blind trust, communication, Compassion, competency, consistency, consistent, dependability, distrust, emotional and spiritual healing, Faith, family, Forgiveness, God, hope, learning and personal development, life, living in the Spirit, love, reliability, self-awareness for personal growth, spiritual abuse, Spiritual Growth, spiritual healing, spiritually mature, trust, truth

Trust, distrust and blind trust: rebuilding faith and hope

Over recent weeks, in my healing journey, I have been examining my relationship with trust. It first came to my attention when I looked at my business decisions, especially mistakes that I have made over the past 20 years. But, in recent days, I noticed a pattern emerge.

The beauty of recognising patterns of behaviour is that it opens the door for change and transformation. What I’ve noticed is a swinging pendulum in my life between distrust and blind trust. This pattern has cost me thousands of dollars, as well as relationships and creating heartbreak.

It is in seeing my actions and omissions accurately that the doors open.

The truth sets us free.

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free, John 8:32

Let me provide you with some concrete examples: 

  1. In my early business days, I hired a friend to run one of my companies. Because I was overwhelmed and swamped with the growth in business and hiring new staff, I failed to supervise her properly. She was struggling in getting everything done, and I wasn’t available to support her. I didn’t ask how things were going, instead choosing to focus exclusively on my own overwhelm. Unfortunately, while she was getting the client work done, she wasn’t invoicing the client for it! By the time I realised the mess in accounts receivable and payable, the client had accrued some $40,000.00 in services they hadn’t paid for. Thankfully, the client eventually paid all outstanding invoices. But it took years to get fully up to date, and I bore the financial brunt of being caught between suppliers and financing a client. When I’m overwhelmed, I shut down, dissociate from the present, and turn to blind trust. 
  2. In March 2009, I left on holiday for three weeks to New Zealand. I chose the dates based on the weather (end of summer) and flight costs (cheaper because summer holidays were over and it wasn’t yet Easter). I was overwhelmed and exhausted after restructuring staff following the 2008 markets crash. Unfortunately, March 31st is the end of tax season – which meant that my company tax returns were prepared and presented in my absence. The company accountant and external accountants included a refundable expense in “income”, an extra $54,000 in ghost income! As a result, my income tax bill that year was $27,000.00 when it should have been less than $9,000.00. But, you prepay taxes for the next year, based on the estimates of what you paid the previous year! So, not only was I hit with the current tax bill, but my estimated taxes for the next year were identical, giving me a tax credit for years to come. My blind trust created a substantial financial pinch. 

I could provide you with many more examples in my professional life where I have distrusted, micro-managed and controlled every aspect of an employee’s performance, to those moments where I am overwhelmed and shut down, leading to no involvement or supervision at all.

Definitions

definition of trust, Oxford Languages, firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something
definition of Trust

Trust = firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something

distrust, feeling that someone or something cannot be relied upon, doubt the honest or reliability of, regard with suspicion, definitions from Oxford Languages
definition of Distrust

Distrust = the feeling that someone or something cannot be relied upon.

Blind faith or blind trust: “unquestioning belief in something, even when it’s unreasonable or wrong”. I take it to mean “trust in spite of evidence to the contrary” or blindly ignoring evidence that perhaps they are undeserving of your complete trust.

trauma, state of mind, overwhelmed, shut down, freeze, dissociation, present moment, avoidance, blind faith, trust, firm belief, distrust

How trauma informs our state of mind

Unfortunately, this pattern is not something I learned as an adult, and I’ve been using this pattern since early childhood. When I get overwhelmed, the easiest solution is to shut down and freeze, and this takes me into dissociation from the present moment and avoidance. In these cases, blind faith and trust in others become the only option, and I can’t trust myself. 

Hypervigilance at the other end of the pendulum presents itself as distrust, micro-managing every situation as I attempt to control the outcome. Of course, this is exhausting, making me angry (an emotion that I was taught not to acknowledge as a child) and frustrated. To avoid anger, I would rebound into dissociation and shut down.  

I never learned how to stay in the middle: in balance, calm and being alert. I struggle on so many levels with trust, and this shows up in my life on every level: 

  • personal 
  • interpersonal 
  • professional 
  • spiritual 

I could choose to sit in victimhood: “this is how I am, because of my childhood“. But I choose not to. I started to look at my patterns as generative learning – an opportunity to grow and change. And I share these learnings with you, because I want you to recognise that you have options and choices available to you.

As I have begun to experience inner peace, the wisdom of trust has become available.  

The human experiences that break trust, building distrust

Years ago, I denied being traumatised at boarding school because I wasn’t regularly beaten and abused. Anger and speaking up would earn you a beating, being labelled a Jezebel, or having a rebellious spirit.

I avoided beatings by being “a good girl”, knowing when to shut my mouth and swallowing any anger I felt. The survival skills I learned were to shut down, dissociate, and walk away. Unfortunately, those skills are not very resourceful and helpful in my life anymore.

There are many moments that I wish I were rebellious, angry & unruly. How I wish I had been the wild child that baulked the system and stood up against injustices, daring to question unfair authority. Instead, I chose the safety and security of apathy, withdrawal and indifference.
Unfortunately, as an adult, I still struggle with dealing with my anger, boundaries and injustice. As a lawyer, it’s easy to stand up for others. But I shrink instead of standing up for myself. I avoid confrontations of a personal nature, even when they would clear the air.

Through it all, I am entrenched in my independence. Of course, as I know now – hyper-independence is merely a symptom of trauma: unable to ask for help because I can’t trust others. Can I even trust myself?

Taught to obey Church leaders without question:

We had verses drummed into us, which in themselves were not wrong. But was the interpretation of these verses rightly applied?

Obey your leaders and submit to them, Hebrews, Romans, Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God

Under no circumstances were we, children, to question those in authority because they were “appointed by God”. And if God wanted to remove them for wrongdoing, then it was merely our duty to “pray about it” rather than to do anything.

Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment, Romans, Titus,

Even the hymns we sang reminded us that we were to “Trust and Obey” rather than stand up for ourselves or others. Helplessness was ingrained, and anything that was not as it “should be” was “God’s will”, and we were to endure it.

Biblical teachings: the human heart

But that wasn’t the only weapon in the arsenal of submission. In reading the below verses, repeatedly we heard: “The heart is deceitful above all things”. Divine Justice prevailing, to each according to their ways, patterns and actions received little mention. Instead, beatings were justified because our hearts were deceitful.

Those in power were above all of that.

The heart is deceitful above all things, devious & incurably sick.  But I - the Eternal One - probe the innermost heart & the innermost thoughts. I compensate & repay justly - how they really are, not how they pretend to be - to each according to their ways, patterns & actions, Jeremiah 17: 9-10

How can I trust myself if I believe that my heart is deceitful? What relationship or trust can I build with others if they are devious and incurably sick in their hearts?

If you question what I am telling you, you lack faith. Instead, you should “pray about it” and “trust God” to solve this for you.

If the prevalent attitude about human nature is one of sin and depravity, then there is no trust.

Maureen Murdock, “The Heroine’s Journey”

Divide and conquer has worked for centuries, both within the church and politics, and it’s as quickly at work today as it always has been. Even today, we hear who to distrust and then expected to place blind trust in authority.

But blind faith means that you have no ownership of your spiritual path or will. It relieves you of responsibility, creating victimhood. And victims are powerless, easy to manipulate.

I am so grateful for learning a new way: what it means to have a healthy trust.

trust, blind trust, distrust, integrity, benevolence, ability, competence, character, caring, credibility, reliability, intimacy, self-orientation, communication, compassion, caring, consistency, competency,
Trust

Trusting Divine Presence, trusting myself & trusting others

As much as I would like to say that my journey back to trust began with trusting Divine Presence in my life, that’s not the truth of my journey. My transformation started with an exploration of self-awareness for personal growth, and spiritual healing occurred after learning and personal development.

The first step back to trust was:

Know thyself.

In noticing my patterns of distrust and blind trust, I could explore what healthy trust means. Emotional and spiritual healing have come together as I worked with forgiveness of myself and others.

My trust in the Divine grows as I let go of my need to micro-manage and control every tiny detail. And in living in the Spirit, I trust my insight and intuition to build relationships with others.

What does it mean to trust me, others and Divine Presence?

Divine Presence, the elements of trust, apathy, withdrawal, dissociation, distrust, blind faith, blind trust, healthy trust

The elements of trust

Trust is not something we do from a place of apathy, withdrawal or dissociation. It is active and engaged: trust requires relaxed courage, curiosity, and calm presence. 

According to Grant Soosalu & Marvin Oka, in their book mBraining, they identify the four elements of trust (learning to trust yourself):  

  • Communication
  • Compassion
  • Consistency
  • Competency

Other authors and writers similarly identify the basic requirements of trust as: 

  • Competence
  • Character
  • Caring
  • Credibility
  • Reliability
  • Intimacy
  • Self-Orientation
  • Integrity
  • Benevolence
  • Ability

These authors point towards the same essential characteristics and requirements of trust. As difficult as it is, I have tried to group these together in a simple explanation:

Communication:

  • Is all about listening as well as sharing
  • As Covey says: “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood”
  • To build trust, it’s necessary to voice your wants, needs, desires and motives. It’s okay to have self-interest, but be open about what those interests are

“intimacy refers to your willingness to share appropriate information about the things that truly matter.”

Diana Gabriel, The 4 Components of Trust

Heart – Intimacy, Benevolence, Compassion & Caring:

  • Trust begins when we are open & transparent – even with ourselves
  • It is recognising my value and the value of others, leading to genuine empathy & understanding
  • Clear & heartfelt commitment to my personal wellbeing and the wellbeing of others
  • Only then can we build trusted relationships

Actions – Consistency & Character:

  • In order to build trust, there has to be congruence and alignment between what I say and do! This applies as much to promises I make to myself as what I promise others.
  • Predictable, reliable, & full of integrity
  • Loyalty, honour & duty
  • Respect and selfless service
  • Oriented to values and the vision – not just selfish interest
  • Clear set of principles, so you can be on the same wavelength
  • Can be counted upon

Ability – Competency & Credibility:

  • Mastery – skilled & knowledgeable
  • Has a domain of expertise and performs their functions well
  • Will speak up and give their point of view on the matter at hand from a point of knowledge
  • Stays current & up to date
  • Self-assured in their competence
  • Demonstrating progress towards goals


Emotional and spiritual healing: rebuilding trust 

When I look back at boarding school and these four qualities of trust, I find those in authority sorely lacking. If they had known better, they would have done better. But they lacked communication skills; they were authoritarian rather than compassionate. When I look at their actions, looking for consistency and character, I find them predictable, but I couldn’t count on them. They were not always congruent in what they said and did, as the rules did not apply equally to all. Perhaps worst of all, they were not skilled and knowledgeable, although they believed themselves to be.

We were left with an expectation of blind faith and trust in authority because the essential elements of a healthy trust were missing.

self-awareness, self awareness, building relationships, trust, authority, blind faith, qualities of trust, communication skills, compassion, consistency, character

Self-awareness

I now recognise that I have a proactive role in building relationships: I listen to the desires of my heart and trust my gut. I stay engaged and curious, rather than withdrawing. Instead of seeing myself as helpless and needing to be rescued, I recognise that I must play a part in building my future.

True faith is an inner alignment with yourself and with God. It’s a balance of trusting the universe to provide and doing your part to co-create with the Creator.

Jim Tolles “The problems with blind faith

Letting the Infinite flow in my life: rebuilding trust

The road back to faith, trust and hope is uneven and rocky. Sometimes, it’s the procession of three steps forward and two steps back as I fall into habitual patterns of blind trust or distrust.

I am learning to communicate and listen. As I consistently practise the presence of the Divine in my life, I hear the small, still voice of Spirit. It requires that I quiet my mind – that I sit in Silence and allow my heart to be still. It’s a daily practice in which my mastery builds up each day.

I have to choose to be open and transparent; it doesn’t happen naturally. There are times I want to shut down, and I have to make a conscious choice to be vulnerable and compassionate. When I commit to building relationships with myself, others, and the Divine, trusting relationships open up for me.

I sit in the Silence each morning to reconnect and refill my heart with the faithful love of Divine Presence, for I trust in Divine Love.
Each morning I listen to how I should walk and allow my Spirit to submit fully to Spirit

Ps. 143: 8

My understanding of what it means to rely on the Divine entirely has changed: it is no longer helplessness. I am not frozen in fear, unable to think logically or approach life with curiosity. I’m not keeping myself safe by being emotionally disengaged or apathetic. Instead, I am choosing to be fully present and connected.

From this place, I still choose trust, faith and hope.

Place your trust in the Eternal; rely on the Divine completely;
never depend upon your own ideas and inventions.
Give the Great Creator the credit for everything you accomplish,
trusting that Divine Love will smooth out and straighten the road that lies ahead.

Prov. 3: 5-6

Other posts your might find interesting on Blind Faith:

Divine Presence, trust, distrust, blind faith, blind trust, rebuilding faith, hope

Sermon: Rejoicing in Sufferings

READINGS:

  • Romans 5: 1-8
  • Matthew 9:35 – 10:8
  • Psalm 100

REJOICING IN SUFFERINGS

I invite you to think for a moment about that Olympian champion, the one that sat on the sofa every day watching TV, checking their internet, and reading books.  The one that slept in every morning, had a full cooked breakfast, eating anything they wanted, when they wanted, partying with their friends any time they liked, and taking it easy. On the day of the meet, the simply went out and effortlessly won gold because they were just the best.

What do you mean you never heard of that guy?  Apparently it’s not that easy to be an Olympian Gold Medalist! There may be suffering involved on the road to glory: it takes work, effort, consistency, perseverance, and faith to become perfect and complete, lacking nothing! Rapid success stories happen, true. But the reality is that most “overnight successes” come at the end of years of hard work and those witnessing the “success” part too readily assume the “overnight part.”

Joy comes in spite of our pain! To have joy in spite of difficulties and struggles  is not to deny pain; it is to recognize that they can co-exist. The same way a pregnant mother can go through the agony of childbirth and still have joy in thinking about what is to come. She knows that there is a beautiful light and life at the end of these painful hours.

This morning, Paul says that we are to “Rejoice” in Suffering!  And the reason that Paul gives for this is that suffering produces “endurance”: in other words

  • intestinal fortitude
  • grit
  • perseverance
  • stamina
  • tenacity
  • gutsiness
  • resilience

Paul  goes on to say that this endurance will produce character, and character produces hope, and out of hope comes an outpouring of love into our hearts.

James 1, verses 2 to 4 say something similar:

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

I want to talk  this morning about cultivating resilience, which enables us to remain positive and focused. Resilience is a quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever – they rise from the ashes, rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve: a basic ingredient for happiness. So, Paul tells us to “rejoice in our sufferings” – note: he doesn’t say you will only suffer once.  There will be sufferings – did you hear the S? And yet, we are to rejoice, because this is how we learn and grow!

Paul says suffering will lead to endurance, and this will, in turn, lead to having character (that is, who you really are, when all the layers are peeled away – when no one else is looking!).  Said another way:  suffering produces steadiness, steadiness produces reliability, and reliability produces hope.  If we prove ourselves to be reliable, even in the face of hardship – there is hope!

How many of you here today have survived every day of your life so far in spite of the ups and downs?

Amazing! You have survived everything that life has thrown at you so far!  Every one here today is a survivor.  But here’s the challenge: it is not enough just to be here – you should be better for it!  Better equipped, greater patience, more understanding, a higher level of emotional intelligence, empathy for your fellow man or woman.  How do you make this happen, faster and easier on yourself and those around you?

For starters, I would say that the first step is acknowledgement: recognizing that you are in a situation that is outside of your comfort zone and that makes you feel that you are under threat.  The reason I say this is that when you are in denial, “this isn’t happening to me”, it’s impossible to actually act!  You can’t make any decisions about something that isn’t happening to you!   So, step one is admitting that you have a situation.

But I invite you to be careful in your choice of words: transform “hardship” into “challenge”, giving yourself the possibility of seeing opportunity and to make this a productive situation. What do you want life to look like on the other side of this adversity? Remember: your success rate so far is 100%: how will you come out of this one?

Step two, is getting a handle on your emotions.  The signs of a resilient person is that when they are in a difficult situation, they keep calm, evaluate things rationally, and come up with a plan, and so they can act.  The biggest emotion we have to face is fear – fight or flight or lizard brain (paralyzed by fear, shutting down).  Imagine how many times the word “fear” is dealt with in the Bible!  John 14: 27 says

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  … Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Or Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged…

Or even Psalm 23: 4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil

Our human response is we try to hide our fear – we mask it:

  • with anger (anger feels much more powerful than fear!);
  • with frustration (“I don’t know what to do” sounds better than “I know what to do, but I’m too scared to do it”);
  • with stoicism (I’m bearing this – rather than getting off my butt and doing something about it, because I would hate to make a decision and be wrong).

When you identify your fear or fears, you can then identify the possibilities that lie on the other side: opportunities. Managing  emotions requires that we grow deeply in emotional intelligence – so much to learn from difficult circumstances!

The third step in resilience is a little crazy: you need to be delusional! And by that I mean: you need to set the bar to recovery WAY HIGH! Crazy successful people and people who survive tough situations are all overconfident. And by overconfident I mean… a delusional sense of self-worth.  But wait!! – wasn’t step one and step two about acknowledging where you are and what you are feeling?  Yes. But now I am asking you to go all out in believing:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…

Yes, you need to clearly understand and acknowledge the situation, but be overconfident about YOUR ability to get yourself through and out of the situation successfully.  Remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments. Remember: so far your success rate at making it through difficult days and situations is 100%.What does successful look like this time?

Step 4 in the process is something continual: Preparation.  Whether you are in a difficult situation or not, you should always be in preparation.  Luke 12:35 reminds us:

Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.

And likewise, 2 Timothy 4:2

… be prepared, in season and out of season…

It’s impossible to prepare for the unknown, but we can constantly improve ourselves, practicing good habits and overcoming our bad habits.  Habits are what will come through in times of difficulty.  Think of common habits you have: breathing, walking, putting on your seat belt…

When I was 22, I spent 7 hours preparing and training for the most important 10 seconds of that day.  I arrived at 8 a.m., with a group of about 20 other people, and we trained, over and over and over again, lying on the floor, standing up, hanging from harnesses in the air… and when they felt that we were actually ready, they put us all in an airplane, with parachutes on our backs.  And when we reached an altitude of over 3,000 feet, one by one, we jumped out of the plane.

I have complete amnesia about those first five seconds of the jump – no sense of falling, no sense of the wind rushing past my face, nothing!  All I remember is my security check: arms in position, knees bent, one thousand, two thousand, three thousand, four thousand, five thousand, Check (over my right shoulder), check (over my left shoulder).  Parachute properly deployed!  We were static line jumping, in our first solo jumps from the plane.  I do remember the last 5 vital seconds of the experience – the landing.  There are really only 10 seconds in a jump that are the most important:  the first 5 and the last 5:  making sure your chute is open (otherwise releasing that chute and deploying the reserve – if that happens, go back to step one!), and landing on the ground.  You don’t want to collapse your chute 3 stories up in the air, otherwise you could break both femur’s as you plummet down straight onto your legs! But we spent 7 hours preparing for those 10 seconds – and hardly any time at all on how to actually control your parachute, turns and having fun.  Just pay attention to your headset and what the instructor is saying and you’ll be fine.

What does your preparation for the hard times in life look like? Does it bring you hope?  I had hope as I jumped out of the plane – not one, but two parachutes on my back, and knowing that I knew exactly what to do if there was a problem with the first one.  I was as ready as I could be.  There is an amazing adrenaline rush on the other side of fear!

Step five, is kind of obvious: hard work! Whatever the situation is that is bringing you suffering, there are things you will need to do! Whether it is the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, a drop in income, or the ending of a relationship, there is work to be done. After acknowledging the situation, and facing your fear or pain or loss, and getting delusional about your ability to survive this, relying on all the preparation that you have brought to this moment in your life: you have to actually stand up and do what needs to be done!

Proverbs 14:23 reminds us:

All hard work brings profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

It’s not enough to talk about what needs to be done and what you are going to do. You actually have to do it! I understand the desire just to stay in bed and pull the covers up over your head and give in to mind-numbing sleep!  I am sure that we have all been there – plagued by the depression.  Step one:  get up!   Take the first step!

Survivors take great joy from even their smallest successes. That is an important step in creating an ongoing feeling of motivation and preventing the descent into hopelessness.”

It is those small victories that carry you forward – one more step, one more challenge, one more day.

And finallyhelp: there’s a time to receive help and there’s a time to help others. Having caring, supportive people around you acts as a protective factor during times of crisis. It is important to have people you can confide in. And sometimes, in our most challenging moments, what our souls and spirits need is to reach out and help others. It is when we find a sense of purpose in our lives that we transform the most. For example:

After her 13-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Candace Lightner founded Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Upset by the driver’s light sentence, Lightner decided to focus her energy into creating awareness of the dangers of drunk driving.

I’m thankful for her impact – she reached me, as a teenager, teaching me two important lessons: never drive drunk and never, ever get in the car with a drunk driver.  So, I was usually the designated driver.  Candace Lightner will never know me, or the thousands of teenagers whose lives she saved: but she made a difference! Are you making a difference?

This is where we find hope and an outpouring of love in our hearts!