Trust

How do we learn to trust again after getting hurt? I’m sure life would be easier, if I had the answer to that question.

It’s usually not difficult for me to forgive and reconcile with people, it’s the part after that gets difficult. I constantly wonder how I can forgive someone so easily but have so much trouble trusting again.

I realize part of the issue is that I don’t want to repeat my mistakes and get hurt again. I don’t want to feel like someone has taken advantage of my love. These feelings almost always lead me to feel afraid, though.

Is living in fear really worth not having to step out of my comfort zone? Am I helping my relationships grow and improve by holding on to fear?

If I’m completely honest with myself, I would have to answer no to both of these questions, but my actions often say the opposite. I allow myself to live in fear because trusting someone isn’t always easy. It’s something that we have to constantly work on in our relationships, especially when someone has broken our trust before.

As a counselor, I’ve gotten meet with people with all kinds of trust issues. I’m no expert on trust, but trying to help other people with their trust issues has really helped me figure out what helps me get over my own trust issues. So, here are just a few things that have helped me find my answer to how I learn to trust after getting hurt, maybe they’ll help you figure out some answers in your own life:

  1. Start Small. More often than not, we make trust an all or nothing deal. Trust isn’t a giant umbrella that encompasses all areas of life, though. We trust the people in our life in different ways and at different levels. Just because someone broke your trust in one area of life does not mean that you can’t trust him or her with anything at all.

I may not be able to trust them with the big things, but what can I trust them with today? 

  1. Give Up Control of the Situation. We can’t force anyone to gain our trust back, and we can’t make things be like they were before. We so often attempt to take control of a situation by trying to make a relationship return to what it was before trust was broken. We hold on to things we want to have control over with tight fists. We’re so busy holding on that we forget what it is we are really holding in our hands. Once we allow ourselves to unclench our fists and let go, we are finally free to see the bigger picture.

Am I still trying to take control or am I able to see the bigger picture?

  1. Give Trust. Relationships usually start off with people trusting each other. Once someone breaks our trust, we think they must show us they can be trusted before we can give them any trust again. We tend to see trust as something that needs to be earned. However, we run into a road block when we view trust this way because we can’t always know if someone can be trusted again if we never give him or her the opportunity to show us.

The only way to see if your child will get home within curfew this time is to let them go out with friends. The only way to see if your friend will be supportive of you this time is to ask them to help you out with something. The only way to see if your spouse can be truthful this time is to not automatically assume they are lying.

In what ways can I change my actions so he or she can have the opportunity to show me they can be trusted?

  1. Make Everyday a New Day. When we get hurt, the only way we can get better is to move on. We can’t keep bringing up old wounds in new arguments. Everyday is an opportunity to start fresh. If things didn’t go well yesterday, put that day in the past so that it doesn’t make today a bad day as well. If all you ever do is give second chances, things will get old really quickly. Instead, make each chance a new chance so that things might have a better opportunity to improve.

Do I bring up old wounds or am I able to move on?

  1. Communicate Without Being Confrontational.When someone breaks our trust, we feel all kinds of different emotions. It’s easy to allow our emotions to get the best of us. We feel attacked and, in defense, attack back. We don’t always know how to express our emotions without cutting down the other person.  Talking about how we feel can help heal the relationship, but a conversation should be stopped if it keeps going in circles. A conversation should never reach the point of insults and hateful comments. Constantly reminding someone they broke our trust isn’t going to get us to trust them again. If trust was broken, chances are high that the issues go deeper than just trust. There were likely problems before and there will likely be problems after, if we don’t learn how to communicate appropriately and respectfully.

Am I able to communicate without being confrontational or defensive? Are there any underlying issues that keep me from communicating appropriately and respectfully?

  1. Acknowledge that each person is different. We often don’t trust people based on what other people have done. We allow the pain one person caused us to make us afraid that everyone else is also going to cause us equal pain. We feel like we made a mistake by trusting someone, and we need to be on guard so that we don’t make the same mistakes again. It’s good to learn from our past, but we miss out on new experiences by putting our guard up. We shouldn’t view one person’s actions as a reflection of another person’s actions.

Do I generalize people’s actions based on one person’s actions or am I able to see each relationship as it’s own?

  1. Take Care of Your Own Emotional Needs. We have a tendency to feel like other people are required to help us feel better. They made us feel bad, so now it’s their job to make us feel better. No one else can fix our emotions for us. It’s so difficult to heal a broken heart because we are the only ones who can fix it. Regardless of what anyone else does for us, we are the ones who have to decide when we are ready to be okay again. We are the ones who know what makes us happy.

Do I wait for others to make me feel better or do I look for ways to feel better on my own? Am I doing anything for myself or am I too focused on others to even find time for myself?

  1. Acknowledge No One Is Immune From Breaking Another’s Trust—Even You. We sometimes fall into the illusion that because one relationship is better than a past one, we won’t get hurt. We fool ourselves into believing that we can attain perfection in our relationships. If we were honest with ourselves, though, we would see that pain is an unavoidable part of life. We all make mistakes, and sometimes our mistakes lead to others getting hurt and losing trust in us. We all disappoint one another, just in different ways. Once we realize this, we can start to see that trust is, more often than not, broken from the start. It’s something we have to continuously reestablish so that fear doesn’t cloud over relationships.

What things do people have a hard time trusting me with? What things do I have a hard time trusting others with? Do I allow these things to let me live in fear? Who in my life am I able to keep having trust in regardless of how many times they have broken my trust? 

I like to write about my faith and how I experience things through my relationship with Jesus. Even though I do feel that prayer is a big part of learning to trust again, I did not include it in this list because I feel that these things can also apply to our relationship with Jesus. We have to learn to trust both Jesus and ourselves before we can truly learn to trust others.

 

Originally Written and Posted: April 14, 2014

Advertisements

Prayer and Hard Work

“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for evil! Plans to give you a future full of hope.” –Jeremiah 29:11

Being from a small city, I grew up believing I would one day move away and live somewhere exciting and amazing. My friends and I all had big plans for college and our future. We spent a lot of time looking at schools and applications and trying to decide what we wanted to do with our life. When my senior year of high school came, I had narrowed down my choice to two possible universities: UT Austin and UTPB. I sent off my application to those two schools knowing that I was going to go to UT because it would take me away from home and to a new life. After all, I had only applied to UTPB as a requirement for a program I was in. However, by the time I received my acceptance letter in the mail from UT, I knew my plans had changed, and I would be staying home.


Most people did not question my choice because they saw it as the more practical one, but a few people thought I was crazy to give up the chance to leave home. They questioned my decision and thought I would waste away in this town, never accomplish my goals, and never truly experience life. At the time, I told everyone I was staying because it was what I wanted…but really, it was what God wanted. I had prayed about my choice, and I truly believed God wanted me to stay home, and He would let me leave when the time was right.


It has been six years since I made the choice to stay, and I would be lying if I said there hadn’t been times when I wished I had left when I had the chance or times when I wondered what my life would have been like if I had left, but even then, I don’t regret staying. God continues to keep me here and, as long as I keep letting God take charge of my life, I will be happy. He has given me so many experiences I would not have been able to have if I had lived anywhere else. I’ve travelled to different countries, been a missionary and helped lead teens closer to Christ, finished my Master’s degree, made friends, and learned about love and life.


I stayed home not really knowing if I would ever leave or be able to get a job here, and I have allowed God to take me to different countries and states without knowing anyone there. Both of these risks not many people would take. I have also spent my time and money applying to 16 different universities over the past five years just to be rejected and end up exactly where I am now. At this point, I feel most people would just stop trying and put their energy into something that would bring more immediate results. I have even thought of doing that myself because it is not easy to deal with so much rejection, especially not when every dream you have depends on the decisions of others. You can’t be one of the 5 out of 500 to get into a psychology PhD program without someone else’s acceptance; you can’t start a family by yourself, and you can’t do either without money.


It is easy to compare your life to another’s life. We see others succeed in areas we would like to succeed in, and we see others make things that are so difficult for us seem so easy. I constantly have to remind myself that my life is good and God knows what He’s doing just so that I won’t become so preoccupied with what I want but do not have. It’s not easy wanting something that seems so out of reach…it’s not easy to see the finish line but not be able to cross it.


With the odds of getting into grad school being so low, it would be so simple to just stop trying now and settle for what I already know I have…but if I do that, I would not be honoring God’s promise to me (Jer 29:11). I have trusted God to get me this far, and even through the disappointments, He’s never failed me.


I always tell others that fear is not of God, but once again, I have forgotten to take my own words to heart. I keep letting the fear and the hurt of not getting accepted keep me from trying again. I keep putting myself in situations that make it harder for me to leave, and I keep focusing too much on what I want right now. I keep waiting for things to change, but if I’ve learned anything in life, it’s that some of the only things that get you anywhere good in life are prayer and hard work.  


I see so many people give up on or lose track of their dreams, and it makes me sad because I cannot imagine a world where I would do the same. It won’t be easy, and I know it is not in my power to decide the timing of everything; but if I just keep working hard and never give up on God’s promise, I will eventually accomplish everything at the right time for me.

I don’t pray for patience, I pray for strength.

Originally Written and Posted: January 4, 2012

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…”

“To know what would have happened, child? No. Nobody is ever told that. But anyone can find out what will happen. If you go back to the others now, and wake them up; and tell that you have seen me again; and that you must all get up at once and follow me—what will happen? There is only one way of finding out.” 

                                                                                      –Aslan in Prince Caspian

 

As I get to the end of my time in school (at least for a while), the question I most get asked is, “What are you doing next?” At first, the question frustrated me because it reminded me what I wanted to do next did not depend on me and my decisions, it depended on others and on whether I would be good enough to serve their purpose. For a while, everyone I encountered felt they knew what was best for me. Do this, do that, work here, live there, leave, run, go… I was constantly bombarded with options of what I should do with my life. I felt rushed to do something, to choose what to do with the rest of my life in just a single moment.


During the past few months, I have found it disheartening that so few people realize the good things in life often take time. It is as if people are afraid time will pass them by. They try to compensate for their feelings by either trying to live in the moment or trying to plan every second of their future. Those who live in the moment so often look for what will make them happy now and for what will satisfy their immediate needs; those who plan every second often seek impossible ideals. I have always felt life needed to be lived somewhere in between these two views. Life is about waiting and praying for the best. What happens after the waiting and praying is God’s will.


I am reminded of the story of Esther, when I think about waiting and praying:


“For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.”

                                                                            -Esther 4:14-16


In the eyes of the world, Esther’s purpose in life was to be their new queen…to live happily ever after with their king. God, however, intended Esther to serve a much greater purpose. She was obedient to God and allowed His courage to be her strength. She went against the world, but did not forget to take the time to pray and prepare herself properly for what was to come. Even though it might have been easier to act impulsively so as to have less time to dwell on what she might lose, she chose to wait and do things in God’s time.


The world is a confusing place. We try to find our purpose in others and in the things of this world, and we forget to find our purpose in God. Sometimes, we lose sight of what really matters because we are too busy trying to please everyone else. We choose the easy path, instead of God’s path.


For too long, I tried to find my purpose in others, and I felt my purpose would be fulfilled when I got accepted to the right school. I thought I would finally know what I was doing with my life. Honestly, though, I was not happy with the uncertainty of this life. The only thing uncertainty brings is fear, and you cannot accomplish anything when you live in fear. 


I spent so long trying to make sure the future worked out that I forgot to wait and let God take care of me. I let my heart get broken, and I let my true purpose in life remain unfulfilled. If I had taken my own advice and truly waited for God to move, then maybe my life would have turned out differently, but life is life and you can never know what would have been.


However, you can always find out what comes next; and there is only one way to find out what will happen next: that is to follow God. I am through living a life of uncertainty, for now I will live a life of patience.


“I don’t know what I want, so don’t ask me ‘cause I’m still trying to figure it out. Don’t know what’s down this road, I’m just walking…and tomorrow’s just a mystery…but that’s okay…maybe I’m just a girl on a mission, but I’m ready to fly.” -A Place in this World by Taylor Swift

 

Originally Written and Posted: May 4, 2011 at 3:33pm

Where Do You Draw the Line?

“Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.”

-John 8:2-11

Very recently, I went through what I can call the worst experience of my life, so far. Someone broke my heart, and through it all, I kept thinking about the story about the adulterous woman in the Bible (John 8:2-11).  

Growing up, I often heard this story in reference to not judging others for their mistakes.  I was told we should put ourselves in place of the Pharisees so that we could realize Jesus tells us we should not judge anyone for the sins they commit because we are all sinners.

As I got older, I started seeing the story from a different perspective. If I was a sinner, didn’t I also need to be looked upon with kindness, didn’t I also need to be forgiven? My relationship with Jesus was strengthened with this story because it reminded me Jesus was on my side. He always wants the best for me and is willing to be there for me when no one else is.

The message seemed simple enough to understand: we are all sinners who will, at one time or another, need to be forgiven; so we should not look down on anyone because Jesus loves us all equally. However, through this very recent experience, I came to realize that when we only put ourselves in place of the Pharisees or of the woman, we miss a very important part of the story.

A few nights ago, I kept thinking about the choices I would have to make because of what had occurred. Would it be best for me if I kept things as they were or if I changed things? Could I forgive and reconcile, or should I just forgive and leave? When do you say you’ve had enough? Where do you draw the line?

At that moment, this story popped into my mind again. I kept thinking about Jesus, and his role in everything. Was it really just that easy to tell the woman that she was forgiven and that everything would be okay? I kept wondering how he did it.

The story says that Jesus was writing in the sand. We are not told what exactly he was writing, but, in my mind, I kept imagining Jesus writing words and then drawing a line in the sand.

I kept seeing Jesus calmly writing in the sand, and when he finished, I saw him draw a line, almost as if he were saying, “This is where you draw the line.”

My heart was broken this weekend, and instead of forgiving and turning my back on everything, I decided to forgive and stay. I wondered what others would think of my choices and of me. I was scared and I felt overwhelmed; but then, I thought of what Jesus told the woman, and I knew I did exactly what Jesus wanted of me.

I had always thought that drawing the line meant that you had to draw it between you and someone else. It meant breaking ties and bonds so that you would no longer be able to be hurt by them. Jesus taught me otherwise.

He saw the woman and knew her sin, and still chose to remain by her side. He chose to draw the line, not between himself and the woman, but between the woman and the world. He stayed by her side and fought for her so that she would know forgiveness. He showed her what it meant to be loved.  

I know the road ahead will not be easy, but now that I know where to draw the line. I know that at least I’ll end up where God wants me.

 

Originally written and posted February 28, 2012

Love and Heartbreak

God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them.” 

                                                                                                        –Genesis 1:27                                                                      


The final project for my gender psychology class is to write an autobiography about how I came to be the gendered person I am today. Out of all the thoughts that have come to me in preparation for this assignment, the best answer I can think of is that I am a woman because that is who God made me. This answer seems so simple, but the more I think about it, the more complex I find it to be…


Last Wednesday, I had the chance to share some time with two of my friends. We were just sitting in a car at the church parking lot listening to BarlowGirl and talking. It’s almost strange to think that three young women with such different life experiences and different ways of looking at the world can come together and have so much in common. We shared a lot that night: our dreams, our hopes, our mistakes, and our heartbreaks. In some ways, our dreams and hopes are our mistakes and heartbreaks. We keep waiting on the right time, the right person, the right something, just hoping that God will make all of our waiting worthwhile… hoping that He will somehow give us proof that our waiting hasn’t been in vain.


With everything we talked about that night, there was really nothing specific that stood out about our conversation, but what we shared has stayed with me because it reminds me of just how much of a woman I truly am.


I used to think that in order to be the best woman I could be, I had to wait and be patient and allow God to keep my heart from ever being broken or torn apart. The more I think about it though, the more I realize that if I want to be the best woman I can be; I have to do the exact opposite. I have to give my heart to God and allow Him to do as He chooses to do with it, even if that means being heartbroken.


God calls me to love beyond reason. This isn’t always easy in the world we live in. There are times when I find myself wanting to run from anything that could potentially cause me pain. I want to stop taking risks and stop putting my heart on the line, but that isn’t who God created me to be.


In Mary, I find such a great example of who God calls me to be. Mary loved Jesus more than any one of us could ever imagine, and she gave her life entirely to Him without question. Mary knew she would eventually have to give Jesus up, but that didn’t stop her from loving him. She knew what Jesus would have to endure, and instead of running from the pain, she embraced it. Mary stayed with Jesus every step of the way. She walked with him even though her heart broke more with every step and with every drop of blood that her son shed. Mary loved and at the same time accepted her heart break.


As a woman, God calls me to do the same…to love with all I have and to accept the times when my heart must be broken.


I can live with heartbreak, but not the kind of heartbreak caused by someone who treated me without any respect or dignity. The kind of heartbreak I can live with is the kind caused by having to change my dreams to fit God’s plan instead of my own plan, the kind of heartbreak caused by having to let go of the guy I care for because his feelings for me changed, the kind of heartbreak caused by finding out my grandmother has cancer and there is nothing that can be done to make her better…that’s the kind of heartbreak I can live with…that’s the kind of heartbreak God calls me to live with.


In my life I have loved more than I ever thought I could, I have forgiven beyond the limits I placed for myself, and I have lived through more heartbreak than I thought I would ever know. I am a woman because I love. I am a woman because I forgive. I am a woman because I don’t run from heartbreak; and I will try my hardest not to run from love, instead, I will wait for God to bring me to a greater understanding of love.


I am a woman because that is who God made me. I was created with incomparable beauty. God made me to love and to feel. My strength lies not in the physical, but in the emotional. God made me a woman, so that I could allow myself to be led and so that I could allow myself to wait on Him.



“I won’t run when it looks like love, I won’t hide beneath the fear of how my past has come undone” 

                                                                     -Looks Like Love by NEEDTOBREATHE

 

Originally Written and Posted: November 20, 2010 at 10:38pm

Jigsaw Puzzles

Silence. Sometimes, it’s a peaceful escape; and other times, it’s a terrifying void.


For someone like me, who analyses every aspect of life in the most abstract of ways, silence is a rarity.


My mind is often occupied with so many thoughts and possibilities that I don’t always stop to think before I speak or act. Silence is a good way of allowing me to organize all of the craziness going on in my mind. It’s a way of allowing God’s will to rule my thoughts instead of my own will.


Last week, I was given the opportunity to spend an evening in silence. I was very glad to have this opportunity because I had spent most of the month living minute by minute with my job and school. I needed a break from all of the noise of my everyday life.


During this evening of silence, God spoke to me in a very meaningful way:


I was sitting in the church staring down at the book in my hands. The cover on my book was a jigsaw puzzle.


Now, I know that putting together a jigsaw puzzle is not the most exciting of pastimes; and it can become quite tedious to put a puzzle together, especially if you lack patience. However, as I stared down at the cover on my little book, my life seemed to make more sense than before.


When you build a jigsaw puzzle, you put all of the pieces on a large table, you sort them out, and you study the box to see what you are making. Life can be very similar to this experience. God gives us the pieces to our puzzle and tells us to put them together. The only difference is that He doesn’t give us the box, so we have no idea what the end result is going to be.


I like to be in control of my life, so not knowing what the puzzle is going to look like is a big problem for me. I constantly have to humble myself and let God lead me in order to not let the frustration of the unknown take over.


As the evening continued, I kept thinking about my life’s puzzle. I realized that I was at a point in my life where I was trying to fit a piece where it did not belong. I’m sure that most of you have experienced that point in puzzle building where you have a piece that just doesn’t fit where you want it to…but you try to jam it into place anyway.


My stubbornness often gets the best of me, so I was determined to make the piece of my puzzle fit where I wanted it to fit. I spent a very long time trying to fit that piece into a certain place without any success. I kept hearing that I had to let go and move on…but I’m the kind of person who has a hard time letting go.


I was still thinking about that piece that just wouldn’t fit, as I was getting ready for bed. In those moments before sleep came, God finally made everything clear…


That puzzle piece doesn’t fit where I want it to fit, but that doesn’t mean I have to let go of it. God put that piece in my puzzle, so it fits into my life somehow. I just have to set that piece aside for now so that I can focus on building the other parts of my puzzle. When God is ready for me to know where that piece fits, He’ll let me know.

“You can force the piece to fit, but the puzzle is not the same.” -Echo off the Sky by Poema

 

Originally Written and Posted: November 2, 2010 at 1:13pm

A Child Forgiven

“I was in the shadows

for so long.

Waiting.

to be found,

to be invited

into the light.

Being patient,

obedient.

I was in the shadows

for so long

that I lost myself

and forgot to wait.

forgot to listen.”


Yesterday, when I went to confession, Father told me that I was loved…that God loves me. I didn’t know how much I needed to hear those words until I heard them. Somewhere along the way, I had lost that truth, and I spent so long searching for something that could make me feel God’s love again. Those words were a much needed reminder of my worth.


Sometimes, it’s easy to get so caught up in the world that you lose yourself and forget to be loved. You get mixed up in the chaos of life and stop listening to God’s messages.


This week, I was able to block out the world and just listen.


I met a little 6-year-old boy who told me that I was pretty. In all honesty, his comment took me by surprise because men my age are all too often passive and insincere. However, his comment was made with the most innocent of intentions. He was only admiring the beauty he saw in his world.


At first sight, this little boy seems like a normal, happy child; but his life is far from normal. He’s been abandoned by a mother he’s never met and by a father who is too busy to take care of him. He has so many questions that may never be answered, and he’s angry. In truth, he has a right to be angry; but instead of letting his anger rule his life, he sees someone like me and smiles. He looks at the world and sees the good in his life. It’s no wonder Jesus told us to be like children.


Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” –Matthew 18:1-4


Many of us can probably relate to this little boy’s pain. We have had many unanswered questions about life. We have felt abandoned by our Father, and we have felt angry because there’s nothing we can control or change in this life.


If only we could just as easily relate to a child’s view of love and beauty.


Children can look past the lies, hatred, and anger in this world and see truth. They can live in this world and not let the chaos blind them to the beauty that surrounds them. They can receive love and just as easily give love.


As an adult, I have found that it is sometimes difficult to hear God’s voice amidst the chaos of our everyday lives. So often we feel that God is not speaking to us and we gradually create more chaos as a way of drowning out His whisper in our heart. We start to believe lies that lead us astray from His plan for us. We trap ourselves in sinfulness, and we start to ignore the love and grace we were created to live with.


It becomes so easy to live with the lies: “I am worthless.” “God does not love me.” “Just this one time” “What I’m doing isn’t that bad.”, but deep in our heart, God’s whisper can be heard. We know it’s all lies, but believing them starts to give us false hope. We feel in control of our lives, when, in reality, the only thing we are doing is creating more chaos and damaging our spirit.


Eventually, we hold on to the lies because fear takes over. We hold on to the lies because our other alternative is forgiveness, and being forgiven means that we can no longer ignore God’s love and grace. Letting go of the lies and being forgiven means that we owe it to ourselves to listen to God’s whisper…to love others…to have a childlike faith…and to love ourselves



“Mercy bend and breathe me back to life, but not before you show me how to die…” 

                                                                                              -Show Me by Audrey Assad

Originally Written and Posted: October 31, 2010 at 9:34pm