Yesterday, I wrote about a question I received via text on Sunday night during my message (even though we weren’t doing Q&A that night). The question was a good one – “How do you get to a place where you learn to trust other people when your past experiences have not produced trust, but rather an inability to trust? Not even (the ability to trust) with the people who can be trusted.”
Check out my post from yesterday if you missed it, but I wanted to share about trusting again today.
First, I think in this instance, we need to be clear on what we define as “trustworthy”. I would like to begin with this definition “fidelity + increasing intimacy + time = trustworthy”. If someone has been faithful with increasing intimacy over time, they are trustworthy. I think one trusts a friend the same way I got trained at Starbucks. One thing built on another, I took one piece of my role at a time. Over a period of a month or so, I learned all of the pieces of my role and I practiced that role with close supervision, so that now over four months later, there are very few things I need supervision in or need assistance with during the course of a regular shift.
Second, because no one is “instantly trustworthy”, we have to be patient and intentional. Over time, we “let people in.” I always struggled with friends in college who would quickly move from distant acquaintance to deep dark secrets between 10pm and 2am at Denny’s by themselves. I knew the kind of romantic relationships that took place there were destined for failure. Why? Because it was too much intimacy too fast. One of my friends was NOTORIOUS for starting relationships this way. And he became NOTORIOUS for being a serial dater. He left quite a wake in his past by the time he left our school after two years. When we begin to trust again, we must exercise restraint. Hold back some. We must be patient. Don’t give up easily. And intentional. Yes, there are moments where we are going to have to disclose details, share secrets, and let people in. And that moment will never not be scary and it will never not feel risky.
Third, remember that trusting others is always a choice. And its one that you have the power to make. Yes, fear and the memories of past experiences will always be present and their emotional power can always be a powerful thing. However, we have an opportunity to make the choice to give someone a chance to be a different person than all the others before them with gradually opening up. And I have been the person who lets someone be “that different person” and I have been the person that was allowed to be “that different person”. It is a powerful thing.
For whoever it was that sent the text, I have been praying for you this week that God would fill you with courage to move beyond the fear and choose with at least one person to begin giving them an opportunity to be a different person than those before. Take a step towards them. When you are in a situation that is appropriate, share a story about yourself that involves some risk. Make the choice. You can do it.