He looked me square in the eye, and with determination and sweet love, he asked, “Do you really want to do this? Now’s the time if you need to change your mind.” My arm fit perfectly underneath my Dad’s arm and I looked back at him direct, our matching green eyes looking intently into each other’s souls.
“Okay, MegBeth.” He smiled, with a strange sort of smile and tears in his eyes. We turned, my arm still tucked loving under his, and walked slowly behind the trail of bridesmaids in crimson gowns, who led the way to the man I was going to marry.
I now understand my Dad’s strange smile. At that moment, I was no longer under his protection. No longer a Daddy’s girl. I would no longer run to him first for safety, wisdom or advice. I had finally found a man worthy of my trust. And I was choosing him.
I had all the reasons not to trust: other boyfriends had cheated… pushed me past my boundaries… slandered and gossiped about me to others. But this man was different.
He had a boyish charm, light blue eyes that were full of warmth, and a smile that made my heart beat faster. But more than anything… it was a choice on my part to trust him that sealed the deal.
And it was the scariest walk I’ve ever had to take with my Dad.
Thoughts of the future… will we stay best friends as we had been the last two years? Will he forgive me when I mess up, again and again? Will he seek forgiveness and apologize even when he’s beyond angry? Will we have heartache and hurt between us? Will we have children and will they complicate or strengthen our relationship?
I now know the answers to all of the questions that were darting through my mind as I put one foot in front of another, while my Dad held me gently under his arm. Since then, Michael has broken my trust. And yet- would I still make that choice almost 17 years ago? Yes.
So, there I was (17 years ago) standing next to a man who barely looked his age, who couldn’t wait to take my hand from my father’s.
It was in those moments that led up to right then, that I was choosing to trust. Choosing to take a man’s hand to lead me into the next stage of our lives. I had no clue what the future held. I didn’t know that I would cry wretched sobs over this man. But, I made a choice. Just a choice. My thoughts and emotions had no pull either way. I decided to choose. Nothing more.
So… what is trust? And is it something that we are born with? Or is it something that grows within us? Does it depend on nature or nurture?
To rely on the integrity, strength, ability, surety of a person or thing is what trust is defined as. You could also say it’s having confidence in someone or something.
According to a thesis “Nature versus Nurture: Is Trust Innate or Learned? An Analysis on Human Capital Determining Trust” written by Deanne Lorraine C. Dummo and Mary Kristine P. Rabe, it was determined that trust was innate, and not learned. So… we are genetically disposed or indisposed to be trusting. That’s pretty crazy- but it gives us a window into knowing ourselves inwardly. It may be harder for you to trust- by nature. Or easier!
So… what is trust worth? Do we need it to survive?
Essentially… yes. Trust is what holds families, organizations, and nations together. There needs to be an element of trust to keep any kind of relationship together. We may not realize the importance of trust… until it’s gone. Trust builds camaraderie in groups/churches/sports and with those shared interests, and builds until it seems as though the “organization” moves and breathes as if it’s its own organism.
To Trust or Not to Trust
So- why do we choose not to trust?
We base people’s intentions on their actions… and not always on their words. Growing up in Nebraska, when someone gave you their word, it meant that they would follow through. You can imagine when I moved to Missouri for college, and assumed that people’s word would always hold true. I learned pretty quickly, that it didn’t. I had to begin to base who I trusted on whether their actions lined up with their words… or not.
My mom used a phrase once, “They talked the talk, but didn’t walk the walk.” I’ve found this is more reliable than relying on anyone’s word now. Which is really sad… the words we speak… don’t mean anything. We have to base our trust on the actions of those we’re looking to trust and whether their actions match their words.
When we choose to trust someone or something, we are opening ourselves up to vulnerability. By giving our trust, we are allowing them the chance to hurt us, whether intentional or not. And, by golly- we are not going to be hurt- right? Put yourself first- isn’t that the motto of the world right now? I mean- come on people… it doesn’t get more self-centered than that.
But, when it comes down to it- it’s just a decision. We choose to trust… or not to. It’s simple.
Squash Growing Distrust
And when we feel that distrust begin to bubble up from our guts, nerves or emotions- we need to choose to get rid of it. And I honestly don’t know how that would work for you. But for me? I usually pray first.
Step One: Pray First
There are moments in my marriage, even now after 16 ½ years, that I feel distrust crop up in my heart towards Michael. It has nothing to do with insecurity… or his integrity. It has to do with the spiritual war that’s raging around us. It can also crop up when our expectations are not met. We must be on our toes when remembering that we are in a spiritual battle all the time.
Ephesians 6:12 says:
Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage.
So, when I sense distrust in my relationship- I pray. And if it doesn’t go away, I immediately talk to Michael. I treat all other relationships and friendships in the same way. The Deceiver is a master at dividing the church, families, and friends. Which brings me to the next step.
Step 2: Start Talking
Bringing things that are in the dark, into the light, always works. It always brings healing and health back into a relationship. If you’re struggling to trust someone you should be able to trust, talk to them about it.
But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible…”
Now, don’t get me wrong… when you bring things into the light, you need to check yourself before you start talking. Make sure that you have good intent and are seeking wisdom and unity in your relationship. If you focus on healing and reconciliation with God’s help and leading from the Holy Spirit, health should be restored.
Step 3: Leave It With God
I don’t fully understand why distrust happens. But, when I give my distrust to God… he almost always is faithful to help me work through it in every aspect of my being. And if there’s one being that we can trust- it’s God. Man is flawed… but God is not. We can continuously trust in Him over ALL OTHERS.
One of my favorite verses of all times (I have it taped to the mirror in my bathroom) is 1 Peter 5:6-7. The way it’s written in The Passion Translation (check out my post on versions and translations here!) is pretty neat.
If you bow low in God’s awesome presence, he will eventually exalt you as you leave the timing in his hands. Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.
The key here is- once you’ve given your distrust to God, you can’t take it back. (See next step 🙂
Who to Trust?
When I began searching through Scripture for how to deal with distrust or even trust for that matter, I found something interesting. Almost all the results point to trust in Father God and his Son, Jesus.
Step 4: Trust God
Trust in the Lord completely,
and do not rely on your own opinions.
With all your heart rely on him to guide you,
and he will lead you in every decision you make.
Become intimate with him in whatever you do,
and he will lead you wherever you go.
Don’t think for a moment that you know it all,
for wisdom comes when you adore him with undivided devotion
and avoid everything that’s wrong.
Then you will find the healing refreshment
your body and spirit long for.
If we can’t trust our own opinions, then who can we trust but God? We need to remember to allow God to lead us in every decision in our lives. That’s a tough thing to write- even tougher to live it out.
When we look further into scripture in a handful of times, the authors of the Bible wrote about the shaky choice to trust money over God and another time how the disciples trusted Judas Iscariot, the disciple who then betrayed Jesus. Hmmmm….
So, it’s clear that if we trust money over God, it will fail us. And sometimes, if we trust another human being, they could betray us. It is possible. (In the book of John, chapter 2, it mentions that Jesus didn’t entrust himself to his followers yet, because he knew that the hearts of men were fickle. Whoa!)
So, in the end… we have a choice to make.
Step 5: Choose to Trust
In this day and age, trust is hard to find. When we’ve been hurt over and over by people we’ve loved, it can be hard to let down your walls. But you’re gonna have to if you want any fulfilling and loving relationships.
Sometimes, a phrase just sums it up.
Suck it up, buttercup.
If you want solid relationships, you’ve got to trust. First God. Then the person.
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