, I trust or I don’t; there seems to be a gradient of trustworthiness, a measure of the weight of the faith you put in something.

A measure of the weight of the faith you put in something
3-5 mile run = not too heavy… 20 miles = much heavier

There is something about the idea of weight, of gravity, of cost that will quickly betray the amount of trust you have in anything. Just think about it. Instead of talking about iPods and running, how about we transition to people we trust. And as we switch examples lets define our analogy:

3-5 mile run : 20 mile run :: sharing your middle name : confessing biggest failure

I will trust most people with my middle name. I’ll even let most people know that it isn’t a family name, or from the name of a geographic location, but that it was the name of an actress that my mom always liked. There is a slight risk for some chiding and teasing, but I like my middle name and that isn’t very risky for me to “trust” people with that information.  That being said, the inkling of the idea that I would tell even my closest, dearest friends my biggest, most humiliating and shameful failure I find terrifying. Even for those I say that I trust completely, that trust still isn’t complete.

If I’m honest, I believe… believe so foundationally, that with the “heavy stuff” they won’t be able to stand.

Now, I will vehemently justify this by declaring, quite legitimately, that any and all of our friends will eventually fail and disappoint us. Just as I know how amazingly adept I am at messing things up, I also have to remind myself that this isn’t an exclusive talent.

They’re Human*.

But what about with God?

This is the question that actually has been haunting me when it comes to trust. I don’t trust people very easily becuase, lets be honest, iPods lie and friends aren’t perfect. But God, by his very nature, is absolutely perfect. 

When I say perfect I mean God is absolutely and infinitely… good, wise, just, merciful, loving, soveriegn, powerful and completely faithful. There is nothing that is too “heavy” for God. Indeed, Jesus took on the FULL WEIGHT of all my sins, of all my failure, in the full knowledge of my most shameful, humilating moments.

This SHOULD BE a game-changer when it comes to trust.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been faced with some of the biggest questions and challenges I have ever had to answer. I know in my head that God is completely in control of these situations, and none of them have taken him by surprise. In my heart: worry and anxiety have quietly taken residence and I am shocked to realize that I don’t fully believe God can handle the collective weight of all of this. And so I started to ask myself the question: Do I trust God?

But it isn’t just that and so I… I ask myself:

Do I have FAITH (trust) that God is who He declares himself to be?


Do I have FAITH (trust) to believe He can, and will, fulfill the promises He has made to me?

The amazing thing is that these two questions should CONSTANTLY be an area where we are growing. This reminds me of one of the most humbling passages in the Bible for me. Its from the book of Numbers, yep the one with all the names:

And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?
N U M B E R S 1 4 : 1 1

I originally was challenged with this verse, at the beginning of a book called Future Grace (Piper). As a conclusion I want to quote a few things from that book:

“I have also learned something about the root of anxiety and the ax that can sever it. One of the most important texts has been the one I underlined when I was 15 – the whole section of Matthew 6:25-34. Four times in this passage Jesus says that his disciples should not be anxious. Verse 25: “For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life.” Verse 27: “And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span?” Verse 31: “Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’” Verse 34: “Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow.”

“Anxiety is clearly the theme of this text. It makes the root of anxiety explicit in verse 30: “But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith?”  In other words, Jesus says that the root of anxiety is inadequate faith in our Father’s future grace. As unbelief gets the upper hand in our hearts, one of the effects is anxiety. The root cause of anxiety is a failure to trust all that God has promised to be for us in Jesus.”


* I will probably write more on this later, but I am far from advocating not trusting people. It isn’t easy at all, but important. Also as a Christian I don’t think you can read through the Bible without seeing a very clear calling for us to live our lives in deep community with each other… but that will be a post for another time.

  1. david johnson says:

    mike, excellent thots today! thanks for sharing great truth about the character of God and our necessity to TRUST in Him…thanks.

  2. Hannah says:

    WOW… I always knew you were insightful, but that was deep. It made me think a lot about the whole trust factor and how true it is in the different degrees we have with people. I’m dealing with that myself, but then again, I think everyone goes through that on a constant basis. God, on the other hand, shouldn’t be an issue, yet, we fight with that question constantly.
    This blog definitely got my thinking wheels turning… Good job. 🙂

    • mgmstudious says:

      Thanks Hannah, totally my pleasure. I’m reading a book right now called Future Grace and it has some awesome insights on how we view God… or don’t. Miss you, Paul and the kids.

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