I recently read an article about trust and took The Trust Test.
This article raised all sorts of flags of recognition for me as a
ministry spouse. The article points to many common pitfalls of not
listening to our inner trust-o-meter when we should. Like it or not,
there are many times when the people of God put you into trust-o-meter
situations, but often ministry spouses have either turned off their
meter, are in denial, or do not feel you have power to act upon what
Did you take the trust test? What was your score? What do you think
about this question of developing a trust-o-meter; developing a
veritable grid that you can use to measure up situations and know if
you can trust a person or not? How do you think ministry people should
trust? At what point does it spell disaster for the spouse of a
minister, and at what point has this already saved your life?
What is your advice about trusting others in the community of faith when you are a leader?
Unfortunately, there are “trust barracudas” in the church, who can sense your denial or avoidance from a mile away, and they will strike at this weak point. According to the article, “…We’re lying to ourselves, pretending we’re at ease when we know we aren’t, so. . . we don’t have a clue how to live. We’re often rudely awakened, bitterly disappointed, shockingly betrayed.”
One example from my own experience: It did not matter what I said, the comments from a person who was trying to “get to know me better” in a new parish were relentless in poking at me personally. I knew immediately I could not trust this person. In my younger days, I may not have paid much attention to the trust-o-meter and I would have enduring the poking, or I felt powerless to return comments appropriate to the situation. I was responsible to be nice to these people, right!? However, their comments or disclosures about me would then sneak up on me later, and I would feel shockingly betrayed.
One barracuda in our parish would verbally jab, poke or scathe comments my way: if I said X, s/he would say Z instantly, and add personal comments on my size, shape or apparel (inappropriate at best). I have received this type of treatment from individuals at several of our parishes throughout the years. Because of this, I have fine tuned my trust-o-meter carefully. I had to learn “how to live” in ministry.
Thankfully, now I can usually see a barracuda coming before it arrives and try to avoid being with that person alone. Currently, I am praying before I have another encounter with one particular barracuda–and believe me I am working on a plan to have someone else with me when I “get to know her better.” This is now one of the things I pray for often in our ministry–and my spouse depends on my trust-o-meter. I feel it is an area that I can uniquely pray about in the grand scheme of things.