Tag Archives: trust

The Power of Uwajibikaji

As we continue on our journey through the essential elements of trust. We come to uwajibikaji (u-wa-jib-ka-gee) this exotic-sounding element is key to the development of trust the world over. It’s defined as a state in a relationship where “You own your own mistakes, and you make amends.”

The English translation for Uwajibikaji is more recognisable. In English, it is accountability a word which sounds dry, stoic and very grown-up. Unlike translating it into Swahili, that suddenly adds an air of mystery that wasn’t there before!

Part of our problem with accountability is the status of those with whom we are accountable too. These are the ones we may have to, at some point, explain our actions to for good or bad.

As adults, we can forget that mistakes are an essential element of learning and are a crucial component of our emotional development.” Worse still the shame and guilt we feel over a mistake can become debilitating and freeze us at our current stage of development. It can communicate powerful shame triggers such as I am not good enough.

Living in a culture that doesn’t anticipate or except mistakes becomes an emotionally toxic place. Somewhat akin to metaphorically navigating around hidden land mines off ‘I didn’t see it’, or ‘I had no idea.’

To be clear accountability is not saying sorry for something you didn’t do or taking responsibility for other people’s mistakes. Accountability is a critical component of how we build trust within ourselves and with each other. The accountable relationship we are in needs to be carefully navigated. Being clear where the lines of power are and what is and is not ok to talk about.

A relationship of accountability can be rewarding and a source of growth and development. It can and should be a safe space, in which you can find your wings, and enable you to take a different direction if you need to.

The Paradox of Reliability

What Is It?

Reliability is a value that works both internally and externally, outwardly it might look like: ‘Reliable cars that save you time and money on repairs, Reliable mail that gets delivered on time, vendors who show up on time and of course reliable friends and colleagues who do what they say’. .- extract from 8 ways to become the most realiable person un the room. 

Reliability– You do what you say you are going to do… deliver on commitments.”- Brene Brown

Being reliable because you are getting something in return is one thing, whether that’s money or the warmth and connection of friendship. But when there is no person or system checking up on ourselves, be that a boss or fitness tracker. But being reliable to your inner needs is something else harder to pin down. 

We are wired to survive, to live and overcome, to succeed, to have lives of meaning and connection. If that is lacking, if our actual inner needs are not being met, we do the next best thing to survive, the ultimate psychological life hack. 

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Jennifer Louden calls this life hack shadow comforts. Which are activities that allow us to numb what’s really going on for us, they help us keep up appearances. What we need to do is sit amongst the light and dark of our lives and own it, acknowledge it and learn from it. 

In contrast, real comforts are never numbing, they are always loving and always something that nurtures you. Just like when a child is picked up when they are crying and held safely in their carer or parents arms until they are ok. 

As I became aware of my shadow comforts and understood how they were just a quick fix and the comfort they offered was short-lived and for me had unintended negative consequences. 

I wanted to change, I saw shadow comforts to be used in emergency only activity, so for example, if I am tired and overworked, stressed and when I am working from emotional scarcity, I will have chocolate and coffee to keep me going or play on the Xbox or go shopping. I would avoid actually meeting my real needs. I used to live on that diet and still easily slip into old habits. The result of that diet over the years is that it left me broke, spiritually, emotionally, relationally.

Through reading on this idea of reliability in particular as a group of attributes that build trust from Brene’s work, I find that not building trust with myself utterly undermines, over time, the trust built externally! 

What Can We Do? 

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Reconnect with ourselves, find somewhere quiet and safe, where you can begin that work of reconnection and self-nurture.

Whether we are, a doctor, a waiter, a methodist minister, or man, women, gay, straight, nonbinary, husband, wife, we all are swirling ball of emotions, spiritual connection, of light and dark, joy and failure, of vulnerability, and of hope, and that part deserves and ultimately demands proper attention, 

I find my personhood is rooted in a God who says I am fearfully and wonderfully made, loved and lovable, imperfect and ok. When choosing the shadow comforts I know, that what I am communicating to myself, is a need to be nurtured, comforted and loved in a cherished and compassionate way. 

As infants we have all existed in a state when we couldn’t make sense of the world around us, where you and I didn’t have a clue what up and down was. All of us discovered what felt ok, and not ok. 

Real comfort is like what makes that infant feel loved, it is something that is experienced and felt. True comfort is known not as just one word or action, but a rainbow of connections that nurturer that inner person in all of us every single day.

previous post was Brave Boundaries all connecting into the work of Dr Brene Bown on trust-building. 

How secure Are Your Boundaries?

Creating healthy boundaries is vital, as part of our self-care as is brushing our teeth and having a wash. Not having healthy boundaries leads to ill health and disconnection and even mistrust of our selves and those around us.

5 myths about boundaries

  1. Myth: Boundaries push people away.
  2. Myth: Love has no boundaries. 
  3. Myth: Boundaries are selfish.
  4. Myth: Setting boundaries requires you to be mean.
  5. Myth: Boundaries require too much time.

Whats Is Ok And Not Ok.

The best definition of a personal boundary that I can find is “A boundary is what’s ok and what’s not ok. Dare to lead Dr Brene Brown. it is not ok to habitually Neglect our foundational needs. Normalised in such self-talk as not wanting to upset others, not wanting to be seen as different or awkward, It is bound up in orientating our self-esteem or worth externally rather than internally. It is telling yourself, ‘I need this’ to be happy, safe, complete, whole or loved and later discovering it doesn’t live up to your expectations.

Unhealthy boundaries are in part what leads to the disconnect we see rampant in our world in so many forms. We may wonder why we are too busy, overly exhausted, internally isolated and disconnected from important relationships, nature and meaningfulness. This disconnect can lead to depression read Lost Connections by Johann Hari

So what can we do? 

A builder doesn’t build without a frame of reference, without a plan, or have purchased the tools for the job. The builder needs wisdom, discernment, skill and courage to see the structure take form. The builder knows their worth.

Boundary setting and maintaining it is built on a foundation of trust, self-trust. A lack of healthy boundary setting erodes this trust internally and externally and makes the structure you just built unstable.

Living out the Boundary

Jesus said, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” Just be true to who you are, what you can and what you can not do. Without personal judgement. There is not a lot you can do about external judgement! 

Add to this commitment knowledge about what you are worth. Jesus said you are “more precious than the Lillies of the field or the birds of the air.” It was decided that you should be made in Gods image in the depths of eternity, from that place life burst forth, expressing itself in the diversity of our world. A world that includes you. 

Mix in courage and wisdom, know when to make adjustments to what you have created and when to stand firm, this comes with practice and learning from mistakes along the way.

 In her book Rising Strong As A Spiritual Practice Brene Brown tells how she met with a group of Rabbis and asked them if they believed people were doing the best the can. Most said no, then Brene says to the group, ‘so now God turns up and whispers in your ear, do you know what, that person who you think is the worst, is actually trying the best they can!’ 

This so profound and deeply challenging for us to hear and to get our heads around. perhaps the only way we can begin to live this out if from a bounded place, a place where our wells of compassion can overflow into the lives of others. 

Were Has Jesus Gone?

When we listen to what’s happening in Syria, when we listen to the news stories of mayhem, shattered lives, broken people, communities and nations, you may well ask where is Jesus?  In the midst of church decline, gossip and back biting, we may ask where is Jesus?

The lyrics to the popular christian chorus, I’ve Found Jesus… I love this song, its an old chorus from my teenage years, that brings back memories of when I became a christian back in 1992!

Just for fun you might like to google the where’s Jesus book, its a cheesy version of where’s Wally!

We need to find the Jesus who is more real than words on the pages of Scripture, who is more then the one who raised the dead, healed the sick and rose again on the third day. We need to find a Jesus that is perhaps bigger than our religious proclamations from the pulpit.

For so many where is Jesus is not even a question that occurs to them! Jesus is some renegade from mythical times. Where is Jesus? Who cares, people today have a enough to think about, worry about and to be concerned about. For so many Jesus, never raised their dead, healed their sick, and probably didn’t raise from the dead. That may be the sentiment of people in church as well as outside.

If the church can’t find Jesus, then how can we expect others to find him, know him, listen to him. Perhaps a conversation and journey with the community needs to look at the historical Jesus, leaving to an up-to-date real living experience of Jesus. John Wesley would say of his discipleship groups that you could not tell a testimony, any longer than a week.

So how are you being in communication with Jesus this week?  How have you listened and what have you heard? Certainly the conversation is multifaceted, one of hearing with the spirit and heart as well as with the head, but that doesn’t make it any less real and living.

As we go about our business this week, as we encounter all that life has for us in the days to come,  where do we find Jesus?  From the warm comfort of church worship, to the hardest days where all it seems to do his rain trouble down on you, where do you find Jesus?

If we are really serious about this relationship with Jesus being real and living, let it be more than soundbites and glib phrases. Lets journey with the idea that it is living and real. Listen once again to the stories of Jesus in scripture, and look for what God might be doing in your life and the lives of others. Encounter Jesus in your own discipleship and walk, as well as through the kindness, grace and love of others.

So when we look at the broken world around us, it might not seem so broken, we as a church might hear with fresh understanding, Jesus calling out to us, to go, to be, to do. To become the body of Christ that feeds the least of these, because they’re feeding Jesus, that comforts the most broken because we’re comforting Jesus, who bring healing to hopeless situations, because in doing so like so many actions we might conceive, we are doing it to and for Jesus.

Have a good week.

See Your Faith Grow

George 6 weeksWhen a puppy is born it is both deaf and blind.  It can’t regulate its own body temperature or support its own weight – but by end of week the eyes open and hearing begins to develop.  Legs get stronger and as the weeks unfold the dog takes its first puppy steps into the world that surrounds him or her!

Equally we celebrate or draw attention to the development of our offspring, whether that’s getting their first teeth or the ability to walk, talk or use the potty (oh what a joyous day that was) and so on.  Through school and into adulthood, we continue to celebrate important milestones.

Celebrating the Occassionmarriage-918864_960_720

In our journey with God there are milestones we should celebrate. I recently celebrated 25 years of being a Christian. On one level this might seem cheesy, but for anyone journeying with God it is no mean feat, especially in a context of spiritual and religious plurality and
apathy

When I attended a commissioning service for those who had, in faith, taken new steps towards what God was calling them to become, something struck me.

I sat near the back of the church and watched as men and women of God shared their testimony of what has happened in their lives, both ups and downs, to bring them to this point.  People shared heartfelt words, poetry and music – each trying to encapsulate and frame their experience of God at work in their lives.

I sat there as a seasoned Christian and church leader… well reasonably so, looking past thoughts of how something might have been said better or how no-one used the microphone,  and what I saw was inspiring.

Looking back at what God has done.

Beach

Those who spoke reminded me of my own walk with God, the call into ministry that seems a dot in comparison to all that has happened since. The nervousness of getting up in front of people and not being polished or ‘off the cuff’, but bound to my script like a security blanket. Of not having confidence in the abilities God had given me and always wondering if I was doing any good at all. Some of those feelings haven’t left me, which is probably for the best.

More than my own journey, their words and the service reminded me that God is always calling people to new ministries, to new things.  I remember one of my first tutorials as I became a student minister began something like this:Tutor: “So what grades did you get at A-level?”

Me: “None!”
Tutor(surprised): “You didn’t get any qualifications and here you universityare in one of the top universities in the UK?” He asked to clarify.

There was no judgement in his voice, just that joyous surprise and laughter between two Christians, at what God can do when someone says ‘Yes’ to Him. How, even though I didn’t have the grades for university, the obstacles were not insurmountable.  After all, nothing is impossible for God. I went on to gain a BA in Theology and Ministry,
achieving a 2:1.

saying yes to GodThe people at the commissioning service had all said ‘Yes’ to God; it was truly wonderful to hear how far they had come and it is exciting to think of where they might end up.

 

Many years ago someone told me she had a word from the Lord (it was actually more than one), and it is in the image below. It is a phrase that has sustained, changed and recurred across my walk with God. I offer them to you.

trust-in-the-lord-robert-hamm

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