Trust, a word that I keep coming across a lot in my life lately. I don’t know about you, but when a word seems to reoccur in my life over a period of time, I finally ask myself and God, “Ok, what about this word am I supposed to learn?”
I know that trust is a big deal for a lot of people. In The Journey Training, it’s a big focus of the Threshold weekend. I used to consider myself a pretty trusting individual until I was recently forced to take a deeper look at what this word really means and how it affects the way I live my life.
When I ponder the idea of trust, I used to think that who I did or did not trust was based on the other person and how they treated me. If someone consistently lied to me or was always late for meetings with me or seemed to break promises, I tended to not trust them, or at least trust them less (is that really a thing?). However, I’ve recently been challenged to reevaluate my view of trust, especially when it comes to God, His kids, and those I call my closest friends.
Proverbs 3:5-6 from the Message Bible says, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure everything out on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all.” Most of us who profess to be Christians have heard this passage several times. However, do you know what it really means? Do you find it easy to fully trust God from the bottom of your heart, with everything you have? I know, for me, fully trusting God is a hard concept to grasp; and it has nothing to do with God but everything to do with me.
Due to some health issues lately, my vulnerability and trust levels have increased greatly. I thought I was trusting before, but when things got downright hopeless, I realized I was closing myself off to God and those who genuinely cared about me because I didn’t want to be hurt worse, or seen as weak and unable to handle life. Everywhere I went I saw the word TRUST staring me in the face. It was in my daily devotions; it was in the sermons at church; it was glaring at me when volunteering at The Journey Training weekends. Everywhere I looked, trust surrounded me but I still wasn’t getting it.
So, I began to ask God and also talk to some of the people around me. Trust is a choice and in order to live out my purpose I wanted/needed to figure this out. Trust, to me, means that I am willing to be so authentic with you (or God or whoever), that I recognize the possibility of getting hurt and still choose to do so in order to receive the benefits of the relationship. Trusting God means I choose to believe that He has my best interest at heart and admitting that I can’t do it all by myself and His ways are better. Trusting God means, no matter what I’m feeling or what I’m seeing, I’m still open enough to share my feelings with Him and choose to believe that He is listening.
How does this translate into other relationships? Well, I’ve come to find that if people say they care and want to help you, then you should be real and vulnerable enough to give them a chance. I am a human, and no matter how much I would love to believe that I am all of the super heroes rolled into one (you know, the GREATEST person ever!), I have weaknesses and limitations. God created me (and you) to be connected with others in relationship for a reason. We can’t do life all alone, but all together, we can handle just about anything with His help.
So, in this season of life that I find myself, I am choosing to trust on a whole new level. This choice of mine has begun to make a huge difference in my life. By being real and vulnerable with those who are around me, I have shown that I’m willing to trust God and others with things that I cannot do on my own. Because of this decision, it is opening doors and resources that God had waiting all the time. He was inviting me to trust Him and others in a new way so that He could show me how trustworthy He is and they are.
How does trust or the lack of trust affect your life? Have you ever stopped to think about it? If you’ve been through The Journey Training, you learned a little about trust and that it is a choice. If you haven’t been through the training, I challenge you to look at trust in your own life and them maybe check out The Journey Training as a way to gain more information.
My school does a huge Art Day in the Spring and it’s amazing! This year we had painters, a potter, a whole cafeteria of activities for the kids, even a bagpiper and Vincent Van Gogh showed up! What was really amazing though was how one drawing could remind me of a very important lesson I learned in The Journey Training.
One of the artists was a caricaturist. If you’ve never seen a caricature, it’s a cartoon-like drawing that magnifies the most obvious features of the person or subject. I had one done years ago and was excited to have another. The teacher was the subject and the students got to watch. Despite my eagerness, I knew what the artist would pick up on because I remembered it being distinct from my last one. I knew when he finished, I would see a very large forehead and striking jaw. I’m self-conscious about this, but wanted to participate anyway. To involve my kids more, I had them tell the artist what I liked. One said coffee and another said football.
Then came the unveiling. Sure enough, he did a great job! I had a coffee cup and yes – a large forehead and jaw.
As I said, I predicted it, so it was an easier pill to swallow. I struggle with self-image issues, but my experiences with The Journey Training continue to teach me I don’t have to live there. We all have parts of us that are striking. It may be a jaw or large thighs. It may be a tall height or type of hair. It may be a bad temper or the tendency to hide behind happiness.
Those characteristics don’t define us. They just reveal aspects of ourselves that we are giving off. People may notice my chin, but that doesn’t make me ugly. People may see that I’m trying to be happy even when things aren’t good. It’s not bad, it’s just an experience.
The Journey Training gave me the freedom to receive and embrace feedback. It’s like a caricature, but this one can draw you into a better life!
A friend was opening an essential oil the other day and exclaimed, “It’s like joy in a bottle!”
The oil was grapefruit and I really couldn’t agree more. I love grapefruit, it makes me feel like there’s sunshine on my face and a song in my heart whenever I take a bite.
The thought crossed my mind that I could never give up grapefruit, but just as quickly I realized that I have had to give it up for a while. A whole host of prescription medications have an interaction with grapefruit and grapefruit juice: anti-anxiety, cholesterol, mood stabilizers. While I love grapefruit, I needed my medication more. It was a choice I had to make.
Sometimes we have to sacrifice something we enjoy in order to preserve something more precious, like our health or our family.
I suffer from anxiety and depression and for now I am not taking any medications, so my self-care is incredibly important. I need to stay active and carefully manage my sensory input. My grapefruit, what I had to give up, was rock music. I am a huge fan of alternative music. I have been to many concerts and I have a ton of CDs. The drawback of listening to that genre is the overwhelmingly negative verbiage in the lyrics. My Chemical Romance had a hit song titled “I’m Not Okay” which just does not help when one is struggling to begin with.
Since making a switch to upbeat, positive music, my internal monologue is much better. I have far less days where I’m having to scrape myself off the floor. It’s another choice I’ve made.
Through The Journey Training, I found out that I have more control over the choices I make than I ever realized. I’ve been able to see things more clearly and take better care of myself.
What is your grapefruit? What do you need to give up to be living your best life?
Have you ever met someone who seems to always have things go their way? They just expect a positive outcome and in turn, they usually get it. Even when things don’t work out, they don’t fret and let it ruin their day. Your general outlook can steer you in a direction without you even knowing it! Did you know that your general outlook is actually a choice? The outlook you choose can serve you or enslave you. Which one will you choose? My suggestion, choose happiness. Happy people don’t kill people.
A positive attitude will help you live longer
A group of 180 nuns from Sisters of Notre Dame were asked to keep autobiographical journals about their everyday lives, outlining their time living in a convent. These women were all born before 1917 and remained Nuns for life. The journals were not set up for eventual scientific study, just as an outlet for these women, detailing their vocation.
Five decades later a team of researchers gained access to these journals and focused on coding the entries for positive emotional content. Their question: Could their level of how positive they were as young women predict how their lives turned out? The answer is yes. A positive outlook leads to a longer life.
The nuns with more joyful content lived nearly ten years longer than the Nuns with more negative or even neutral entries. At age 85, (Growing up, they all appeared to be at least 85 years old to me.) 90 percent of the happiest quartile were still alive. Compare this to just 34 percent of the least happy quartile still living.*
*Source: The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
What can you do to be more positive?
Cognitive-behavioral therapists agree that many of these positive skills can be learned. Here are some skills that will help you, if you endeavor to adopt them.
Happiness is a choice; plain and simple. All of us have bad days but we get to choose how we act – and react – in these situations. If this isn’t easy for you, here are some steps you can try:
- Make a list – In the movie “The Ultimate life,” by Jim Stovall, they talk about the Golden List. For this exercise get a journal and write down 3 new things you are grateful for each day.
- Exercise – Exercising for 10 minutes a day. According to helpguide.org, physical activity or exercise is a natural and healthy way to induce a positive attitude.
- Meditate – Meditating for 2-3 minutes and practicing breathing in and out will help clear your mind of clutter. Research shows that you get multiple tasks done faster if you do them one at a time.
- Be Thankful – Write one quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team.
- Journal – Journal for 3 minutes a day on a positive experience you’ve had within the last 24 hours. This strategy can help transform you from a task-based thinker to a meaning-based thinker who looks for meaning instead of endless to-dos.
Make a case for your innocence!
In the movie Legally Blonde, Elle, played by Reese Witherspoon, is a bright young intern for a law firm that is representing a beautiful young heiress who is accused of killing her husband. In a meeting, Elle explains to her colleagues why she thinks the heiress is not guilty. She states “Brooke is a physical fitness instructor and exercising releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill people.”
In The Journey Training, we believe that every moment is a choice. Every choice has a cost and a benefit. If your general outlook on life is a choice, think about what everyday choices you can make to help you stay in that happy state. Happy people don’t kill people. Choose happiness! Even if it seems ridiculous, statistics show that happy people live up to 10 years longer –and chances are you won’t kill anyone, either!