Top 'o the morning to you. Let's do this new year thing right. In the first few weeks of 2014, you'll find me posting five times on better ways to be in the new year. Each of them hinges on the knowledge that "the Lord is here," that the ongoing presence of Jesus in us causes us to live and interact differently with ourselves, with our world and with those closest to us.
Post #1: choose empathy over sympathy.
Post #2: put the Word in.
Post #3: learn something new.
And now for post #4: inspire trust from others.
A few weeks back, the husband and I were sitting around at a Christmas gathering and we were discussing how to encourage and disciple some beautiful people in the 18-29 year old age category. And the message from the twenty-somethings in the room was this: we don't trust you because we are coming from a broken place where it is not safe to trust that our families are intact or that things are as they should be.
And it felt like they were saying, we don't trust you, but it's not about you.
And then this wise and gracious woman in her early 70s, a woman that I seek to emulate, said something out loud that's still lingering in our memory.
It's not their job to trust me. It's my job to let them know that I can be trusted, that I am trustworthy.
Pretty much changes your whole perspective, doesn't it?
For three and a half years I showed up at a residential home for women in addiction recovery and facilitated a Sunday evening Bible study. It rocked my world in the best possible way.
Every once in awhile another leader or I would have to cancel and not show up. It didn't happen very often, but when it did, I would hear things like this: "You guys didn't show up last week," sometimes with arms crossed in the delivery. "Where were you? We needed you."
I would gently explain, sometimes with a laugh, that sometimes things happen and we need a break, too. In my mind, I sometimes thought we weren't appreciated, that they didn't want us to be human.
But I was dead wrong.
They wanted us to be human in the best possible way; they wanted us to be the type of human that would not deeply disappoint them, that would love them and not leave them.
Because so many of them knew so few people like this. Especially those they would trust with their deepest spiritual and emotional baggage.
Show me I can trust you! they were screaming. Be the kind of caregiver who says she loves me and actually proves it by her actions. Don't bail on me.
Every once in awhile one of them would just come out and say something like this: "You're getting too close to me and I want to push you away. I can't handle it, but I know I need this group. I don't know what to do."
And the thing that needed to be done the most was for me to show up again the following week, loving them and lingering in their presence. I would tell them over and over again, "You are God's beloved, you are the one that Jesus loves, and he delights in you." And the words were important, but they were absolutely meaningless without that love and delight being tested and shown through me.
So what I am saying is keep showing up, remember that the world and our families and relationships are broken, and that to really be the hands and feet of a loving Savior you will need to show others that they can trust you, that you are trustworthy.
Mercifully, Jesus is with us, friends, and he longs to show us how to do this well, how to do it patiently, and how to persistently love like he loves.
In what areas of your life would you like to show others you are trustworthy in 2014? And how?