Friday, December 12, 2014

Trust issues

I started thinking this evening, as I sat fretting about a mini-crisis we're having at the moment, about the expression "I have trust issues." 

And I do. I find it hard to trust people, to trust their motives. 

As I pondered why that is, why people state that they have "trust issues" (usually with an almost apologetic look on their faces) I thought of a reason that feels like one of those "duh" moments. 

People have trust issues because someone has hurt them in the past (maybe a lot of someones). They have learned not to trust

Not trusting means that you don't believe that the person (whoever it is) has your best interest at heart, and you believe that there is some sort of ulterior motive for offering to help you.

In some cases, that lack of trust is justified ... because of past experiences with that particular person. If there is a pattern of that individual abusing your trust, if there is a history of him or her continually using and abusing you (physically, emotionally, financially, even spiritually), then the lack of trust is perfectly appropriate. 

The problem is that after having been hurt like that by more and more people, especially over and over again by the people who have assured you over and over that they care - you tend to shy away from such assurances by people that have NOT proven that they can't be trusted. It becomes the default setting, the automatic reaction, the core belief. It's a defense mechanism designed to protect you from getting hurt again.

It's fear. When you boil it right down, it's fear.

I don't know about you, but I can even get like that with God. I catch myself saying, "What are You up to now?" to Him... not necessarily out loud or consciously, but it's that underlying belief that was hammered into me from the time I was little. That belief says that God is just waiting for me to mess up so He can clobber me. (Of course, most of us dress that up in theological terms, but what we really mean is that we believe that unless we toe the line, we're sunk.) 

But God is bigger than that. He loves. Unconditionally. This means that it doesn't matter whether we toe the line or not, He still loves us. He still watches over us. Not because of anything we do or don't do, but because He. Just. Does.

He was the One who took the initiative, He came, paid the debt in full, and wooed us by His Spirit ... and He rescued us. All we did was say yes to Him and He was all in, making an irrevocable covenant with us. (Romans 11:29 NASB - "For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.") 

Being afraid - being hesitant to step out and trust - that's going to happen. It's part of being human I guess. The Psalmist talked about that. He said in Psalm 56:3, "When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You." 

Not IF. No, WHEN

I used to read that verse to mean this: "Whenever I am afraid, I will grit my teeth and force myself to trust You." But that's not what the Psalmist said. He said, "I will." The thing of it is - the word "will" in the Bible often means "desire to" or "want to" right along with "shall." That means "When I am afraid, I will trust You because I want to."

Photo "Man Lying On
Chaise Lounge"
Ambro at
Why would he want to?  The key is ... well, I mentioned the key earlier. 

It's love. He loves us. He loves me. When I really, truly believe that He loves me, that He wants nothing but the best for me ... I will automatically want to trust Him - even if my circumstances are frightening. Or overwhelming.

It sounds so simple, doesn't it? It is. The concept is so uncluttered that it's easy to start looking around for the "catch." But there is none. The key to trust issues is knowing His love. The more I am convinced of His love, the easier it will be for me to want to - and to actually - trust Him. 

And yes ... it really is that simple - so simple that a child can understand it. It's just like sitting in a chair. You put your whole weight on it and rest. There's nothing less complicated than that.

Which is, I believe, why adults have such a hard time doing it. But that is another post for another time.

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