I recently reconnected with someone who I barely knew; her name is Kristen. We began sharing insights over different articles on Trust Life Today via email, which later led to meeting in person to share more insights over a cup of tea.
I asked Kristen to share with me her two cents on Trust. What she sent me she jokingly referred to as her “88 cents.” It’s much more than that; what I see before me is more like a pot of gold (with interest).
Below are Kristien’s thoughts on Trust and Surrender:
“Lately I have really been mulling over the concepts of Trust and Surrender in my mind. I wanted to come up with a specific instance that showed I had trusted or surrendered control of a situation which had in turn, made a huge impression on me. And I’ve figured out a couple of things:
To me, Trust and Surrender are related, but separate acts.
The most concrete example of Trust in my life is in regards to the differences my husband, my children, and I have as it relates to religion and spirituality.
When the kids were babies, my husband and I had spirited, yet respectful, conversations about the religious education of our kids, as well as our own spiritual journeys. We differed wildly in our opinions, and as with most people when it comes to religion, we were both passionate about our own points of view. I tried for many years to influence my husband’s views (and he, mine) to no avail. As my kids got older and started their own journeys, and began asking their own questions, I found we now had four differing opinions instead of two and that the kids’ opinions tended to mirror more closely to my husband’s and not my own.
Needless to say, I fought against the tide until recently, when I realized that one of my deepest held beliefs is that God is a loving God and because He loves us and understands each of us as we are, He knows the best way to reach each one of His children. I discovered I needed to Trust that, and not presume that I know better than He what path is the right one for anyone other than myself.
Can I share my own beliefs and experiences? Of course I can, and I should; maybe my words will be just the ones someone is looking for. But I don’t need to make it my responsibility to force another person to my way of thinking just because it feels right to me, and that includes my family.
So to me, Trust feels like holding on to your beliefs and ideals and truly feeling that although you may not see the whole picture, you believe everything will work out as it should.
Surrender, on the other hand, feels more like a letting go of what you thought was right and being open to growth and change.
For example, I am somewhat of a perfectionist type and nowhere do I want to be more perfect, than as a parent. Intellectually, I understand there is no such thing, but I care deeply about how I raise my children. I try to give them the balance of discipline, support, and encouragement that will help them grow into the best people they can be with minimal emotional baggage (and therapist bills). The desire to be a good parent and feel like I’m doing a good job is a huge part of my self image. When I feel like I’m doing well, I feel wonderful. When I feel like I’ve messed up, I go into a funk and really beat myself up about it.
My daughter is my older child, and I have tried to cultivate a healthy mother-daughter relationship. It was going pretty well until she started showing signs of anxiety. Anxiety about school, friends, health, and any other number of things. First I tried being soothing – didn’t work. Then I tried establishing routines to ease the anxiety – didn’t work. Then I got stern with her – REALLY didn’t work. Everything I tried and every instinct I had as a mother was wrong for her. If anything, I made her anxious feelings worse and caused more emotional pain and frustration for her. After every negative interaction I was frustrated, and sad, and angry with myself for not knowing what to do for her…or rather, for everything I thought I knew to do, which turned out to be exactly the opposite of what she needed.
Then, I watched my husband intervene, and lo and behold, everything he did worked. All of his instincts on how to handle her anxiety when it became overwhelming were right on. He understood her in a way that I couldn’t. He was able to teach her how to cope with and ease those feelings to the point that it is rarely an issue any more.
So what did I Surrender? Control. The notion that as the mother, I somehow had the better parenting skills and instincts. The idea that I should win first place as Parent of the Year because my intentions were so good and I was trying so hard.
In fact, for this particular child, I can now freely admit that my husband is the far superior parent. I suppose it is selfish, and a bit immature that this was a concept I had to Surrender to, but for me, it was definitely a process of letting go of an idea I had about myself. Now, as you might imagine, the pressure of figuring out what she needs in those emotional moments is gone, because I know I have a partner to help. My own anxiety and remorse over not knowing how to help is gone, and our relationship is closer and more relaxed. Best of all, she knows now that she has a father who understands her and who she can go to in times of trouble, as well as a mom who loves and supports her.
And I haven’t even gotten to the biggest point I wanted to make on what I’ve learned with all of this reflection….”
My apologies readers, for abruptly cutting Kristen’s sharing off here, and leaving you with a bit of a cliff hanger. I feel the need to break up her 88 cents so that the first .44 can be fully absorbed, therefore allowing the next .44 not to be lost in the length of the article. I see both to be part of a crucial message/learning. Trust me, it’ll be worth the wait….
In this part of Kristen’s story, she provides an excellent example of the following quote:
“Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth.” ~Mahatma Gandhi