When women subscribe to this blog, I send them an email that asks this question:
What is your biggest frustration RIGHT NOW in your most important relationship?
Do you know what I’m hearing over and over again? Let me give you a sampling of just a few responses:
“My biggest frustration is the lack of open honest communication…and being able to trust.“
“I think trust is my biggest problem. I don’t trust anyone especially a man.”
“My greatest frustration(s) is the integrity and being able to trust anyone…”
And several more women didn’t use the word, “trust,” but they told me stories of broken trust through chronic lying and cheating.
But is the lack of trust a problem? Or is that just part of waking up to reality? The fact is, we can’t really put our trust in anyone. Even the best people will fail us.
Did you know Jesus had trust issues? Here’s what John wrote:
Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew human nature. No one needed to tell him what mankind is really like. John 2:23-25
Does that sound like Jesus considered it a problem? Does that sound like not trusting people is a bad thing? Jesus is God, and if He didn’t trust people, should we?
Jesus didn’t trust people, but He DID trust His Father.
I think the biggest problem some of us have isn’t that we can’t trust people anymore. Our REAL trust problem is twofold:
- We trusted people in the first place.
- We don’t trust the only One we CAN trust! Our Creator!
I trusted people more than God. I actually put people who were in spiritual authority in the place of God! I was taught that God would speak through them, so I trusted that what they told me was from God. Wow, was that a big hairy mistake. “Spiritual” human beings betrayed my trust, and I was flummoxed and bewildered. Weren’t those folks stand-ins for God? Speaking on God’s behalf? So then, was it God who betrayed my trust? My faith was rattled as I tried to sort through the confusion of what I had always believed.
God had to strip all of that away until He was all I had left. And then He told me to look at Him and listen only to Him. Obey only Him.
I whined, “WHAT?! Everyone is going to HATE me!”
He said, “I love you. That’s enough.”
I cried, “I don’t want to be rejected!”
He said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
I bawled, “They’ll tell lies about me, and I’ll lose everything!”
He said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Don’t be afraid, for I am with You. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”
And I finally rested my head on His shoulder and surrendered.
I did lose everything. My marriage, my financial security, my reputation, my church, and many of my friends.
I lost everything I once had, but I gained some new and priceless treasures I didn’t have before.
- Strengthened faith in Christ
- A deeper and richer resting in the cross and His grace
- Freedom from guilt and anxiety
- New (healthy!) friends
- New understanding of Scripture that has set me free in so many ways
- Joy and excitement in seeing some of the confusing parts of my theology scrapped for a clearer and more consistent theology
- Greater compassion for women in abusive marriages
- Greater empathy for my children
- Better and more constructive ways of dealing with my children’s sin
- Awareness of human dysfunction that makes me wiser and more careful
- Freedom from the icky judgmental attitude I once had toward those who didn’t share my convictions
And that’s just scratching the surface. Although there was a time I couldn’t say this, NOW I wouldn’t trade this journey for an easier one. Not in a million years.
But I don’t trust people anymore, and I don’t consider that a problem. I consider that a lesson learned. An asset to my spiritual and emotional health. That doesn’t mean we don’t love people or make a place for vulnerability and sharing. It just means our inner circle is very, very small, and nobody makes it in there unless they’ve earned the right to be there over time. God is always in that special circle of safety.
The cry of your heart is that you can trust someone with yourself. The real you. The deepest parts of you. That you can trust that person to always love, always protect, always cherish, always respect, always be truthful. And you can’t. And that hurts. It’s part of the grieving process, to face that fact, process it, and work through it.
The solution is to give it up. Especially if your partner is a total scumbag. I know we want to believe the best about them. It hurts to think they really don’t know us or give a crap about us. And when they throw us a bone, we take it gratefully and hope for a pat on the back along with it. We’ll take what we can get, but then we feel used and degraded. Time to let go.
Did you see the movie, The Last of the Mohicans? There’s a scene where one of the female characters is being chased by an Indian warrior, and she comes to the edge of a cliff. She turns to face the warrior, and he thinks he has her trapped and that she’ll be his, finally. But she solemnly stares at his slightly grinning, triumphant face while slowly taking one little step backward off the edge, plummeting to her death. She won.
I imagined jumping off a cliff when I let go of my marriage and my life as I knew it. I had no idea if I would plummet to my death or if God would catch me. But it just got to that place where I had no choice. It was surrender to the Indian warrior or surrender to God. I chose God.
He caught me.
And He will catch you, because He is nothing like your abusive partner or their minions.