Trustworthy…

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At nearly every turn, I see articles and/or books about love, friendships, and relationships but I don’t nearly as often see things written about trust.  Yet every aspect of our lives hinges on it.

Consider this… we trust that our car won’t malfunction and put us in harm’s way while we’re driving, we trust the pilot of the airplane we board to get us safely to our destination, we trust that the company we work for will pay us regularly, we trust that restaurants will serve us food that has been properly stored and prepared, we trust the medical profession to properly diagnose and treat us, we trust the bank with our money, we trust that our friends, family and/or significant other will not betray us in any way.  Trust is foundational to our lives. We all trust whether we like it or not.

We’re often not consciously aware of all the ways that we trust.  And that’s ok.  If we stopped to think every single time before we said or did something – about whether or not we should trust in that instance – life would grind to a halt.  It would actually breed two unwanted things… paranoia and fear. To coin a phrase, we would start finding a demon under every doorstop.  That wouldn’t be healthy or productive.

But the flip side of that coin is that sometimes we trust too much or our trust is misguided.  We shouldn’t trust blindly, although blind trust does have its place.  If your house is on fire and the fire fighter climbs up the ladder to the third floor to rescue you, that is not the time to insist you never trust anyone to carry  you.

One thing I appreciate the longer I live is the benefit of first hand experience.  I’ve learned that I couldn’t trust people I should have been able to trust, and I learned that if someone starts out as untrustworthy, that’s most likely the way they’re going to stay.

I also appreciate the God given gift of gut instinct.  Think of it… if someone betrays your trust, the first place you feel it is in your gut.  It’s like you’ve been kicked in the stomach.  So, while I’m aware that my gut instinct could potentially be wrong, I’m not apt to outright dismiss it.

Instinct always deserves careful consideration.

I’ve decided that the older people get, they often fall into one of two categories… they trust everyone or they trust no one.

You’ve heard about the too trusting ones.  Scam artists target them by phone and/or by e-mail.  If you act in the least way official with these people, they’ll tell you anything.  “Hi, I’m with Bank XYZ.  We inexplicably need you to verify the banking information we should already have.” So, of course, they tell you everything.  The next thing they know, their account is empty.  Or their credit is ruined.  Or both.

But, you’ve also heard of the chronically suspicious people.  They’ve never learned who or what to trust so their policy is to distrust everything and everyone.  Relentlessly.  Irrationally.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to ‘grow up’ to be either of those people.

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I have been badly burned in the trust department – as I’m sure most people have.  Some of it could have been outright predicted; some of it no one saw coming.  Regardless, it would be easy to just decide to never trust again.  After all, it usually only leads to heartache, right? That way of thinking schools us to end up like person #2.  Or we could just keep trusting everyone regardless… and become like person #1.

For me, the hardest part of choosing to trust is letting my guard down.  Allowing myself to be vulnerable is, well, kind of vulnerable.  But, I believe the experiences I’ve had in life to this point have equipped me with the knowledge to make better choices in all areas, including who I can and can’t trust.  That being said, I will probably always go to doctor’s appointments having done at least some background research. I don’t care how good the doctor is, I’m not going in there blind.  And I’ll probably continue to keep certain people at arm’s length because of damaged trust in the past… which is along the lines of eyes wide open.

But, my ultimate goal is balance.  Surrounding myself with quality people who I know I can trust implicitly.  Who I can let my guard down with.  Who I can just be me with.

It’s worth it to figure out the difference.

Trust me.  I know.

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20 questions…

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When I was growing up, I loved playing 20 questions.  After being recently nominated for the Liebster Award by francesgabriel75.wordpress.com (thank you!) – and seeing the questions that go along with it – I decided to expand the list to 20 questions, for old times sake.  I’ve always loved Q&A (as long as it’s not a test), and I’ve often thought it would be cool to be interviewed for that very reason.  So… game on…

  1. What are your reasons for writing a blog?  Self-expression is the short answer.  I’m not artistic or creative so words are what I have.
  2. What is the best thing (for you) about writing a blog?  The people that I’ve met who either stumbled on my blog or I stumbled onto theirs.
  3. What is your best quality?  Compassion.  I have the ability to put myself in other people’s shoes.
  4. What is the quality you want God to work on the most?  Oh goodness… it’s hard to narrow it down to one.  Patience is always on the list.  I think most of us could use more patience.  The main thing I pray for though is that God will make me better – whatever that is and however He sees fit for it to happen.
  5. What is your favourite place in the world and why?  My favorite place in the world is Paris, France – even though I’ve never been there.  It has history, architecture, romance, cuisine, fashion, the Eiffel Tower, and a temperate climate.  What’s not to love?
  6. How would you spend an ideal day?  For me, it’s more about who you spend it with than what you do.  Anything can be an ideal day if it’s with the right person/people.
  7. What’s the most encouraging thing you’ve ever been told?  That I’m the strongest person they know.
  8. What do you do to relax?  Take a walk, read, blog, watch TV/movies, spend time with friends/family, play word games.
  9. If you were able to meet one person (alive or dead, real or fictional) who would it be and what would you ask them?  I would like to meet Billy Graham.  I would ask him what lessons he’s learned and what, if anything, he would do differently if he had it to do over.
  10. What’s the first question you would like to ask God when you meet Him?  I’m pretty sure any questions I have will cease to matter the moment I first meet Him face to face.
  11. What makes you smile?  dogs; humour (particularly situational humour); kindness; the people I love.
  12. What makes you sad?  unkindness; tragedies; hatred; insensitivity.
  13. What motivates you?  a desire to live life to the fullest; a determination to persevere/overcome; my faith in God.
  14. How would you describe your personality?  I’m an introvert with extrovert qualities.  I can be funny and outgoing but I can also be shy and quiet.  Depends on the circumstances.  I’m loyal, caring, kind, giving, logical, smart, quirky, beat to my own drum, hard worker, peacemaker, unique, capable.  
  15. What do you least enjoy doing in life?  Dealing with conflict, doing things alone, and being late are the first 3 that came to mind.
  16. What is your favorite song?  My favorite song routinely changes but, for the past few months, I would have to say, “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave.  It has an amazing message of hope and redemption.  Lifts me up every time I hear it – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDAGCow3dsg.  I also pretty much love any song of Toby Mac’s.  “Steal my Show” is a fav right now – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KA_HoEC9ixc.
  17. What is your favorite quote and why?  My favorite quote routinely changes too but I think this one is epic… “If you found a man at the top of a mountain, he did not fall there”.  I know firsthand how true that is.  Love it!
  18. What is your favourite Bible verse and why?  The verse that speaks to me the most lately is “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” – Psalm 91:1.  It encourages me.
  19. What are some of your favourite things?  The people I love, books, good food, sushi (I’m hooked!), sunshine/heat/warmth, walking, cars, hockey, roller coasters, facts/trivia, words, humour, Snoopy, travel.
  20. What has life taught you?  I’ve learned that I can’t change the past so I shouldn’t live there.  Learn from the bad, embrace the good, be the change I want to see in the world, be an overcomer, persevere no matter what, love relentlessly, hope always, live life to the fullest, age is only a number, attitude is everything, life is hard but God is good.

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Free to be me…

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Like most people, I struggle with self-esteem from time to time.  Sometimes even extended periods of time.  But, I’ve been trying to establish a proper perspective because low or no self-esteem is our enemy.

It’s healthy to have good self-esteem.

But, recognize this… accepting yourself is not the same as having a big ego.  Not even close.

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I think the best self-esteem is instilled in us from birth by our parents but that doesn’t always happen.  After all, most of us were raised by parents who had their own struggles with self-esteem… among other things…

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So, what happens when we grow up thinking we’re not good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, talented enough, anything enough?  It’s like trying to live life with this huge weight dragging us down.  A weight we attached to ourselves.

I know what it’s like because I’ve lived it.

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Oh, it’s true that others can chip away at our self-esteem but they can only be as successful as we let them be.

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I like me.

Well, at least, I think I do.

That’s not to say there aren’t things about myself I wish were different.  I struggle with anxiety, I think too much, I lack a creativity chip, I’m not really good at any one thing, I’m not skilled at doing things with my hands, I can be too reserved, I’ve made way more than my share of mistakes in life.

I could tell you more but you get my drift.

So, I work on the things I can work on.  When I start feeling anxious, I pray.  I work to make sure that my thinking is more positive than negative.  The things I can’t change – like past mistakes – I’ve forgiven myself for.  The hardest thing I have ever done.

I’m transparent about my mistakes, weaknesses, and struggles so that others can hopefully avoid or overcome the same pain I’ve either experienced or self-inflicted.  And, some of the things I can’t change – like my talents – I don’t need to change.  No talent, gift, or ability is better than any another.  They’re only different, not better.

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All I can be is me.  I’m better at being me than anyone else.  So, I should celebrate being me.  Things like… I know a little about a lot, I’m good with words, I’m good with numbers, I like to bake, I like hockey, I like current events, I like cars, I’m reasonably smart, I have a good sense of humour, I care about people, I have a soft heart, I’m a deep thinker, I’m a hard worker, I don’t give up.

If God didn’t intend for me to be me, He would have created me to be someone else.

So, if someone doesn’t like me for me, it’s their problem, not mine.  Everyone isn’t going to like me, and that’s ok (even if it doesn’t always feel very good…).

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The greatest gift we can give others is to love and accept them just the way they are.  That doesn’t mean we will like everyone.  I don’t even think that’s a realistic expectation.  What it does mean is that we will recognize and embrace others’ individuality, and the things that make them different from us.

We’re not all the same and we’re not all meant to be.

So, be you.

Everyone else is already taken.

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