1 a : to place confidence : depend
Do you trust yourself? When faced with a big or small decision, where do you turn? A spouse? A friend? Or the small, quiet voice inside you?
Several years ago, I had a Christian friend tell me that she did not trust herself. "My heart is sinful," she said, "I can't trust what it tells me." I don't remember the circumstances she was facing, nor the decision she ultimately made. What did stick with me was her assertion that trusting herself was wrong. I didn't question her then, but I've come to not only question but ultimately reject the idea that I shouldn't trust myself.
In fact, one of the things God showed me this Lent was that I should listen to myself because I know more than I think I do. I'm not saying I should always go with my gut instinct. There are definitely times when my initial reaction is driven by untested emotions. And the voice of shame lurks in my depths, surfacing every now and then to sabotage my efforts. But I know the difference between those voices and the inner voice that I can trust. That inner voice is, in all likelihood, a combination of the wisdom I've acquired over the years and the Holy Spirit, offering a wisdom I'll never earn, but which I try to receive with gratitude.
Learning to trust myself means learning to not listen to what the world or even my friends and family tell me is true. Some of this is easy and clear. Today, I was driving along the interstate with my daughters when 12 year old A saw a billboard and said, "Do better legs really equal a better life? I don't think so." We went on to have a great conversation about learning to listen to our hearts and minds instead of what advertising tells us. And while I can pretty easily learn to distrust the idea that having some varicose veins removed will result in a better life, it's tougher to listen to my heart when it whispers, "Rest" and my daughter's school and my daughter's ballet schedule and our social calendar all say, "Go. Go. Go."
We are leaving for a family vacation one week from tomorrow. There is a lot left to do to prepare for that - things like an oil change, a trip to the library to stock up, some hours devoted to cleaning so that we can return to a clean home. There are end of year activities for K, a birthday party at the lake on Thursday and a van that needs to be packed and ready to go Friday morning. The vacation itself (to Philadelphia) will bring historical highlights, great art, beautiful countryside and, hopefully, some rest. The question I am currently asking my heart is, "What do I need to do to be ready for this trip?" I don't just mean what lists do I need to make and complete, but how can I start rested and present and anticipatory, not stressed and panicked and drained.
A few things I know will help. Read more. Take a nap or two between now and next Friday. Build down time into the family's vacation plans. Know that things will not go as planned and be ready to receive what comes and let the rest go. And trust myself - when I am tired, rest. When I am intrigued, pause to learn more. When I am hungry, have a cheesesteak.