On Trusting People

Newsflash: we live in a world that favors disorder.

Constant change is exhausting, but that’s the setting of this life. We are constantly making plans, and having those plans change. It’s a decision to commit, but then to be flexible. Two people make an agreement, and then that agreement changes. Depending on which end of the deal you’re usually on, I can guarantee there’s some bitterness or shame. It can be so minute. It can be nearly undetectable, or completely wreak havoc, depending on the importance of the agreement.

I’ve had a lot of agreements fall through.
Important things.
Unspoken things.
Coffee grabbing.
Lunch dates.
Staff meetings.
Phylla House-related stuff.
Failures that make people wince and hope for a change of subject.
I get canceled on, stood up, delayed, left waiting, and I am often running late, discouraged, too busy, and too tired. This is “normal” for me. Sometimes it is a normal I am not comfortable with, and parts of it I know are just the process. I am learning how to rest. I am learning how to say no. I am learning how to draw my strength from the Lord and not rely on my own. Yet, in this process, I get tired of people. I get tired of plans. I want to unplug and shut down and hide. I want to stop making plans, responding, receiving.

In the middle of it all, there has to be a continuous process of restoration and reconciliation with the concept of trust.

Disappointment is one of the possible outcomes of trusting.

Depending on how much you trust people, things, stuff, disappointment becomes more and more likely, if not completely unavoidable.

You are trusting imperfect stuff. Imperfect people. Imperfect things.

Let’s be realistic here for a second:: how ridiculous would we be if we expected perfection out of imperfect, flawed stuff? If we expected 100% when that’s actually IMPOSSIBLE.

People fail. Cars fail. Jobs fail. Leaders fail.
The weather, the immune system, the school system, the post office, the Broncos…


Yet we don’t stop trusting. We don’t stop making plans.
We don’t stop showing up, because disappointment is one outcome of trust, but it’s not the only outcome.

We have to choose to have grace for changes, and to brace ourselves for their possibility.
Every coffee date, every lunch meeting, every staff meeting, every scheduled shift, every deadline, every good intention, every important thing that depends on stuff that fails… it could change, it could cancel, it could be delayed, deferred, or disregarded. It shouldn’t shock you every time.

What do you do with that reality?

Do you allow yourself to be angry with people? Do you judge them as flakes, as unreliable? Do you judge yourself and put shame on yourself when you can’t come through with an agreement? Do you allow resentment and bitterness to creep up?

The tiniest change of plans, stacked with another little change, and another, and another… it can build, and weigh down in your heart. It can change the lens through which you see the world. It can shut you off from the beautiful thing that is to trust.

You have an anchor for your soul in Christ.
He is truth.
He does not lie.
He is good.
He is not into confusion.
He shows up.
He makes unchanging plans.
He sings over you.

Fill up on the unfailing nature of God.
His unfailing love, His perfect peace, His faithfulness.

In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
-Psalm 56:4

Then brace yourself for another go at taking people at their word, making plans, trying your best, and offering a gracious response when agreements fall through. Let them see that you have your trust tank on full, and that the disappointments of this world, whether they are on our part or on theirs, do not take away from the delight that it is to trust, to love, to try. What can this world do to you?

Soon enough, you’ll find yourself loving people through their weaknesses, and seeing them through their illnesses. You realize that the plans you made have been divinely interrupted so you can learn to offer grace to people when they let you down. And isn’t that the promise of God? That we share in Christ’s comfort as well as His suffering? That we grow in compassion, patience, and courage?

We are becoming more and more like Jesus when we choose to keep no record of wrongs, when we choose to bravely trust, fully aware that disappointment is a likely outcome. Jesus was disappointed a lot. I’m sure He was more disappointed than any of us. He understands how it feels, and He set a good example. He didn’t give up on people.

We embrace the likeliness of disappointment for the sake of growing in grace.

We choose to reconcile our hearts to the God-glorifying risk that is to love and to trust, knowing He is the only Unfailing, knowing He will hold us, anchor us when others let us down or when we ourselves fall short of our word.

5 thoughts on “On Trusting People

  1. This is beautiful Helena! I think that ESPECIALLY in regards to breaking trust (being on either side) is something that we allow to build up and build up and then years down the road realize that we can no longer trust. I’ve always thought that I was a person who trusted well but I’ve come to learn that it’s a lie. That I don’t trust well. I don’t allow others close enough to trust.

    And it all goes back to Him.

    Thanks for the reminder lovely.


  2. In the end, all that matters is our Love: the divine Love our Jesus has for us and helps us have for one another… From your mother, a quote by Mother Teresa:

    “I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.”

    Mamae 🙂


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