Trust, Part I
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight [or direct your paths]."1
A Daily Encounter reader asks, "Will you please write a daily on trust?"
Lack of trust is caused by fear. And fear comes in many shapes and sizes. Some fears are healthy. Others are crippling. We rightly fear driving through a red traffic light or driving down the freeway—the wrong way. Major fears and seemingly unfounded ones almost always have their roots in a past fearful experience.
I used to be terrified of public speaking and this, according to what I have read, is a common fear. I was scared to death that when I got up to speak, I'd run out of things to say and make a fool of myself. This was heightened because of my insecurity. In younger days it took me several years to get up enough courage to ask for a date because I was afraid of rejection—another common fear.
An even bigger fear for me was being afraid to love. "How could this be?" you ask. "How could anyone be afraid of the very thing we all need the most?"
The love I was afraid of was not that of friends, but the love between a man and a woman. I was usually attracted to gals who weren't interested in me (romantically that is). This kept me safe. And as long as I was just a good friend with the woman who is now my wife, I was fine and felt safe. But once Joy started loving me, I freaked out—big time! I panicked a blue streak and wanted to run for my life.
Fortunately I knew it was my problem. But had I not thought so highly of Joy, I would have run from love—again. I also knew that if I didn't get help to overcome my fear, I could spend the rest of my life running from love. It took me a long time to see this.
My fear of love and inability to trust had deep roots in early childhood. I grew up in a very dysfunctional home. I had an absentee father (emotionally speaking) and never felt that he loved me. My mother set me up to be the "little husband" in the family and I felt over-leaned on and smothered. And I also had an aunt that killed her own baby and apparently attempted to kill, or at least hurt, me when I was a baby. (She committed suicide.) I also lost a little sister to whom I was very much attached. She died when I was only five. So in my childish mind I had come to believe that if you love me, you will leave me, reject me, smother me, or you may even try to kill me.
This deeply buried fear I brought unconsciously into my adult life and spent most of my life running from love. It was this fear that got triggered when Joy started loving me. (By way of interest, some years ago a psychological test showed that I had a buried terror. At the time, I had no idea what it was.)
Many adults who were abused, abandoned, neglected, or felt rejected in childhood also struggle with similar or related debilitating fears.
So you ask, "How did I overcome? How did I learn to trust?"
To be continued...
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, 'I will praise You; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made,' and I thank You that no one understands me as You do. Please help me to understand myself and the causes behind some of the irrational things I sometimes do. Help me to admit and face all of my fears and bring them to You for Your healing, and guide me to the help I need to overcome them. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV).