Subtle Shifts and Trusting People

I was writing a letter to a friend last night1 and I wrote something about how I am able to recognize subtle shifts in my mood, and my thinking. Like, how I was so busy last week that I barely had time to think about anything else, and now that things are winding down, I suddenly find a lot of free brain cells that started thinking of things again.

Being aware of these subtleties and these shifts is a blessing, because I can force myself to slow down and eventually, stop. Over thinking is my number one sin to myself, and this awareness helps me stop it before it starts. I realized that when I go on that mode, I become a selfish little brat because I tend to think that everything is about me. Things are happening (or aren’t happening) because of me. People are mad at me, or are talking about me. I need to do something. I need to say something. I, I, I, me, me me. But now, I try my best to stop and remind myself: hey, it’s not always about you.

This reminds me of one of the early lessons I got back during my birthday week. Remember how I said I tend to be especially bratty when it’s my birthday month? Well, as it turns out, being bratty doesn’t always work, and is not really a good thing to do. Especially when it’s with people you care about. Maturity, and all that. Sometimes you don’t get the things you want, and you probably never will, but it doesn’t mean that everything is ruined. You just have to grin and bear it, because it’s the right thing to do.2 So I see this way of recognizing these shifts as a way of maturing, of being a grown up and in return, relating better to people.

I think one of the sure signs of maturity is being able to trust people. Not just with things or thoughts or secrets, but you know, yourself. Your heart. That’s one of the lessons I’ve been trying to learn in the past weeks. Some people who know me in real life will probably laugh at this, given that I can probably get into a conversation with anyone but the people who really know me know that this openness is my defense mechanism. I talk a lot because it gives me control of the conversation, and I get to pick what the other person knows about me. And I get to laugh about too many things, too, so I can avoid those things that can actually show my weaknesses.

I’m trying hard to get those guards down, because…well, I want to have a brave heart.  You know, a heart that isn’t afraid of vulnerability. This reminds me of this amazing TEDx talk I watched recently, thanks to one of my new favorite blogs. Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks that we need to be vulnerable if we want to truly love, and it gives me hope that maybe, I am in the right place. What I didn’t really count on is how trying to be vulnerable can just really hurt. Too much, sometimes. I know it’s not easy. Sometimes I just want to pull up my defenses again, and fight. Fight, because I don’t feel safe. Fight, because no one can hurt me first. Fight, because nothing is sure, and and I can’t handle it. Fight, because when things aren’t assured for you, you must do everything in your power to make sure it’s yours, especially when others seem to want to take what you want from you.

But fighting is exhausting. It may keep me safe, but it stresses me out. Sometimes I feel like learning to trust other people is harder than learning to trust God. It makes trusting God easy all of a sudden. Okay, maybe not easy, but easier, given the nature of who I am trusting. God is trustworthy and faithful and He has good intentions for me, so I will definitely trust him. But other people? Who knows what their intentions are? How can I trust them with even just a small piece of my heart when they can easily crush it?

I honestly have no easy answer to this, because like I said, I’m still trying to learn it. There are days when I feel so ready to trust another person and I actually really do so, but then some things change — there’s a subtle shift somewhere — and I pack up and go again. Sometimes it feels like it’s one step forward and two steps back. Sometimes, it feels like I actually got it and I can hopefully move on to the next lesson,3 and then I get hurt and I crawl back into my hole.

But I have to have courage. If I am to have a brave heart, if I am to be wholehearted, I have to learn how to trust people. To be seen and known, just as I am.

There’s a lot of adjustments, many things to learn and unlearn. It is all completely messy but also beautiful, and I think it’s just how relationships are. Right?

  1. Because you can never write enough letters. And, you always need a pen pal in your life. []
  2. And sometimes, you get something better in return. But that’s for another post. []
  3. I imagine God laughing at me whenever I think this, and then He puts a hand on my shoulder and says, “Not quite yet, my daughter.” []

The Question that Matters

Also known as: Because I need this reminder until further notice


When I started staying in the dorm back in college, I experienced what my college friends and I called “liberating moments”. I was an achiever back in high school, so getting good grades were pretty easy, but in college it became ten times harder so I became one of your average Janes as far as grades are concerned. I managed to keep my head above water during my first two years. Sure, I had two failing marks, but they were because the subjects were just so difficult. Then I started dorming and I noticed that I seemed to care less about my studies and more about org stuff and fun times.

Then I saw my midterm grade for Biology, a minor subject — it was a failing mark. And it shook me out of my liberating moment. So, in an effort to get serious, I decided to hang some signs at the dorm that said: I LOVE BIO. Then on my laptop, I switched the wallpaper from something cutesy to a black, plain one that states: MAG-ARAL KA.1

I think it worked, because I passed Bio. The next term I switched to another wallpaper, this time it said,I’m too blessed to be stressed, because I had too many activities ongoing for me then.

So, after that long introduction, I realize that I should do something like that now so I would remember the One question that I really need to answer now:

Do you trust Me?

(more…)

  1. Translation: YOU SHOULD STUDY. Or better yet, STUDY NOW. []

A Lesson on Trust

Also known as: Trust issues of some sort

Lately, I’ve been wondering if maybe I chose the wrong word for my year. There is nothing wrong with love, of course. It’s just that in my prayers in the past few days, I seem to be praying for trust. Every. Single. Day.

Image from we heart it

Lord, please give me the courage to trust. The grace to wait for Your will, to trust that You know what You’re doing. Please help me to trust You completely.

I don’t think I have trust issues — I think my friends can attest to that. Sometimes I think I may even be too trusting, at least, with the things I say. As far as the things I do, or the things that needs to be done, that’s where I falter. My being single independent has taught me to learn how to do things on my own, and be happy on my own. Not that there’s anything wrong with that either, but it’s always been some sort of assuring to be in control of things, to know what I can and cannot do, and to know that there’s no one else to blame if anything fails.

So…okay, fine, maybe there’s a bit of trust issue there. I know deep in my heart that I should trust God and His plans, but sometimes, it’s just so hard. Especially on times when there are some things that I really, really, really want, and when there are so many things I know that I can do (or at least, try to do) to get the thing I want. Even just for a little while.

But I’m afraid. Of what, exactly? Of messing up, of missing the lesson, of not seeing the big picture. I’m afraid of the repercussions, I’m afraid of messing things up again, and being back to square one and realizing that things could have gone so much better if only I had learned to trust.

And so I pray for trust. More trust, every single day.

Because here’s the thing. If I do it my way, if I do it the way the world tells me I should do it, then I would probably have what I want….for a little while. Okay, sure, there’s a chance that for a little while might not be true, but what’s the guarantee, right? And why would I be satisfied with having the thing I want for a little while? Why can’t I have it for real and for good?

My God promises so much more than that, and I should know that because He has proven it so many times in my past 26 years. The many times I trusted were the ones that bore the most fruit, the ones that made me realize how much His ways are just so much better than mine. The Europe trip that was born from the failed Australian dream. The dream job that I got after the second time I tried for it again. The new-old house after we were ravaged by a flood. All those other times when He has been completely faithful to me even if I wasn’t completely faithful to Him.

And so I pray for the grace and courage to trust Him at all times. It’s easy to trust Him when things are okay, but when things are uncertain? When you have no idea what will happen if you move or not move, and you can only hope that things don’t turn out bad either way?

And so I pray. And keep quiet (or try, anyway).

But let me get back to that word for the year. Maybe all these prayers for the grace to trust is a stepping stone for me to really understand what love is. I mean, God is love, right? And if I want to learn and live out what love really and truly is, then it follows that I would also know who God really is. Or at least, as much as my human mind and heart can learn. I guess you can’t learn how to really love without also learning how to trust, even if it means that it would hurt sometimes. I guess they’re one of those virtues that just goes hand in hand and you can’t really separate them.1

And didn’t St. Paul say that love “…always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres?

So yeah. I don’t think I’ll stop from praying for trust anytime soon. But I don’t think I’ll change my word of the year either (a little too late for that, anyway :P).

Dear Lord, please grant us the grace and courage to trust and love at all times.

  1. Oh but sure, you can trust someone without loving them, really…but the kind of love I know and want to know is the love that goes out to everyone, no matter how hard it is to love them, or even if there is no “need” to love them. But that may be for another post []