***I recently was presented this list of 14 Marks of a Wise Woman and I instantly felt overwhelmed. I want to be all these things! To glorify God by being wise and discerning. To honor God in my attitude, the way I speak, and how I react in difficult situations. In this series, I will be exploring each of these 14 Biblical virtues (please also see proverbs14verse1.blogspot.com, which is the source of this list), in order to find ways to apply these principles to my life in practical ways. I hope you will join me!***
If you’re just joining us, here are the previous virtues:
7. Is Trustworthy
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
What does this mean?
Trustworthy is defined as “able to be relied on as honest or truthful.” At least, that is Google’s answer… But I’d like to look more at the Author of what it means to be trustworthy and how He demonstrates this attribute. Because He is our ultimate ‘Guide’ and the One we should strive to emulate.
As we know from other attributes of God, trust is something that can be mirrored in us, His creation. But it is an incomplete attribute, an imperfect attribute. Aka, God gives us the ability to grow in knowledge, but He is all knowing, which we can never be. He is perfectly just, merciful, patient, etc and as His creation we have the ability to possess these traits too. But we are sinners and have a sinful nature, so it is impossible for us to be any of these things in a perfect way. So as we strive to be more like Him, the best thing we can do is learn about His perfect attribute and try and emulate that in our own lives as best we can.
I think to be trustworthy, we must first trust God, and not in ourselves. Because anything of ourselves will fail us. So when we put trust in ourselves (our abilities, our stuff, our connections, our health, our time, etc etc), we are putting our trust in something that WILL fail. So many of us are jaded by trust because we haven’t understood where true trust lies. It’s in Christ, of course. But in the day to day lives we live, it is so tempting to fall back on our old ways. Our driven nature, our ‘can-do’ attitude, and our resources are all looking really tempting to base our trust on. But they will fail. Time and time again. Stuff rusts, time gets wasted, people die, etc. Not to be morbid, but it’s a fact of life. And do we want to be giving up something so precious as our trust to things that we already know are doomed? The answer seems obvious, but in the day to day, it’s less so – I get that. I struggle with this everyday. But God MUST be trusted. He is the only thing worthy of being trusted.
How can I be trustworthy as a Christian?
When we trust God, we are free to let go of anxieties, fears, and insecurity over unknowns. This is a huge one for me. So I know that when I struggle with these things, the root cause is an inability to give up my doomed self trust, and to be free I need to first let go. Once we reach that point of trusting Him, we can be better used to serve God and, in a word, become trustworthy. When we put God first, everything directly behind Him starts to fall into place. Husband, kids, home, church family, relatives, friends, etc. But only if He comes first!
Okay, brass tacks time. I need a good injection of practicality to keep it real… Putting God first has already been discussed, and I think that if we neglect our efforts there, the rest isn’t really worth it. But if we ARE seeking God and trusting Him, what is next? And maybe if I put it this way, it will be more clear what I’m getting at.. how can be gain the trust of others? These are some of my thoughts.
By the love and respect of others. If we truly have a heart for other people and are choosing to put their needs before ours, we will gain their trust. If our actions are coming from our desire to respect others, we will act only in a way that is to benefit them (which may mean being ‘the bad guy’, but ultimately they will see your love in your actions later if anything. Thinking of parents who say ‘no’ to their children especially here). AKA, you will be compelled to act in a honest and truthway way if you love others, even if it’s ‘tough love’ sometimes.
By benefiting others. When we live our lives in a way that says, ‘other people matter’, then we will gain trust. If we remove the parts of our lives that are centered around ourselves, others will be compelled to trust us, because they see that we can deny ourselves for the benefit of another. Think about it. As a generalization, who would you trust more? A person who spends the majority of their time seeking their dreams, ambitions, and daily earthly comforts, or a person who is continually serving in the community, helping out a friend in need, and always available at the drop of a hat to listen to the struggles of others? Humbling to realize that many of us are not the latter person.
By being consistent. I believe that being trustworthy goes hand in hand with being consistent. It’s hard to trust something that is constantly changing, mostly because you never have the time to become fully comfortable with it in order to trust it. If we speak about good things all the time but don’t act in them, we are hypocrites and make it difficult to trust us. Don’t just talk about love, or service, or friendship, or speaking the truth in love. DO IT. Start practicing what you preach in as many aspects of your life as you can. God will be pleased with your efforts and promises to give the Holy Spirit to help you.
How can I be trustworthy as a wife?
Well, I guess the obvious answer is to be honest and truthful to my husband. Check.
HA – that’s a joke. Even though I don’t ever flat out lie to my husband, I keep information in or I give information at a time that most benefits me. Let’s be honest, we are naturally selfish and we are born that way (how many kids have you taught to lie, cheat, steal, etc? No worries there – they have that all figured out on their own, because that is natural. Honesty and integrity must be taught, because that is NOT natural). So I believe that to be a trustworthy wife, I must take it one day at a time, learning to correct the mistakes of yesterday and move forward with today. I guess what I’m saying is, this is a hard thing to do! To be constantly trustworthy. But because it’s not natural, that means we have to fight our instincts, usually on a daily or minute by minute basis.
It’s impossible, I realize, but I try and remind myself to strive for blamelessness. AKA, to live out my day to day in a way that my husband cannot find fault. Does he? Oh yeah. But at least I have a goal. If my husband comes home and nothing has been done around the house, our son is screaming and upset, and no dinner is made, my husbands first thought is going to be ‘what did she do all day?’ If I show by my actions that I worked hard and did my best, he can trust that I did. And on the day that those above things DO happen, he will know it’s not for lack of trying, since my track record shows otherwise. He’ll just see it as it is, a bad day. He’s more likely to show grace and give me a hand than if this is what he comes home to everyday.
This is also a good place, I think, to mention being faithful in your marriage. A few little things I do to show my husband that he can trust me is I copy him on any email correspondence that is between myself and another male (not business related, but anything personal). Or if it’s a Facebook message or text (pretty rare since I don’t initiate these, but it can happen), I have him read what went back and forth. And yes, it’s all completely harmless, but it’s a safeguard. I also do not share my time, thoughts, ideas, etc with another man if my husband is not also a part of the conversation. Dependence on any other man than my husband can lead to being unfaithful to him, sexual sin aside (obviously that is a huge issue too, but I personally believe it’s in small conversations and a leaning of the heart that eventually leads to sexual sin). What are some things you can do in your life that shows your husband you are being faithful to him? It may require giving some things up. For me, I gave up any male friendships that I had from before I met my husband. AKA, if he isn’t a friend of both myself and my husband, I don’t make efforts to maintain the friendship.
And sure, I think it means that I don’t lie to him, but I also think it means giving him information that may be easier to just keep to myself. Like,”hey honey, I’m really sorry about this, but I ran over something with the lawn mower and I think something is broken, it’s making a weird sound.” It’s SO tempting to not say anything and just wait until the next time HE mows and discovers it. But I build trust slowly over time but creating a pattern of honesty and being forthcoming in even the tough things. He may not like what I have to say, but the more I directly address tough issues, the more he should be confident that I’m not holding anything back in our communication.
How can I be trustworthy as a mother & keeper of the home?
Reliable. I’ve heard it said time and time again that kids need consistency. Although I know it’s primarily referring to nap times, meals, and the like, I think it’s more important that our kids see consistency in US. As an adult, it’s hard enough trying to deal with an individual that is not reliable. Say, a boss who tells you one thing yesterday but a completely different thing today and expects you to keep up, with no questions asked. Imagine what must be going through a child’s head when their dad promises to come see them that weekend but he never shows up? Confusion, frustration, a broken heart? Certainly it will result a lack of trust as an adult. Even in things that can be trusted (ahem, God!). Now my little guy is blessed to have 2 happily married parents that if even they become unhappily married, neither of them will be going anywhere, because they made a commitment to God, not just themselves, that they would. So he will not have the struggle of only seeing a parent on occasion, but I know this is so common for most children today (provided they do have both parents in their lives). So this scenario does not fit my family. However, the principle is the same. Perhaps I tell him one thing and never follow through with it. Like yesterday, I caught myself saying at the store, ‘we’ll be done here in a just a few minutes, I promise’. And then we were NOT done in a few minutes, because of unforeseen circumstances. So it was a bright light reminder that I’m not in a position to make promises to my son. I can tell him that I will ‘try’ to be done in a few minutes, but any promises I make will eventually be broken. Only God can truly keep promises. So why make them in the first place and make your child lose trust in you?
Honest and truthful. My little guy is too young to really understand what I say (this is changing rapidly!). But I can still be truthful and honest with him. Especially because I am learning to be a parent and still make mistakes. So a little example of this in my life is that sometimes I’ll find myself saying something to him that just isn’t true (sometimes it’s cleverly disguised in a nursery rhyme, song, or book). I stop myself, and explain what IS true while apologizing for saying something that wasn’t true. He doesn’t care. He’s 10 months! But it won’t be long before the words out of my mouth could make an impact that lasts a lifetime. So I’m trying to learn now how to correct mistakes, and avoid many to begin with.
This is a silly little story, but I think it really illustrates the point. In elementary school, my best friend and I would sometimes amuse ourselves by calling each other by what our ‘boy name’ (AKA, what our parents would have named us had we been born boys). Her name would have been Jason. A nice solid name. I, on the other hand, had to spend these days feeling humiliated because I thought my name would have been Clyde. I hated my parents. Seriously, what on earth were they thinking? Years earlier, at the gullible (apparently) age of 7, my parents took my sister and I to Florida, where we spent a few days at my then favorite place – SeaWorld. And one of the attractions is a silly little skit by two sea lions, Clyde and Seamore. So of course, you may guess the rest, while watching this show, my parents joked that had I been born a boy, my name would have been Clyde. And I believed them. My depressed little heart believed them and resented them for 7 more long years. I didn’t realize the truth, that they were actually going to call me Garrett (not sure how much better that is? ;)), until I was 14 years old. How embarrassing. But also, more damaging than any fun being poked at a 10-ish year old for her silly boy name, was the trust that I lost of my parents. I couldn’t believe they ‘lied’! So it’s a very silly story, about a very silly girl, but the point here is that as a parent, I want to be sure that I am communicating with my child in a way that is open, honest, and nurturing. And yes, it is very likely I will be making similar jokes like my parents did while watching sea lions. But I’m planning to add ‘just kidding’ whenever I joke. Just to be safe… hehe.
This is an interesting topic to bring up around Christians, because I find that no matter what camp you pitch your tent, there is strong opinions for tent placement. Whether or not you have your kids believe in Santa is the issue. Frankly, I don’t see how anyone could possibly lie about something so dumb to their kids. But I realize that many adults have fond memories of a childhood believing in Santa, so each person needs to evaluate for themselves. However, I think it gives a great example of what I’m trying to say. If you raise your child to believe one thing and then 10 years later you say “surprise! We tricked you! It’s not real!,” how are they going to be able to trust that other things you’ve said were not some big surprise? I saw a friend post a wonderful thought on this on Facebook last year during the holidays. She said if you teach a child to believe in Santa Clause, who comes alive through books and stories, who is not real, and they grow out of believing in him, how are you going to teach them about Jesus, from books and stories, and expect them not to have skepticism about Him?
What about you? Do you agree? Do you see areas in your life that you are not trustworthy? What are things you do to be more trustworthy?
This post linked to a wise woman.