Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your way acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
Proverbs 3: 5-8
The first of Erickson’s Stages of Emotional Development, which we have looked at for the last number of weeks, is TRUST. Remember? So the plan for this article is to revisit trust in a deeper, more meaningful way, so that you can apply it in your own life, and evaluate how well you trust and ask yourself that famous question, WHY? The above text was my go to text this morning for this article. I know the text by heart, but have never really concentrated on the last sentence. It hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks! WHY?
Well, lately I have been planning our funerals, in my mind and a little bit on paper. It all started at the death of our daughter’s mother-in-law, and a dear friend of ours. She had made her arrangements, so the service went off as she had planned and without a hitch. I have chosen hymns and the pianist to play them. I have chosen the person to actually conduct the funeral, and sometimes thinking on these things can be a bit morbid, yet I want to get our wishes typed and on paper for the day when death occurs, so as to make it easier on our daughters.
There are concerns in our lives: Ron’s Parkinson’s and my increasingly painful low back and extremities. I tend to ask myself what would happen to my dearest, should I precede him in death, and what kind of a basket case will I be if he precedes me. I worry. I think. Sometimes I even shed a few tears, and then I wonder too, what will happen to our ministry.
And then this morning I read the above verse and asked myself if I am trusting in God’s wisdom and guidance like I should. And then I ask what’s wrong with me that I focus on death rather than praising God for every day of life. Where did my trust go, and did I ever really have it as I should? Why didn’t I have it?
Trust is formed in the eighteen months to two years of life. Did that time impede me from having the trust I should? It was the time of World War II and my parents were separated because my father had been drafted. I am sure that my mother was worried about what would become of my father should he be sent overseas. Then he was sent overseas, just after my mother became pregnant for my brother, who was born and died while Dad was overseas in the thick of the battle. What ensued was at least a year of Mother’s mourning – had I lost my mother too?
Babies start off with perfect trust – IF the time in the womb was perfect and their first months of life were without incident. However, it is inevitable that trust is damaged by our parents or other family members. It depends on the severity of the damage, just how completely that our trust is broken. The lack of being able to fully trust someone establishes how selective, or guarded we are toward others and life circumstances.Of course, our parents are the most impactful in the formation of our trust. If they are truthful with us, if they fulfill their promises and do not lie to us, then we tend to believe that we can trust others too. If parents are abusive and have proved that they cannot be trusted, we will slink or shy away from others until or if we get help to change our way of thinking.
In adult life, we retain the memories of trust that was broken, and these remembrances orchestrate how we will feel about others. How do we know if we should be suspicious of someone else? Do they give you vague answers to your questions or do they withhold info? Do they lie, answering your questions with untruths? Do they give you mixed messages, and are they afraid to look you in the eye? Do they refuse to negotiate with you?
It is nigh unto impossible to restore trust in a person who has repeatedly betrayed you and therefore damaged your trust each time. You know, the human brain was designed to remember, not to forget, so memories of betrayal die hard, if at all. If the memory of a betrayal remains, as it usually does, does it drastically change your relationship with the betrayer? Yes. You can choose to forgive, but remember, forgive is what we should do, but forgetting the offense is not really possible. The retained memory is a defense, a protection for the future, so that you will not return to the naïve person you once were when ͞the wool was pulled over your eyes.
How do we rebuild trust? Well, we always say to review your history. Go back to your very beginnings and study the relationship you had with those persons who were the most impactful in your life. Write about the experience and about how that has affected your ability or inability to trust now. Once you have written it all out, take it to a Pastor, Counselor or trusted friend, (same gender as yourself) and read it out loud to that person. Then take that document to your shredder, burn it, or tear it in tiny pieces and flush it. Then take the courage to add a bit more trust in relationship with your trusted friend -trial and error, so to speak. Place all trust, however, in your Heavenly Father, because He knows what is best for you, now and forever.