Strong in the Broken: Learning Trust, Embracing Vulnerability

Today’s Strong in the Broken post comes from Y.P., someone I have immense respect for in her life and work, living in a foreign country far outside her comfort zone where she takes daily relational risks and is learning to trust. I think we all face this battle of choosing whether to listen to (possibly) rational fears or to take a chance. Here’s a glimpse into Y.P.’s process.

For some reason I grew up believing that once you learn to differentiate between which people to trust and which ones not to, you’d be set for life. Turns out, I’m still not set. Not sure I ever will be.

Trust is a bigger battle than I imagined. To stay vulnerable when everything inside of you tells you to back up, to remain trusting when everyone tells you to wall-up, to maintain a tender heart when the world tells you to harden.

You can call me naïve, and you won’t be the first one. I do trust a lot of people to have good intentions. I trust that if someone offers me a ride, they mean it. That they don’t want to drive me out to no-man’s-land and rape and kill me. I trust that if someone asks where I live, they don’t want to come to my house at night and set it on fire. I trust that if someone stops to talk to me, they do just want to converse a little in English. I trust that if someone asks me a personal question, they are interested in me. That they don’t want to shame me publicly based on what I tell them.

This comes with a high price. It’s always more costly to choose to share my stories than to stay silent or switch topics. It always takes more energy to engage with someone who has hurt me before than to stay away from them. It takes a lot out of me to be ‘naïve’ if that’s your word of choice.

Especially in a climate where suspicion is a virtue.

My brain doesn’t want me to trust. Something wants to see evil and danger everywhere and to find excuses for why I shouldn’t trust. My brain quotes books and news headlines and other people’s horror stories, and it rehashes my own past experiences. It tells me, “Watch out. Bad things have happened before. They will happen again. I told you so.”

This fear wants me to put everyone into boxes with the labels, either: ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe’.

Yet my God is a God of second chances. And fifth. And seven-times-seventieth. God doesn’t act based on past painful experiences, hurts, or disappointments. So who am I to live that way?

And I find God constantly whispering into my ear, over the sound of fears, “trust again, I know you can do it!” And so, at least I try. Because He knows what He’s talking about. And He doesn’t do boxes, certainly not of fear.