The Truth About Trust Issues

A simple Google search on the subject of trust issues is like unravelling a spool of thread, with no end in sight. Immediately articles reviewing the “10 signs  you have trust issues ” pop up  leading to self interrogation and introspection. Let’s not even talk about the endless articles about celebrities broken up over unresolved trust issues… Nauseating! Trust is a hot commodity apparently. It is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something, according to Google. We were born trusting, it’s our natural inclination. With the rampant and constant breaking of trust in our world, it’s no wonder many have self- diagnosed as having trust issues. Our hearts have been broken, we’ve been disappointed and let down by people and systems that we relied on and believed in.

An issue with our ability to trust denotes a problem, a deficiency or a malfunction of some sort. It’s an acknowledgment that our ability to trust was fully functional at one time but then somehow, after being mishandled, has become defunct. Broken homes, broken promises, abuse, neglect, rejection and betrayal perhaps the culprits to the demise of our trust. So ultimately we become resigned in believing that we are permanently broken, incapable of trusting and relying because our experiences have labeled and categorized us. Rather than fight against this unnatural disposition, we allow it to define us and to become our crutch.

One of the many difficult and challenging aspects of growing as a PK ( Pastors’ kid) was the unavoidable breaches of trust. In my particular experience, my faith community was extremely relational, truly intertwining our daily lives, even outside of church. The extension to “family” status was natural and bound together by faith and love. So as a child, I had adopted Aunties, Uncles, Cousins etc… Our lives were connected and I trusted their devotions to our church, our community, my family and to me. So the amount of hurt that I experienced when these same people would angrily leave our church, turn against my parents and become different toward me, though I had personally done them wrong, would rip my heart out. Despite my parents’ valiant attempts to protect my heart, disappointment and not understanding why so and so was no longer in my life was inescapable. Eventually I learned to build walls and became a card carrying member of the “trust issues” club. I became great at being friendly, loving even, and an expert at constantly watching and waiting for people to switch up on me. I mastered the art of building walls of separation between myself and others. It’s been a process of healing, deliverance and forgiveness to come to a place of freedom from those experiences.

I wonder if there’s anybody else out there, reading this blog, that can identify. Maybe like me, you saw how your trust issues began to affect multiple areas of your life. When you talked yourself out of new opportunities or new friendships because you were resolute about your brokenness. When you kept perfectly good people from loving you because you were suspicious of their motives, and thought they’d try taking advantage of you. When you started doubting God and his promises towards you, filtering your view of Him through your trust issues. Think about it, you didn’t have difficulty trusting God until you started confessing and believing that you had a problem and that your trust muscle was somehow defective. Have you ever questioned this identity to determine its origin and whether or not it is real? Have you established if in fact your trust muscle is indeed broken?

How often have you double checked a chair before sitting down, ensuring it would hold you? Have you insisted on watching over the preparation of your meal at local restaurants? Do you personally inspect the plane before flying to ensure that it will function properly( would you even know what to look for!)…. ABSOLUTELY NOT! If you’re like me, you go to your ASSIGNED seat, pray and go to sleep. Not once being concerned if the Pilot has the proper license and training to fly the plane. We place our lives and our futures in the hands of men everyday, without question. We engage our trust muscle without much thought. It’s interesting that we’ll often struggle to trust God without question. The only One who will actually never leave us nor forsake is the one on whom we project our “issues”, shutting Him out, blaming Him and keeping his love at bay. Our woundedness concerning how people have mishandled us deceives us into doubting our Heavenly Father.

We embrace worry, fear and anxiety even when we have a promise and a Word from God. Our relationship with God becomes about Him having to continually prove His love and presence by meeting our demands. Instead of believing in His love towards us, we yield to enslavement to fear; afraid God will leave us, afraid that we’ve messed up and He’s angry at us, afraid that He won’t come through or that grace will not be sufficient. See I believe that It takes just as much energy to fear as it does to trust. Both states will produce results and multiply in your life. It’s not that you have ” TRUST ISSUES”, you actually have “FEAR ISSUES”…. there’s nothing wrong with your ability to trust. You do it all the time. Your trust muscle is not broken. You simply allowed your fearful state to be misidentified as a trust issue. Our culture is so obsessed with being brave and fearless that we refuse to own up to the fact that many of us are afraid at times. Furthermore, we don’t want to admit that fear is a spirit and it can be cast away by love. Decide today to bypass your intellect and engage your heart in trusting Abba. HE’S GOT YOU. I humbly submit for your consideration that maybe trust was never the issue, to begin with.

Growth: On the Way to Maturity

Do you remember having your food cut up as a child? Great care would be taken to ensure that your bite sizes had no bones and were manageable, requiring little to no effort on your part. Your parents and care givers recognized your limitations, knowing that your capacity was not yet fully developed. There was an unspoken understanding that time, patience and experience combined would eventually equip you to cut up your own food. The expectation was that as you grew and developed you would be taught and eventually trusted to extract the bones by yourself. So then imagine being 30 years old or even 45 and still needing someone to cut up your food. That would pose a serious issue socially, and point towards the presence of some type of developmental delay. Only thing worse would be refusing to eat at all due to the presence of bones.

Maturity eats the meat and throws out the bones, while immaturity gets offended that there are bones. Life is full of uncertainty and challenges. Nothing is easy! Nothing is handed to us in a perfect state; not relationships, marriages, careers, or ministries. The common denominator in all these arenas is the presence of PEOPLE. If someone out there has figured out how to excel on their own without the help of other people, by all means kindly share your secret.

The most incredible yet infuriating creatures on this planet are people. Broken,beautiful, inspiring, contradictory, hilarious, maddening, perfectly imperfect all wrapped into one. Because we are raised to get what we want when we want it, many of us mishandle people. When we are accustomed to having things done for us and never having to extend ourselves, we develop unrealistic expectations rooted in immaturity.

I remember meeting my husband and thinking that he was a nice guy but there were too many bones. This meant I would have to work. I was going to have to stretch myself to embrace someone that didn’t come ready-made and perfectly prepared for me. The bones made me uncomfortable and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be bothered. For a moment I was prepared to walk away from our friendship simply because the presence of boney areas of his life inconvenienced me. Reality is it revealed my immaturity. My expectations were unrealistic and I had watched a nauseating amount of romance films.

I nearly missed out on one of the greatest gifts God ever gave me because I was offended that it came with bones. Look, that’s just how this life thing kinda goes. You pray for a “Promised Land”, God brings you to it and then expects you to rid the land of giants and whatever else is occupying your land. You can’t just walk away and pray that the giants die or that God leads you to another promise. Immaturity will have you offended that your promise requires your participation. Offended that all the work wasn’t done for you.

Maturity on the other hand says ” this is just a bone, throw it out and eat the meat”. There’s a grace and compassion that comes when you choose to be mature. You can celebrate another’s genius but understand their human frailty. You learn from their wisdom but don’t disqualify them when you disagree in a separate area. When you’re mature you don’t walk away from a job because a colleague doesn’t like you. You determine to learn and grow from your work experience, despite the obstacles. Don’t leave a church you said God sent you to over foolishness. Don’t quit on life because it presented a challenge or difficulty… it’s supposed to! And you’re supposed to GROW THROUGH the challenges. Don’t give up on your dream because you encounter pushback.

Life is a journey and maturity is a choice. There’s so much beauty that can be seen if we decide to not get tripped up. We can’t be offended over minute things, majoring in minor things when the whole is actually greater than the sum of the parts. I’m not saying that we should overlook character issues or tolerate negative and toxic environments in the name of maturity. I am saying that sometimes we walk away without having even tried. Maturity requires a discerning eye, so look a little deeper into those around you. Find a reason to love, believe and hope for the best in others and for heaven’s sake… EAT THE MEAT!

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