Recently, someone I struggle to trust did something that made me question their trustworthiness even more. While it was nothing nefarious or even something I feel they did to intentionally hurt me, it still irked me. I tried to let it go and shrug it off as “not a big deal”, but it continued to eat away at me.
They weren’t happy with a decision I had made and talked about it with a dear friend of mine. Instead of expressing disappointment or frustration to me directly, they chose the path of least resistance. Then more and more people began asking me about this, causing me to obsess when all I wanted to do was let it go—I was perplexed, frustrated, and upset. I wanted to tell this person off, but I didn’t. I wanted to dig in my heels, harden my resolve, and promise to never share anything with this person again, but I didn’t.
Then I began reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, who somehow is able to peer into my very soul with every word she writes—it’s an uncanny ability.
Chapter 2 of the book is all about debunking vulnerability myths, many of which I have said before, but one myth shouted out at me more than the others: “Vulnerability is letting it all hang out”.
In this section, she shares the fact that vulnerability and trust are intricately intertwined. It’s a chicken or egg situation: you can’t have one without the other.
For my whole life, I’ve struggled with trust and thus, have struggled with vulnerability. I’ve never understood those who are able to trust right away and are willing to share intimate details about their lives without the strong foundation of relational equity. I highly respect this ability, but I’ve never understood it. For me, trust is built little by little, in the small, mundane moments of life. I’m not going to tell you about the difficulties I’m currently facing if I’m not able to first trust you with the hard stuff I’ve lived through. And I’m definitely not going to bare my soul with you if you mock me for what’s currently in my Netflix queue.
Though I’ve known trust to be built little by little, I’ve wondered for years if I’ve been doing it all wrong. Then I read Brene’s story comparing trust to a marble jar. In our relationships, we start with an empty jar and, as trust is built, we add marbles to it. When trust is broken, we take marbles out. And our capacity to be vulnerable with that other person is directly correlated to the number of marbles in the jar. These marbles are added when we are engaged and truly with the other person, and they’re removed with every act of betrayal or disengagement.
“Trust isn’t a grand gesture—it’s a growing marble collection.” p. 53
What amazes me the most about this is that Jesus is with us. He desired to be with us so much that he lived as a man for 33 years and his life wasn’t easy. Connection with those he loves was more important to him than getting the glory he deserves, the praise he is due, or the reciprocation that he is worthy of. He longed to be with us and sacrificed for it. He doesn’t force us to fill our marble jars, guilting us into it or forcing our hand. Instead, he kindly and consistently loves us whether or not we’re in a place to receive it. He never betrays or backstabs and he’s never disengaged, though sometimes it might seem like it to us.
This chapter was a precious reminder of the good and loving God we serve who was vulnerable enough to go first and is trustworthy even when I miss the mark by a mile. I’m so grateful that he will never leave me or betray me no matter how many times I try to step out on him. He is a constant in the rocky terrain of life and he doesn’t shy away when I’m vulnerable or when I’m not—he is unquestioningly worthy of my trust.
Have you read Daring Greatly?
How are you growing in trust and vulnerability?
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