Understanding the importance of being a safe place for others that come to me for counseling, I watch for the evidence of trustworthiness in my life. I look to see if I am being real, being vulnerable and willing to share my heart, being honest, being humble, being selfless, being a safe place for others, and other important indicators of a person who is trustworthy. When I catch myself failing at any of those (or all at the same time!), I want my first reaction to be to take an inventory of my heart. I want to know what I am allowing to control me other than Truth and Love that comes only from walking by Faith in God’s Grace. Sometimes it is fear, sometimes it is guilt or shame, but one thing is for sure: when I find myself lacking those qualities, I know something is up.
It sends a message to others when I choose not to trust them.
Despite diligence in guarding my heart, I have been missing something. My son, whose relationship IQ is far above mine, has repeatedly told me how it hurts him when I don’t trust him. I hate to admit, many times, I have skirted this issue. I have been dismissing this concern of his in my mind by rationalizing that there are just some things he does not understand about parenting, and this is one of them. I have found myself frustrated when he does not trust my motives when I say “no” to things.
In an environment full of rules with no grace, motives are always in question.
Last week, I was reading a book while on vacation, and a light bulb came on for me. I often focus a lot more on the rules than I do the actual relationship. What does it really say to my son when I choose not to trust him? Should he trust me if I am not willing to trust him? When I put myself in his shoes, I thought, “No way do I trust people who refuse to trust me. I am suspicious of their motives! I almost immediately consider them untrustworthy! ”
Trustworthy people are willing to trust.
Although I know my son will make behavioral mistakes along the way, I can still choose to trust the heart God has given him. My willingness to trust him, and others, creates an environment of Grace. Trustworthy people reside in Grace-filled environments. They are willing to risk disappointment and heartache when others let them down. They kindle real relationships in which both parties are more likely to remove masks and be themselves. Their motives are often assumed to be good, where the motives of a critical, non-trusting person are often questionable. Yes, we will get hurt. Yes, we will be tempted to put the walls back up at times. Yes, we still need healthy boundaries in relationships to protect us from toxic situations. But just like our relationship with God, when we choose to trust, we have the opportunities to receive wonderful blessings along the way.
Trust is central to healthy, rewarding relationships.
Through trust, we give and receive love. Through trust, we accept others and are accepted. Through trust, others know they are safe with us, and us with them. God loves working through trusting relationships to meet needs. It has nothing to do with whether one is perfectly trustworthy, and everything to do with a God who can be trusted to work in and through imperfect people. Once again, Faith (trust) proves to be the key to experiencing everything He has for us in Christ.