to trust or to control - living relationships  E-mail
Claudia Kotzen | 29 May 2014
I can stare at a coin and flip it over a few times in my hand. Playing a type of 'heads or tails'. Will I trust or will I control? Is it heads or tails? Freewill choice. Trust and control really are the same coin that can flip either way by choice, because trust leads to letting go of control, yet wielding control in any relationship leads to a break down of trust. Trusting is letting go because the person trusting believes in the reliability and strength of another. But pain, or the fear of pain, flips trust into control. In the face of fear I naturally default to control because control (seemingly) protects me, safe guards me from further hurt, and punishes the person whom I can not trust.

If we look at 'control' and 'trust', with another lens, we can bring it down to fear and love. Danny Silk, in "Keep Your Love On", discusses two ultimate goals (whether conscious or subconscious) in every relationship: connection or disconnection, and whether aware of it or not, we use tools to reinforce the goal we've chosen in our relationships. During our life time we are involved in various relationships, be it spouse or friend or parent or child, relationship is endemic to human nature. We were created for relationship. And relationship is what our souls and bodies and spirits yearn for. But authentic relationship often involves risk...a step of faith.

Trust is broken, betrayal too painful, I choose to pull away and disconnect, switch trust for control.

The choice to stop loving and trusting is usually a reaction to pain or the fear of pain. Fear feeds control. We control and disconnect. But! It is impossible to control another person without force or manipulation or punishment. We were created for freedom. Not control. God created man in a garden with two trees to choose from. Freedom of choice. God loved us first, our response to loving Him is a freewill choice. In any relationship we can choose to disconnect or connect, we can choose to respond with love to pain and fear. We can choose to love and trust and have faith in the other person. Even when the cost involved feels too high.

Who are you in a relationship with? We were created for relationship and we were created for freedom. Our relationships form concentric circles around us, starting with our own inner relationship with the self, moving onto nuclear relationships and so forth until we reach the outer circle of relationship which focuses on how we relate in socially acceptable, or unacceptable, ways within our greater community. These circles can orbit off axis to varying degrees without a strong central axis or anchor. Our anchor is Jesus. He is the author of relationship. He is the One who draws us into the Way of relationship and it is our relationship with Him that aligns our other relationships with God's perspective. It is this relationship with the God-head that keeps us on solid ground as a people who are adopted and known. Relationship involves knowing. Knowing who God is to us and others creates a safe space for relationships of love and trust. During the course of my life I can learn that relationships are safe and loving, or I can learn that relationships are dangerous and controlling. The latter is not the idea of relationship God has for us, and especially not the relationship He wants to share with us.

And they who know Your name ('name' represented a person's character) [who have experience and acquaintance with Your mercy] will lean on and confidently put their trust in You, for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek (inquire of and for) You. Psalm 9:10 (Amp). - name definition added.

Can we trust God? Is He good enough to be in relationship with? Does He really love us beyond measure? Does He really love me? Really work ALL things together for good? Is He really Love? Let's know Him more. God made a promise to Abraham. In trusting, Abraham believed God. His faith in God formed the anchor for his relationship with God. It may not have been easy, especially if Abraham felt betrayed by God when the promise seemed to be impossible. Abraham must have chosen to know God to be true. As a friend, he was in relationship with God. Faith is trust in God. Faith is born out of knowing Jesus. Jesus tore the veil that separated us from God. Instead of fear, He bought us the opportunity to enter into a relationship with a loving Father, to choose love and trust. This is good news. The message of Jesus mixes with our faith and we enter into a relationship of trust and of letting go of control. We enter His rest. In Hebrews 4:2 (Amp) faith is defined as 'the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom and goodness'.

Relationship with God looks like something. It does not look like religion or like control. It does not look like fear or punishment. Relationship with God looks like intimacy and freedom. As Danny Silk puts it, Jesus invited us into a connection with Him, not a religious reform program. Jesus never chose disconnection over connection, He never distanced Himself from broken people, He embraced them, and He chose to love and trust them. It is from the overflow of His love, consuming us, flowing from us, that we are able to be in authentic relationships with others, loving and trusting. Safe enough to choose to love because our safety is in Him.

But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him]. It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor). 2 Corinthians 5:18 - 19

Trust can feel risky. Love can feel risky. Relationship can feel risky. But we can choose. Relationship with God is Him seeing the truth of who we are, the weaknesses, the flaws, the mess-ups, even the pain and the fear, it is Him breathing life into us and forming us in our mothers' wombs, and Him loving us completely and unconditionally, regardless of what we might choose to believe or not. It is the cross. Relationship with God looks like us choosing to believe Him and choosing to lean with the entirety of our personality on Him in trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness. It is our vulnerability placed in His hands.

I flip the coin and it spins in the air, effortlessly. 'Heads'.
We get to choose. His choice is already made.

Now He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all men are alive [whether in the body or out of it] and they are alive [not dead] unto Him [in definite relationship to Him]. Luke  20:38 (Amp)