Posts Tagged ‘Trust’

Overcoming Distrust Within Families

December 16, 2016

When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.

Not only had Joseph and Mary not lived together, yet, but they also must not have engaged in some of that “heavy making out” without actual intercourse. There was no physical way Mary could have become pregnant–at least by Joseph.

So Joseph’s first reaction was disbelief. The only possible thing that could have happened was illegal, immoral, unethical.

Imagine she comes to him. “I got pregnant. I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but God said it was through the Holy Spirit.”

“Riiiggghhhhttt” he said.

But then he’s visited in a dream. It’s OK, go ahead and marry her.

So, in a normal marriage, how often would the wife remind her husband about that initial distrust? Weekly? Daily?

But there is no indication of any further marriage problems. We hear almost nothing about Joseph. Couple of mentions. We have a lot of useless speculations. But when we don’t know, we don’t know.

But I thought how great it is to be open to new revelations. We never know when we’ll hear a whisper, have a dream, get slapped up against the side of the head to get our attention by the Spirit?

If we are open even though it forces us to reconsider our opinions and prejudices, we listen.

Yesterday I talked about mindfulness. Being present in mind when we’re present in body. This is part of it. If we slow down and are present to the possible whispers of the Spirit, the whole trajectory of our life can change.

Running Harder, Going Nowhere

December 5, 2016

Did you ever feel like you’re just spinning around in circles going nowhere?

Unlike the TV ad, I’m going to take this deeper.

There is a project management phrase we used to repeat–the faster I go, the behinder I get.

Sometimes we work hard, and good. We do good work. We follow the rules. People respect us. We have a good life–plenty of “stuff”.

And yet…We can’t get no Satisfaction.

Jesus was approached one day by a young man. “How can I inherit eternal life?” he asked.

You know the rules, follow them. “I have followed every one, faithfully, ever since I was a youth.” (Did we say he was a young man?)

We know he was rich. We know that he was a rule-follower. He probably thought of himself as sinless.

But “satisfaction?” He had none.

That happens to us, doesn’t it?

We really crave relationship. Above all, relationship with God (that’s the “eternal life” part of the question). But something blocks us. Sometimes we can’t put our finger on just what the problem is.

In this man’s life it was his stuff. Jesus advised getting rid of his stuff for the benefit of the poor. Then following. Following means developing a relationship of student to mentor. You learn from your mentor. You emulate your mentor. And you become like your mentor.

Are we having trouble following our mentor/teacher? Developing that learning relationship? Are we not getting that satisfaction?

Then we need help discovering what stuff we’re dragging along with us. Sometimes it’s just that we think we can do it all ourselves. Hint: we can’t. Each of us needs a guide to follow.

You don’t necessarily have to sell everything. That was the problem with this man. But you can use your wealth for good. For example, the Tijuana Christian Mission City of Refuge ministry is in great need of funds to make the last of the changes required by a recent law. It still needs to raise about $20,000 (US). Go to its Facebook page and donate. Thank you.

Do What You Say; Say What You Mean

December 2, 2016

Did you ever end a phone call where the other person said, “I’ll get right on that and call you back shortly” knowing that there was never going to be a return call?

How about when Jesus was walking somewhere and met 10 individuals with a terrible skin disease? He told them to go show themselves to a priest. That meant that they would be healed of the disease and the priest would give them a certificate of cleanliness. And one of them came back to say thanks. And Jesus said, “Were there not 10 who were healed? Where are the other nine?”

One of them returned to complete the loop with thanks.

I was in my favorite little coffee place this week and recalled that a guy had called me and said he’d see me sometime in the coffee shop for some consulting (for free, of course). But he has never come.

The number of people who have said they would get back to me has numbered in the hundreds in my career in business, church work, and non-profit work.

It’s like an epidemic.

Must be one reason why Jesus said at one point, “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’.

Do what you say; Say what you mean.

A basic rule for getting along in society. Don’t be the person with the reputation of never following up. Be the person who calls when they say they’ll call, otherwise they tell you frankly that it’ll be a while or that they can’t get to it. Better to say “find someone else” than to leave them waiting.

Pray With Intention And Trust

September 1, 2016

It was just a simple movement. Stretching across the driver’s seat to put some stuff on the passenger seat before I left for a business meeting in Cleveland. In that instant, my quadriceps muscle popped. I was on my back in the garage with the greatest pain I’ve ever felt.

Six years ago today. My first ambulance ride. First stay in a hospital since I was born.

You know, the pain was terrible. I remember being in pain. I don’t really remember the pain. Remarkable thing, our memories.

Thus began a series of unconnected events over the ensuing three years where stress affected my heart and I walked away from a couple of good-paying jobs.

An acquaintance told me sometime back there to pray with intention. Pray that God will open doors. Pray that people will come into my life when I or they need it.

And trust in God.

It’s amazing.

When I need some income, a project comes my way. When I was looking for a ministry, one came my way. People come into my life at just the right time.

The key must come from living life with intention. We don’t want to drift from situation to situation at the whim of whatever current swirls by. Choosing our intention is an ultimate freedom. Otherwise we are a slave to others’ suggestions or to our own emotions and desires.

Pray with intention and trust in God.

It’s All About Trust

July 11, 2016

Once upon a time I was entrusted with thousands of dollars from two soccer referee associations. There were few checks and balances. That always bothered me. This is not a confession. I was careful with the money. But one of my colleagues many years ago made off with tens of thousands of dollars before it came to light.

There’s a lot of cash floating around in our economy. Much of it flows to organizations that operate with volunteer leadership. The New York Times recently ran an article about people who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from their youth sports clubs. It can happen in churches, service clubs, school support organizations.

These are trusted people. But they got into personal financial trouble. Often due to gambling. Sometime personal circumstances–divorce, lost job, medical bills.

Leadership begins with trust. But trust must be earned again every day.

Every story of leadership and leadership theory I read has trust as the foundation–whether explicitly stated or not.

It goes deeper. I’ve talked with many people in the aftermath of affairs. Many of those don’t realize the damage done to their trustworthiness. See, it’s not just money, but when you are trusted in a relationship, too.

How would you like to have a job like a policeman where you have trouble trusting anyone? With all the guns carried openly, how are they to know if they can trust that the gun won’t be turned on them? Or us, when we see the guns around?

You’d like to trust everyone. Many of us grew up in small towns where trust was the cement that held the society together.

I’d hate to live life as a cynic, distrusting everyone. On the other hand, if I’m in an organization, I would want to see trust with oversight. Just to be responsible.

What Behavior Does Your Leadership Encourage

July 1, 2016

James and John went to Jesus privately at the urging of their mother. They wanted to ask for the two top positions in the kingdom Jesus was going to start. Jesus wasn’t impressed. He stopped that sort of political backstabbing at the beginning.

My wife taught third grade for many years. Believe it or not, she did not like it when kids would come running up to her, “Mrs. Mintchell, did you know what [fill in kid’s name] did?”

Why did the kids do that? Same reason as the big guys. They were trying to make themselves look good often at the expense of others of their colleagues.

Two or three times in my career people have spread “stuff” around on me. One boss came to me once and asked, “Did you know that [x] has been going to the president complaining that you don’t have enough work to do?”

It bothered me, but taking the longer view, I knew both companies were tanking. It just gave me incentive to hit the job market before everyone else.

But what if there had been a new president who came in to turn things around? Part of her plan would be to form teams where people collaborated on projects. Just how much collaboration will we do when we’ve been in a culture of “tattling” and other such back-stabbing activities?

We know today that companies and organizations that thrive are those that build an environment where people are comfortable with each other and are free to collaborate and share.

  • Do we stop people who wish to manipulate us with out-of-bounds requests?
  • Do we weed out those who strive to make others look bad
  • Do we react to such gossip?
  • Do we let things go, afraid to act on it?

If we start to sense a lack of trust and collaboration in the organization, maybe it’s a signal to start evaluating our own leadership.

Leaders-Be Real

January 29, 2016

I talked a couple of days ago about how people want their conversations about Jesus to be real. Especially younger adults want their Christian leaders to be real. They don’t want hype. Or leaders who say one thing and then do another.

Taking this discussion into a more general leadership area, people whom you are trying to lead value your being real to them.

A friend told a story about an old-line manufacturing company. It was highly structured as those companies tended to be. Built by engineers who think hierarchically and structured, the company featured separation of people according to rank. For example, there was an executive dining room, a supervisors dining room, and an employee cafeteria.

A man bought the company. He abolished the tiered dining areas. Everyone ate in the same area. The new owner would walk through at lunch time and chat with anyone. He broke the barrier.

People responded. Treat people with respect, show your real side, and they will follow your lead.

Searching the scriptures for an example, my attention suddenly focused on Paul, the apostle. This guy was a fantastic leader. We don’t usually talk about that. He’s known as an evangelist (persuasive speaker), theologian, and writer.

But he founded or shepherded several churches. His letters to Timothy offer great leadership advice.

Think about his communication to the churches that he had relationships with. He had not seen some people for years. He wrote to them. He laid it all out. He wrote about his passions, his background, his troubles, his physical ailments. He was a real person. He wasn’t a preacher who hid behind an office and administrative assistant. He didn’t get up, preach with emotion, and then go live life a different way.

With Paul, what you saw was what he was. It worked. People responded. They will for you. Try transparency, build trust, show yourself as a person.

Trust And Respect Are Earned

July 3, 2015

“I should be respected because of my position,” the manager told the board out of frustration. Knowledge was even spread outside the organization of the lack of respect and trust in that manager by those inside and outside the organization.

My response was, “Respect, as with trust, must be earned. One does not have it inferred because of a high ranking position.”

Indeed, years later that individual earned that respect and trust as a leader.

There is even little respect for the office of the President of the United States judging by my Facebook “news” feed. If the President cannot command respect due to his position, being even subject to lies and slander, how much respect can your committee chair demand from that position?

Do you do what you say? That is the key question leading to trust. Beyond that, do you act and decide ethically considering the situations of all stakeholders? If so, then you will earn respect. 

I write this and sound like I know what I’m saying. But…it really challenges me to look back at my leadership times–both the successful and not so successful. It’s easy for me to access my memory of former bosses, company presidents, and the like. I can remember where trust and respect broke down. The challenge is when my actions went over the top or when I was quiet when I should have spoken.

How often have I fallen short! It does no good to point to others when I am challenged. If someone loses my respect and trust, I tend to just drift away (or run as fast as possible).

Perhaps there are two tasks for us. First, we need to always be aware of the impact of our decisions and actions. Second, we could find someone drifting the wrong direction in this situation and mentor them back onto the road to trust and respect.

Developing Trust From Others

February 5, 2015

Trust. One simple word scrawled on the page. I carry a small notebook almost everywhere I go. When ideas come from whatever source, I make a note. If they are worth saving, I take a picture with my iPhone and the Evernote app and save the page to Evernote.

For some reason I thought I should write about trust.

Trust, in itself, is not a spiritual discipline. It is the result or byproduct of living with-God and practicing spiritual formation.

Having the trust of your colleagues is crucial to an effective leader. Think about leaders with whom you have served–those you trusted and those you didn’t. Are you like me and still shudder when the mere thought of one of those latter leaders pops into consciousness.

Trust is a belief in the reliability of someone. Have you ever heard the phrase, “How you act speaks so loudly that I can hear what you say”? It’s when what you do and what you say are congruent.

In the Bible, trust is used exclusively in regard to God. God is the one who can be believed to be reliable beyond all others.

About 70 leaders in our church gathered last Saturday to study from “Crucial Conversations” a book written to help people not escalate problems when a conversation turns serious. I guess I thought then that it would be hard to have a crucial conversation with someone whom you don’t trust. At that point, it’s too late and you’ve lost.

What am I saying? When I teach spiritual practices, does my life reflect that I actually do them? When have I promised and not followed through?

The Acts 2 church grew because people were attracted to the way they lived. Would anyone be attracted to my church or fellowship because of the way I (we) live?

As my meditation on this word ends this morning, I’ve concluded that this isn’t one of those bullet point sort of lessons. I can’t give five easy steps to earn trust. All I can say is to look back at the end of every day and reflect on when you were congruent and when you weren’t. Then resolve to do more of the first tomorrow.

Finding One In Which To Trust

December 8, 2014

I was “acting secretary” for a meeting yesterday as the committee was considering revision of several policies. There was a proposed revision. The committee discussed the proposal and achieved consensus.

The changes written in a Microsoft Word document were saved to one of those USB data sticks. Sometimes called “thumb drives,” these ubiquitous little devices are used for storing and sharing data.

I saved everything on the stick. Removed it and put it in my computer so that I could clean up the draft and prepare for publishing on our Website.

My computer didn’t recognize a drive. Jeff’s computer didn’t recognize the drive. Ken’s computer didn’t recognize the drive. The drive had failed.

We trusted that little thing. It failed us at a crucial moment.

There were two aged prophets at the time we label as about 3 BCE. Simeon and Anna hung out at the Temple in Jerusalem.

You see, at that time God (YHWH) had not revealed himself in the Temple that Herod built like he had in the Temple that Solomon built.

Simeon and Anna…well, they were waiting to see God reveal himself again like he had in those days some 1,000 years before. They were convinced that God had told them that they would see His glory before they died.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem. At the time appointed by the Law several days later, Joseph and Mary took the baby to the Temple to be dedicated. Simeon and Anna saw the baby independently.

They each said that now they had seen the glory of the Lord revealed in that baby and now they could die in peace.

God could be trusted. Even after all those years. He chose Jesus as the way He would reveal Himself and His glory to the world.

God can still be trusted. He’s not a cheap data stick. He still works.

That’s part of Advent. Waiting to see the Glory of God revealed. That’s what we celebrate.

PS. By the way, I returned home and recreated the changes. I am a reporter by profession. It’s my job to remember important things. But there are people (well a wife) who remind me that my memory is not perfect like God 😉