Besides being the lead pastor-teacher at 2nd Street Community Church in Newberg, OR, I also do some writing for the AfterCare work of Intervention Specialists, based out of Manhattan, NY. Today and for the next few postings I will be sharing some edited versions of these writings in my blog ... with the prayer that God can use them to move the readers who connect with them toward greater healing and restoration.
From the time we're little kids we start learning that trust has to be built. And as we follow the unwritten rules of our families, and honor the sometimes-fuzzy-boundaries of our relationships, day-by-day, through our one-at-a-time choices, trust is “banked” into the different trust accounts of our lives.
And just like the balances of actual savings accounts, our trust account balances increase and decrease based on the deposits and withdrawals made by the various people we're in relationships with.
- When people keep their word, a trust deposit is made.
- When people lie to us, a trust withdrawal is made.
- When people use words to build us up, a trust deposit is made.
- When people use their words to wound or manipulate us, a trust withdrawal is made.
- When people honor confidences, a trust deposit is made.
- When people take us for granted, a trust withdrawal is made.
But when brokenness leads us to be driven by pain instead of by conscience or reason, we easily become unaware of how overdrawn our trust accounts with have become.
When this reality is brought to our attention, it's one thing to admit what's going on and become aware of these trust account deficits ... and yet doing the next-step-work of fighting through the anger and betrayal, and the deceit and hurt of our lives and through surrender make the conscious choice to stay in the light of truth ... that's a whole 'nother story all together. And yet as these steps are taken, we graciously move toward having the pieces of our lives put back together again.
Think with me for a minute back to the story The Wizard Of Oz. After the flying monkeys attack the Scarecrow, Dorothy finds him all torn apart and asks him in a panic, "Oh, my Mr. Scarecrow, what in the world happened to you?!"
And the Scarecrow, desperate but not without hope replies while pointing to big clumps of straw scattered out in every direction in front of him, "Oh Dorothy, part of me is over there, and part of me is over there, and part of me is over there." And what does Dorothy do? She lovingly gathers up the straw and begins stuffing it back into her friend.
God's love for us is both compassionate and honest -- and it reveals to us how brokenness has torn our lives apart. And “gathering up the pieces of our lives" while speaking to us words measured equally with grace and truth, God's equipping and encouragement helps us begin taking steps into wholeness.
Learning to keep our trust account balances high, visible, and dependable is key to you and I being "put back together". And not allowing others to make more "trust withdrawls" than "trust deposits" is a good way to learn to live.
Sometimes when we begin making and maintaining these new boundaries for our lives, people who've become used to making frequent and hefty "trust withdrawls" from us freak out. If they want to follow our lead and learn new ways of living there's often a desire on the part part to make quick amends, and swiftly rebuild bridges. New promises are made. New oaths are sworn. New behavior is guaranteed. But you will know if these new goals are sincere as you begin to see [both in your life and in their's] …
- Consistency in behavior ... and
- Accountable for choices.
Consistency means “actions that are visible over a lengthy period of time”. And the greatest re-builder of the deficit in our trust accounts in the days, weeks, months and years ahead will be consistency. And the right hand of "consistency" is "accountability", for without it, "consistency" is nothing more than will-power on steriods.
Becoming accountable for one's choices isn't just a part of sane behavior; it's part of adult behavior. Accountability means, “Honestly owning our own stuff … the good, the bad and the ugly. It's the surrender of deceit so that the beauty and freedom of truth-speaking can begin to grow.” And with increased consistency usually comes a willingness to embrace increased accountability.
Is it hard to move from brokenness to wholeness ... to see trust, consistency and accountability become, not peripheral realities in our lives, but core realities? Sure it is. Of course it will take time. But as we begin seeing the choices in our lives and in those close to us reflect a desire to become consistent, and a willingness to be accountable, the trust accounts of our lives will begin to have more deposits given than withdrawals taken. And of course, that will be a very, very good thing.
Let me close this note with the words of JRR Tolkien's Gandalf The Grey from his famed book The Lord Of The Rings …
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.