Lijit Ad Wijit

Friday, July 2, 2010

Trust, Not Management

Over the past several days (weeks? months?) an idea has been nagging me. I couldn't quite put it into words, but something was there, at the back of my brain, hovering, waiting, tapping.

The idea would nudge in during a conversation with Ben. Or it would re-emerge as I listened to a sermon. Or as I lay in bed at night, half thinking, half praying, I'd develop the definite sense that something was just over the horizon of my mind, leaving the impression that I'd forgotten something or misplaced something. The idea was still developing, though. Not ready, yet, to show itself entirely. But I knew to pay attention to the gathering thought.

Then on Thursday, the idea crystallized into a finely tuned and exquisitely articulated gift: trust over management. To write that more fully: relationships - people in relationships - will thrive when trust trumps management.

I find myself wanting to manage people's feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and emotions. That's what a people pleaser does best, right? I want to manage conflict, ambiguity, and uncertainty. That's what an uber-planner does, right?

But people are most honored when we gift them with our trust. I trust that you are a smart person who will make a good decision. I trust that you are motivated by love, not evil, towards me. I trust that you can use your best talents and skills to make something happen. I trust that you mean what you say. I trust that you are as focused on our future as I am. I trust that I don't have to perform to earn your love; we simply love each other.

We free ourselves from self-imposed bondage when we trust who God has made others to be, rather than trying to manage who they are to fit what we need or want. I (you) cannot manage the universe, much less one single other person.

Instead of managing my relationship with my Heavenly Father, I trust Him to work in me according to His good will and pleasure. As Luther would say, my thoughts of God are too small. My management confines the work of God in my life.

Trust over management. That's my anthem.


  1. Allison, your post struck a resounding chord with me. God surely had a hand in it! As a fellow people pleaser, I too face the same challenge. From family to my staff at work I endeavour to manage every perception and reaction, anything less is failure. My fruitless efforts arrive at the very same dead end every time. After much introspection, I have realized that no amount of logical reasoning or analysis will affect the type of systemic change to my thought process that this Anthem (God led me here just yesterday - Got to love His timing!) requires. In this case, my instinctual thought process is my worst enemy. A complete rewiring is needed. I am an internal processor (yes, blog posts are a stretch for me!) so for me it begins with prayer and reflection on scripture and eloquent words such as yours. Thank you for penning what God placed in my heart. It is exactly what I prayed for!

  2. Glad to know I have company :) I'm encouraged that God used these thoughts for something useful!

  3. Thanks for that one - a great reminder, even after 15 years of marriage! Beautifully written!