(photo credit: laurenlulutaylor)
“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”
(by Maya Angelou)
Our Worship Theme for the month of February is Trust, and my, that’s a big one, right? It’s a time to ponder questions like:
- Do we trust ourselves?
- Did we trust our parents?
- Do we trust Life (or the Spirit, or a higher power of some kind) to guide us, to comfort us, or lift us up in troubled times?
- And how do those basic experiences of Trust influence our lives? For example, how much do we trust:
- our spouse?
- our best friends?
- our siblings?
- our minister?
- our fellow congregants?
Clearly it’s a lot to think about, and perhaps “thinking” isn’t the best response. Rather, this is heart work. You’ll need to let yourself remember some moments, maybe discuss them or journal about them, and then let them go. Maybe challenge yourself to trust again and further this time.
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
(by Ernest Hemingway)
Folks in our three Covenant Groups will get to choose among 5 options for this month’s Soul Matters Spiritual Exercise. For brevity, I offer just two for everyone else. Let me know how it goes!
1.) Tip Toe Toward Trusting Yourself
Facing our fears takes a whole lot of self-trust. What if the secret path to overcoming our fears and believing in ourselves is not one big leap, but instead a bunch of baby steps?
Here’s your challenge in a nutshell:
Identify one of your core fears and then find one small way of facing it.
Or to put it another way:
Find one manageable way to build your ‘I believe in myself’ muscle!
Your options are endless.
Fear that you’ll never get in shape? Forget getting back into the gym, just commit yourself to taking an hour long walk every Monday of this month. Is social anxiety your nemesis? Forget forcing yourself to go to those office parties and just make yourself invite a co-worker or two out for lunch. Been afraid to stick up for your worth at work and ask for a raise? Don’t boldly walk into your boss’ office just yet. Instead just sit down and write the raise you want on a napkin and carry it around in your pocket all month.
2.) Test the Trust Formula
Everyone knows that love and trust go hand in hand. But do partners build the trust needed to keep our relationships loving and strong? Psychologist and researcher John Gottman advises that, when it comes to trust, think small. Tiny things, like bringing your partner coffee or putting down your phone when they’re talking, builds trust every day. Gottman has even created a formula: If you average five of these small positive interactions to every one negative or failed one, you are guaranteed a loving and trust-filled relationship!
Note: It works with friendships and other relationships too! So for those of us who are single, consider testing it out with a family member or friend whose relationship you want to deepen or improve.
Videos to Watch:
A Couple Books to Dig Deeper:
- The Relationship Cure
- What Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal