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.
Fear, shame, anger, and heartbreak…all emotions I felt in one week. By Friday, I was exhausted. By Saturday, I was aware of how much better I was for them.
The fear arose from a health scare of someone on the favorite person list. The shame came from negative perceptions of myself. The anger and heartbreak built up from letting things boil slowly over a month’s time until I was cooked…like a frog.
If you don’t know the metaphor of the boiling frog, it is said that if a frog jumps into a pot of boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is in a pot of cold water, as the water heats up and begins to boil, it will not perceive that it is being cooked and will boil to death.
I didn’t stay in the pot…
I know that as some of my friends and family read this, they will worry about me, either that I had to endure those feelings or that they didn’t. Take heart in knowing this: I didn’t live there. I didn’t die.
Each of those feelings DROVE ME SOMEWHERE.
The fear of my friend’s health scare drove me to the reminder of what really matters. I could feel what the fear felt like and it reminded me of the bigger picture.
The shame drove me to lose the lies, reach in and reach out for wise counsel. It drove me to taking action.
The anger was enough to force my friend and I to deal with all the little issues I’d let slide. In the past, I boiled so fast that I literally exploded and when the fuse blew I created scenes that I felt horrible about. This time, I knew that I couldn’t deal with the issue in that moment. As soon as I identified the anger, I told the other person that I was too angry to deal with it right then, so we tabled the conversation until a calmer moment…and we are better for it. Our friendship is stronger for it.
The heartbreak drove me straight to worship. In my brokenness, God was there, ministering to me and loving me through it.
These feelings were not fun. The moments surrounding them were painful. The Journey Training taught me how to accept my feelings, take responsibility for them, and also how to RESPOND to them.
“We fix our eyes on what is seen, not what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18.
In my Simply Lose It Society Coaching Group’s last phone call, we explored some important things. We envisioned what our perfect year would look like next year. When we read our paragraphs to each other on the call, I noticed a huge theme. We all wanted more stability in our lives.
For one is was stability in emotions, for another it was stability in family relationships. There were finances, food, and weight. After sharing, I prompted us all to share what our biggest struggle at the current time is. Sometimes, overcoming our greatest struggle of the moment can start an avalanche that gets us moving to that vision – that perfect year.
Stabilizing the situations
I looked up the definition of “Stabilize” and this is what it said: to make or become unlikely to give way or overturn; make or become unlikely to change, fail or decline
We all wanted to be more “steady” and not so quick to go off the rails! I’ve experienced this in my diet, finances, anger, and many things, as I am sure you have, too. Well, one member said their biggest struggle was uncontrollable eating.
Well, being me, I looked up the definition of control and this is what it said: the power to influence or direct behavior or the course of events; to command.
WOW! Who, in their diet, wouldn’t love to be able to direct their behaviors? How about finances, relationships, or responses to events in our lives? I told her, “What I hear you saying is the pendulum swings way to fast.” This led to my next Google.
How do you slow down your pendulum?
I went right to cuckoo clock repair. What do they do if the clock runs too fast, and the cuckoo show up too much? In my life, my cuckoo shows up way too much, and way to quickly! Well, it said that the longer the pendulum, the slower is swings.
So we just need longer pendulums, or more patience. How can we create a longer pendulum in our lives? I began thinking of how I’d done this before, and this is what I came up with.
If I think I am hungry, I usually head straight for a snack or meal. But sometimes if I get distracted, I forget that I’m hungry. Well, I don’t forget that I’m hungry. I actually realized that I really wasn’t hungry, but I mistook an emotion for being hungry. So this is what I’m going to do: when I feel hungry, I’m going to set a 10-minute timer. In that 10 minutes, I’m going to get busy doing something. When it goes off, if I truly am hungry, I’ll still be hungry. I just created some patience, or a longer pendulum, in my life.
Try it before you buy it
You can do this in many areas of your life! How many impulse shoppers do we have reading this? Well, set that timer for when you want to buy something. You might just figure out you can actually live without it, or you really didn’t want it anyway.
Or how about with your anger? In The Journey Training, we teach that many times we are “making up a story” causing us to get mad. In other words, we connect the dots and come to our own conclusions about someone’s actions. Usually, their intention wasn’t what we first thought it to be. We teach trainees to process their emotions before jumping off the cliff. Many times, we can come to the conclusion that we made up a story, and are able to forgive and move on. That is the equivalent of creating a longer pendulum in your feelings before reacting.
What else can you create a longer pendulum for? Where else in our lives would creating opportunities to be patient would help us?
Most people plan more for their yearly vacation than they do their lives. Why not pause, take a weekend off and create a longer pendulum in your own life, too. One way you could do this is to enroll in the very next Threshold class. You never know what you’ve been missing until you stop to smell the roses. I challenge you to find some areas in your life and create a longer pendulum today!
I am a facilitator in The Journey Training. Recently, I was traveling to Tulsa for a training weekend and I had a layover at the Atlanta airport. I had several hours in between my flights so I got something to eat and then went to the assigned gate with plenty of time to charge my phone and catch up on some email. When I arrived at my gate all of the electric outlets were already being used by other people. I’ll admit I was a little frustrated. I looked around and noticed a fairly empty area a few gates away, so I went down there and sat in a seat near the check-in desk. I plugged in and started to go through my email. Everything was back on plan.
About 5 minutes later, a lady came to the gate area and sat directly across from me on the other side the check-in desk. I could tell that she was very distraught. She was talking with someone on her phone, she was bent over and rocking back and forth in the seat, and she was crying. I had no idea what was wrong, but it must have been bad.
Immediately, a soft voice in my head said “Go to her.” I answered that voice with “Do what? I don’t think so, I’m busy.” A few minutes go by and that voice says again “Go to her.” Once again, I declined and added “Someone else will help her.” This process repeated itself in my head several times over the next 15 minutes or so until I finally said to the insistent voice “Ok, Ok – I’ll go!” Then I started trying to figure out what to say and how I was going to help her. I remembered that I had a travel pack of Kleenex in my briefcase. I got the Kleenex out and wouldn’t you know it, that’s when she stopped talking on her phone. I thought I was just going to be able to walk over, offer her the Kleenex, and walk away. I would have done what the voice asked me to do and that would be that.
I had already made eye contact with her though and now I was committed. There was no easy way out. I got up, grabbed my stuff, walked over and said “I’m not sure what you’re going through, I hope these will help a little.” She reached up and grabbed hold of the Kleenex but didn’t pull them from my hand. She just looked at me. I sat down and asked her what had happened. It took her a minute and then she said “My ex-husband committed suicide 3 hours ago, he shot himself.” I was shocked by her statement, but then things just slowed down and I knew why I was there and what I was supposed to do.
For the next 40 minutes we sat and talked. She told me about how angry she was at him, about how she should have seen the warning signs, about how it was her fault. And yes we cried together too – in front of all kinds of people. But before she boarded her flight, I helped her understand that it wasn’t her fault and I got her to tell me all the good things about him. Slowly, the weariness of guilt, grief, and anger began to fade and her face began to change when she told me how he would play with their young grandson on the floor. We talked about how she was going to go through a lot of ups and downs in the days and weeks to come. I encouraged her to remember the good things about him during those down times. Then it was time for her to board her flight. She thanked me for spending time with her, we said our goodbyes, and we went our separate ways.
I’ve thought about that day often since then. Looking back, I realize now that God orchestrated my steps. He intentionally positioned me at that gate, in that seat, directly across from another empty seat, for a specific purpose. I almost chose to ignore Him, several times in fact. Why? Because I was afraid. What was I so afraid of? Was it that she might reject my offer to help? Honestly, I think I was most afraid of being embarrassed in front of other people – if she would have made a scene and yelled something like “Just leave me alone, it’s none of your business!” I was afraid of being humiliated in public.
I’m so glad that I finally listened to the soft voice and didn’t let that fear stop me! She may never remember my name or all the details of our conversation, but I’m certain she will never forget how she felt when someone cared enough to just offer her a tissue and sit and talk with her. I hope I was as big a blessing to her as she was to me. Yes that’s what I said. She was a huge blessing to me too. She helped me remember what courage is that day, to take action even when it feels uncomfortable. God used both of us!
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people … Galatians 6:10 NIV
We are all presented with opportunities every single day to make a difference in the life of another person and receive a blessing for ourselves in return. We most often hear that soft voice, God’s voice, and choose to ignore it. We often tell ourselves “It’s none of my business, don’t get involved, they don’t need any help.” We just sit there or walk on by because we’re afraid of something.
Whenever we are doing something that is not in our best interest or in the best interest of others, we are choosing to let fear control us.
We need to realize that these opportunities are not accidents or coincidences. We need to make the choice to slow our lives down a bit so we can truly see what is going on around us, to listen to that soft voice that urges us to act, and set aside our personal fears and take action.
Let’s make it our business to have courage – to reach out to other people – to get involved – to do good in this world!
Do you often deny or ignore that soft voice? Do you let fear keep you from taking action? Come join us in The Journey Training. We’ll help you find out why and how to change it. I hope we see you soon!
People all over the country debate politics, religion, and morality. My friends? We debate over the location of a bathroom.
Four years ago, two friends and I were at the Rose and Crown Tavern when one asked the other where the bathroom was. The other friend said, “It’s in the back corner.” The one came back from the bathroom and insisted that the bathroom was NOT in the corner. This was debated for the rest of the meal.
Four years to the day later (thanks to Facebook’s on this day feature), the three of us returned to the Rose and Crown, or as we know it, the place where the bathroom is or is not in the corner. We were seated at a table with a straight view to the bathroom. Perfect!
Despite the noise of a tavern, on a Thursday night with Karaoke, the debate produced a healthy discourse. One of my friends said something that I thought was “being right is your perspective.” What she actually said was, “reality is your perspective.” Either way, WOW! Now the bathroom issue is getting somewhere.
Much of our reality, how we experience the world, is viewed only from our own personal perspective. One person may go to a corner bathroom. Another person may go to that same bathroom, but see the hallway that’s 6 feet from the corner as a part of the bathroom, and therefore, it’s not in the corner.
I’m going to go THERE and bring up politics – a very relevant experience of perspective.
You and I could watch the same channel playing the same speech, but our convictions, views, and experiences lead us to very different perspectives. Our reality of that speech can be very different.
“Being right is about your perspective.” Part of what made the bathroom debate last 4 years is the need to be right. Sometimes, we feel like we just have to be right about something and we just can’t allow ourselves to believe that what the other person is saying can possibly be right. We turn simple discussions into competitions where there has to be a winner. That means someone also has to be a loser. Is that really what we want?
In The Journey Training, participants learn to change their “I’m right!” perspective to “I acknowledge your position. This is my position…” This language and perspective change fosters healthy communication with active listening.
What was my position on the bathroom issue you ask? I see BOTH perspectives. The restroom hallway is not in the corner, but the door to the ladies room is in the corner! Just call me Switzerland!