Learning the Skills of Trust

“Sometimes you have to help people make another organization successful.” – Dr. John Townsend

Boundaries are about one thing – guarding your heart because God has given you a mission.  Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”  Your heart is the place of values, thoughts, feelings, decisions, time, energy, etc.  Boundaries are not about selfishness, but about stewardship.

There are two types of boundaries – definition boundaries and protective boundaries.  Definition Boundaries are about Who I am and Who I am not.  If you’re not defined then you will lose a lot of energy.  The psalmists are often well defined people.  They can maintain who they are in the midst of their circumstances without losing sight of who God is.

Protective Boundaries are necessary for leading a productive life and guarding the heart.  These are the boundaries we draw with other people in order to protect our heart.  By not practicing healthy boundaries we often avoid people altogether and create emotional deficits.  The vacuum of people in our lives cannot be filled only with God because we were created for God and people.

Beginning to trust again involves several learnable skills.  First, ask yourself if you have learned the lesson.  In other words, can you answer the question, What was my contribution to the hurt?  (For example, I was afraid to have a voice, I allowed little things to pile up and become a big thing, I maintained defensive hope, I tried to rescue.

Second, ask yourself, Is the offending party getting the right anti-body?  We have all been hurt by someone who said they would never do it again.  But, how many times have we been re-hurt by that same person?  Before investing again we need to make sure they are investing.  For example, if we are dealing with a dishonest person is he surrounding himself with honest people?  If a controlling person, is he surrounding himself with people who value freedom?

Finally, we need to ask ourselves, Are they trustworthy?  While we are called to love everyone, we are not called to trust everyone.  Love is free, but trust is earned.  Ask yourself, Is she concerned about the impact she made on me?  If not, she is probably not trustworthy yet.  Is she connected to growers?  What company does she keep?  Who is holding her accountable?  If you are the only one investing in her then it probably won’t work.  She has to make her life available to others, as well.

Take the Steps to Heal a Relationship

  1. Have the Talk – You have to articulate the reality of the relationship, the good, the bad and the ugly.  This is a time to be honest about your reservations and to ask them what their plan is for moving forward.  They have to have a plan!
  2. Be ready to deal with the speed bumps.  They aren’t train wrecks, but they might feel like it.  Be honest when you’re feeling this way and allow God’s perfect love to cast out fear.

The Hebrew word for trust means to be careless or unedited.  With whom can you be unedited?


(This post is a compilation of notes taken during a lecture given by Dr. John Townsend at the FAM Conference, May 10, 2012.  They do not necessarily represent my thoughts or opinions.)


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