Every morning starts in a similar fashion. I snooze through a couple alarms then I do my bible study in bed along with praying for people/circumstances and whatever else is on my mind. Doing this in the morning helps to settle my heart and soul before jumping out of bed and into my day. If I am fortunate and don’t have anything to rush off to, then I take extra long in this grounding routine and sometimes going further to write those thoughts and prayers into future blog posts before I go off to the hustle.
For the last year and a half, part of this morning practice has included reading a Psalm a day on top of whatever other study I’m doing. I love the Psalms because they are filled with this raw, candid emotion. The author screaming out how much life sucks or how he’s mad at the world, and even many times how he just doesn’t understand why life is the way it is. It resonates with me that, like the author of Psalms, I can be honest with God and that He doesn’t retaliate against my pain, my questions, or even against my complaints.
I’m back towards the beginning again and in reading Psalm 22 this verse stood out, “Yet you are he who took me from the womb, you made me trust you at my mother’s breast” (Psalm 22:9, ESV). The whole verse evokes a picture of God taking me out of my own safe place and into the world around me, a world where I need to depend on others and exhibit trust.
Trust is such an important facet of our lives and value systems. We would say that integrity, dependability, and honesty are things that we value in a person’s character as well as something we want for ourselves. And from our earliest moments we are reliant on trust for our well-being and survival, which is probably why it makes it so hard when the people we care most about or are closest to us betray our trust and hurt us.
From my last post in talking about the abuse I went through growing up, working through my trust issues has come up more than a few times. As a result of this upbringing, I’m always kind of waiting for stuff to go south either with relationships or just with stuff in life. I question when things are too good because in the back of my mind I am anticipating and preparing myself for when they go bad.
That could totally just be me, but I think in varying degrees we each experience this thought process. And no I don’t go around in a state of not trusting anyone, that’s silly. But I think I operate in this funny middle ground of wanting to trust people but doubting whether people can be trusted. Does that make sense?
I am a fan of the show Survivor and have watched almost every single season since it started, minus a couple when I didn’t have access to a television. It is always so fascinating to me the dynamics of trust that happens within game play. Particularly when players doubt another player because they know that person is unreliable. But they still have to trust in their word or character to advance in the game or collaborate for immunity from being voted off the tribe.
Every season Jeff Probst (the host of the show) comments on the paranoia that sets in when you play the game—both within the tribe and in individual decisions, knowing you have to trust others but always being on your guard that you may be blindsided in a vote. Contestants are always talking about the emotional drain that it takes to be involved in the dynamics of the game when trust is questionable.
That is true in our daily lives as we enter into relationships with people and have to navigate the same issue. The hyper-vigilance we exhibit to protect ourselves from being hurt or blindsided is exhausting and in all honesty, lonely. But on the flip side, there is effort in building trust with someone, starting from square one and moving forward. It seems like more of a daunting task when you have been hurt before and are trying to not hold them to those same experiences.
The easy Christian response when reading Psalm 22:9 is that I’m not so much trusting people, as much as I am exhibiting trust in God. Please hear me in the most loving way if you said that initially when reading this post…stop it, that’s annoying. Yes, I need to have complete trust in God—and yes, maybe I do need to have more faith in general (Mark 9:24 y’all) but it’s not an either/or situation. We have to trust God as well as people, both for us to have good interpersonal relationships and for our own sanity.
But I also live in a reality where that is easier said than done. Trust is hard and I wish I could sit here and tell you that I’ve figured it out for us both. Sadly, I’m still working on it. But here is what I have so far.
Unlike Survivor I don’t want to go through life with an outwit, outlast, and outplay mentality where I am making superficial & shady alliances to get through the game. I want to be in collaborative relationships where my guard is down and we are each seeking to grow into who we are made to be, seeing success to those ends. That means I let people in (not in unhealthy ways) knowing that they are going to mess up but choosing to have hope in how I will be made different, perhaps better, as a result of our interactions.
Trust is letting people in and in some ways not letting our past relationships dictate our future ones—putting faith in God AND in people. So pray that I can, we can, do that better today than we did yesterday.
Until next time…Live as a Masterpiece!