How to Trust Others Wisely
I see trust like a wave-rocked sailboat.
When you experience a relationship fractured by a betrayal of trust its like throwing weight into the boat. Every time you experience another betrayal and throw more weight in that boat, it gets weaker until cracks appear and it splits into pieces. When that moment comes and your last ounce of strength and bravery to step into trust is lost, you shut down completely. The who, what, where and when doesn’t matter in the slightest. You have gone into self-preservation mode and sentenced vulnerability to stand behind skyscraper-tall iron doors.
I think we would all agree that none of us longs for the lonely seclusion that exists in a life lead in a path of distrust and pain. But how do we keep our hearts soft and hopeful through every turn of life’s circumstances?
How do we walk wisely in a truly daring amount of trust?
I’m talking about a quantity and quality of trust that could only be given by someone whose heart is already undoubtedly completely held and cared for by Jesus Christ. This is what we are after; this is where we can grasp freedom that lies in having an honest vulnerable heart.
The primary step in learning how to place your trust wisely is to take a good look at your relationship with God. Everything in your life is affected by this central relationship between you and Him. If you can walk confidently trusting Him with your life, then you will be more open and trusting towards the people around you, because you know you are always secure in the loving hands of your Father.
If you notice continual areas in your life where you struggle to give your life completely into God's hands, ask yourself and Him why. Working through the process of allowing God to show you what is keeping you from growing closer to Him is a necessary step to receiving freedom and deeper trust. This is a good habit to get into because there are always going to be issues that try to creep in and pull you away from His presence.
Remember, His affection for you is an unfathomably mighty force, always cradling your heart with the most committed love. God is always trustworthy.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11
When you are living each day entrusting the entirety of who you are to God, you can live a life filled with healthy, strong relationships.
Relationship building is a big part of your life, so making sure you diligently care for those relationships is incredibly significant. If you are dealing with a history of broken trust and hurt, there is no relationship that can fully heal your heart from that pain except the relationship between you and God. If you are expecting something of someone else that only God could do for you, it will only strain the relationship you have with that person and cause more hurt and confusion.
When you are opening up your heart to someone, and have already committed your heart into God's hands, take the time to get to know that person's character. If someone has shown you their character and you believe they are kind and trustworthy, trust them. But it is important to remember to set boundaries.
Boundaries are very different than walls. Walls shut people out of your life, while boundaries set a healthy pace as you get to know someone better or a healthy distance if someone has already shown you they are not trustworthy. Boundaries should be set depending on each individual person though, not across every one of your relationships. For example, you may have to limit how much you share with some people.
I recommend following the “actions speak louder than words” advice. Pay attention to the way the person speaks about others to you. If she is saying hurtful things about someone else to you then she is likely to share hurtful things about you to someone else. Also, beware of sharing intimate details of your life or story with someone who lives a lifestyle of gossip or someone who feels a need to compete with you or put you down.
But it’s important to recognize that most people, like you, are longing for healthy relationships with people they can open up to and trust. Don't go into a relationship guarded and focusing on what could go wrong or how you could get hurt. Optimism, hope, and innocence will always be strikingly beautiful and full of immense value. They are worth holding onto and living out despite the “could be” disappointments in life.
If you feel God pressing on your heart to share something with someone, then share it - it might be just what that person needs to hear. Always trust the Holy Spirit when He speaks to you. Even if it turns out that the person does not act righteously with the information you shared; obeying God's voice will always be worth any difficulty that follows.
Trust will always have an element of risk to it. Trust requires vulnerability from you and that can be scary, but if you refuse to open your heart to trusting others then you are blocking yourself from healthy, beautiful relationships that you want and need.