What do you do when you can’t blame daddy issues for your trust issues?
I’m asking for a friend.
For a homeschooled friend who was raised in a stable, two-parent home and never wanted for anything, a friend who grew up catechized and Reformed and protected from false doctrines like egalitarianism, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny.
’Cause this friend got married a few months ago, and had long since realized during the courtship that while sexual sin, an abusive past, and daddy issues are nowhere present, mistrust will always rear its ugly head. And it has since Eve.
Mother of All Trust Issues
See, my friend may look like Pollyanna from the outside. She has it all together. She’s a pastor’s kid, but the kind who walked the straight and narrow like a bawse, the one who wanted to live up to every goody-two-shoes expectation ever foisted upon her.
But this friend has got nothing on Eve.
This friend can strive to be perfect all she wants, but she can never be as perfect as Eve.
This woman was a beauty created from the rib of the perfect man. I mean, just the fact that she got to skip over puberty should scream perfection. She didn’t have to go looking for love: it was right in front of her. She didn’t have to doubt: all of God’s goodness was on display right in front of her every single day without the veil of sin to hide it.
She had everything we want.
And yet . . .
It only took one question to derail her security: Did God really say (Gen. 3:1)?
And the first trust issues reared their ugly head.
Daughters of All Trust Issues
Eve gave the fruit to Adam, and when they both ate, the first emotion they experienced was shame (Gen. 3:7). They hid their bodies from each other and from the Lord; they dodged him and tried to hide their sin (Gen. 3:8). And, of their separate punishments, Eve’s echoes the issues that would follow her daughters for the rest of their lives:
To the woman [God] said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.” (Gen. 3:16)
The implied resentment that Eve would experience over Adam’s authority rears its head in a number of ways, one of the chief being mistrust of his leadership and the idea that she has a better way.
Sounds a whole lot like the serpent gently whispering in Eve’s ear, “Did God really say?” And, if he did, how can you trust that he’s not holding out on you?
Like Mother, Like Daughter
I suppose my friend could still find somewhere to lay the blame for her trust issues. No one has the perfect life. In fact, even she’s had her heart broken once (maybe one-and-a-half times if you count Djimon Hounsou’s marriage to Kimora).
And the life of a pastor’s kid is full of opportunity for jadedness and disappointment, an opportunity she has taken sometimes after church discipline issues, attempted coups, disgruntled members, or lost friends.
My friend is a black woman. Maybe the chip on her shoulder comes from social expectations. She wants to be strong, to stand apart, to prove herself as a capable double minority standing on the shoulders of serious-minded black Americans who came before her and broke down barriers and still sweep back the rubble of disenfranchisement and loss.
I’m not saying none of those things has an effect. I think it’d be foolish to say her trust issues aren’t agitated by such things.
But to say they stem from these things would be making an excuse for the sin that rages in her heart. Ultimately, our trust issues don’t stem from daddy issues, broken families, or broken hearts, but from a lack of submission to the Father. Ultimately, we’re not failing to trust in the men in our lives, since we’ve never been called to trust in them (Ps. 146:3–5); we’re failing to trust in the One who gave them to us.
No earthly home can be secure enough to satisfy the fears of a heart that hasn’t learned that ultimate security is found in the Almighty.
Eve’s Hope and Ours
As Eve sat in the garden, broken from her sin, its consequences looming as clearly as her exit from paradise, the Father didn’t leave her there. He offered her hope:
“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.” (Gen. 3:15)
This promise bore the hope of a coming Savior who would crush the serpent and Eve’s doubts. This promise is for Eve and for her daughters, and is echoed again for those of us who struggle with a mass of baggage that exacerbates our trust issues.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Col. 3:3–4)
To believe this promise requires laying our control issues, our trust issues, and our submission issues at the foot of the cross. It requires being raised again in Christ Jesus. It requires being vulnerable to loss and heartache and brokenness, because brokenness is the beginning of healing and wholeness in him.
It requires my friend trusting in the beautiful promises of her Father and acknowledging that she does have Daddy issues with the Most High God, since she so often mistrusts his Word and searches for something better.
Huh. Even Pollyannas have to silence their doubts with a gruesome death at Calvary. Who’d have thunk.