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“And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.”  – Exodus 14:31 (NIV)

Trust is a very deep and mysterious thing and yet it something that we do every day to some degree. Without trust our lives would be in tatters. We trust everything from cars to computers, bus schedules to customer care employees. When you think about it trust is also risky. By trusting others, we can open ourselves up to hurt and disappointment.

Seven years ago today, September 1, 2009, I made a choice to trust someone with personal issues in my life that were beyond my own resources. The details are not as important as the lessons that resulted from that decision.

 In reviewing the story in Exodus 14 where Moses, under God’s direction led the children of Israel out of Egypt, safely through the Red Sea from the flight of the Egyptian army we find a very interesting statement.

At the close of this crucial chapter the text says, “The people feared the LORD and put their trust in Him and in Moses his servant.”

Trust is critical to our relationships both with God and others. As a Christian, in my work with other followers of Jesus, rarely do people argue the fact that we should be trusting God. However, the stronger pushback comes when we start talking about trusting others around us.

Trust is a matter of the heart and we don’t like having our hearts crushed, yet all meaningful relationships are built on mutual trust.

I’m sure that over time, the Israelites found God to be more trustworthy than Moses. However, I’m coming to see that we can’t fully say we are trusting God without being able to trust key people whom God has placed in our lives.

There are several “Moses” figures in my life and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not fully trusting God if I’m not trusting them at some level.

Seven years ago today, I took a step of faith by trusting a friend with things I had never spoken about to another living individual. Admittedly it was a risk, and there were many issues that flowed from my decision to trust another living soul with my “stuff.”

I have since regretted many of my life choices in the past, however, I have never regretted the decision to trust God and another person He had hand-placed in my life.

Looking back over the last seven years here are a few life lessons that will remain with me always as a result of my decision to trust God and a “Moses” in my life –

  •  Vulnerability and Relational growth – As a result of my decision I eventually discovered that I was robbing myself and others of the “real” me that was hiding behind a curtain, too scared to come out. These years later perhaps more people around me get to see the “real” me with fewer masks.
  • A Confidence that God is work in my life – Previously I was trying to be the best version of about five or six people whose lives I was sure were “better” than mine. I stopped trying to be my version of other people and instead trust God with who I really was and was becoming.
  • Transformation and the Inner lifeIn these years I discovered that everything in our lives really flows from the inside out. Jesus once said of men that “from the overflow of the heart, his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 NIV) Cultivating our inner life is the means whereby God meets us at deep levels. Life circumstances may shape us but deep change in one’s life is from inside out, not the reverse.

I can speak from personal experience that trusting God and others made all the difference in my own life and even though it’s a difficult road I’m grateful for the growth.

Who are the “Moses figures” that God has placed in your life that you need to be trusting?

We don’t grow unless we’re vulnerable with someone we can trust. It goes without saying that we can’t trust everyone but we do have to trust someone. We often find out the hard way that we can’t trust everyone and we can often get caught out.

Was there ever a cook who has never been burned in the kitchen? Most good cooks I know had their share of wounds but bandaged them, went back to the kitchen and ended up being quite successful at what they did. They grew despite the pain of the wounds.

We should always be discerning when it comes to trust. We may never trust everyone that we should but we’ll certainly not develop as healthy individuals without trusting someone. Perhaps in doing so we’ll be safe and trustworthy ourselves, even a “Moses” in the making.

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My thoughts on healthy acceptance of what we cannot change in life

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” – Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV)

A New Resolve: “I cannot change the person I was created to be. To live well I must develop a healthy sense self-acceptance and self-compassion.”

Have you ever considered the question – “If I weren’t myself, who would I like to be?”

I’m sure at times we all go through stages of wondering what life would be like if we were actually walking in someone else’s shoes. I know I do.

For those of us raised on the western hemisphere there is a huge amount of pressure put upon us to “develop ourselves” and reach our full potential as human beings. To a degree this can be a healthy thing. I’m certainly a fan of personal development and life-long learning.

We can also become so dissatisfied with life that we loathe the person that we are. We can excuse our own behavior because we feel cheated in some way that we didn’t inherit the gifts and abilities that people who are successful seem to have. It’s a difficult thing not to compare ourselves to others even at the best of times.

For some of us who have been raised by parents who perhaps struggled with their own identity we can be subject to messages of shame and get the idea that life would be a whole lot better if we were someone other than who we actually are.

Over the past several years I’ve been grappling with the possibility that for many years of my life I really didn’t like myself very much. If I’m honest there’s probably more things about myself that I would like to change rather than living out my true identity of who I was created to be.

On the other hand, the Psalmist quoted above bursts out in gratitude to God when he reflects on how God made and designed him. He says, “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

How often do we stop to thank God for how we are made and designed? This is the poetry of self-acceptance.

It means –

Accepting and valuing myself as a Creation of a personal God

Accepting my own strengths as well as my weaknesses

Accepting my personality as God crafted it

Accepting my gifts, knowing that I have unique abilities just as much as anyone else

Accepting my physical limitations and my humanity (no one is actually Superman!)

In recent years there has been some excellent research and writing done on the subject of shame and self-compassion. Studies have shown that those who have a greater degree of compassion for others are first of all compassionate with themselves.

It’s fortunate that we now live in an era when self-awareness is seen as a value. By taking an honest view of ourselves we can actually learn to be less critical of ourselves and then extend that insight to others.

I’m learning that a harsh and unaccepting approach to myself will, like a form of contagious cancer, spread to others around me. But an honest appreciation of myself as God created me to be can only be beneficial to me as well as to others.

Would that we all could share the same attitude as the Psalmist who exclaimed, Thank you, God, for making me just as You did. You knew what you were doing! How can I argue with that?” (paraphrase mine!)

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