A reflection on trust

March 2017 – A reflection by Jim Hayes, Executive Director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center


In God We Trust.

When is the last time you looked at a dollar bill—I mean really examined it?

The currency claims we trust God, meanwhile we’ve created a legal tender that is itself an idol. Ironic, eh?

I have been in many conversations of late that have touched on the issue of trust. The topics of the conversations varied: politics, workplace, religion, family relationships, among others. Trust as a common thread certainly helps one to appreciate the necessity of trust in the tapestry that makes up all of our relationships.

As an organization that helps clients to navigate the complexities of relationships—and to bring hope and healing through counseling and education to the scary places where despair and pain lurk—trust is not simply a concept, but life’s blood for the healing process.  For those who bring questions of spirituality, faith and theology into this mix, we raise the stakes by wondering about our trust in the almighty, the creation, the cosmos. If we can’t trust that power, what’s left?

In God we trust? In others we trust? In our country we trust? In our therapist we trust?  In . . . what do we trust?

I have worked hard in my first couple months as the executive director to build trust. I have been meeting with colleagues here at work to better understand what is great about the Center and to deepen my appreciation for the talent and gifts that our staff members bring to work each day. I have been in conversations with board members and lots of donors and others committed to the success of our work. It is clear to me that we need to be an organization worthy of the obvious trust people place in us in spite of the limits imposed by the human nature of all involved. How do we earn and maintain trust? Here are some spontaneous musings:

  1. Keep your word and maintain the integrity of words and actions.
  2. Trust takes time and work. It is only earned through depth of relationship, so never take it for granted.
  3. When we have relationships in our lives worthy of trust, we should continually offer thanks to others for the hard work they have done to earn our trust.
  4. Finding common ground. We certainly don’t need to all think alike or believe in the same things, but we do need to take the time to know one another and appreciate our similarities.
  5. Trust your own values and beliefs. Given all the diverse systems of understanding and belief, we need to be honest about who we are. It certainly opens us up to ridicule and rejection, but we can be trusted to be who we are in all times and places.

What else would you add to this list?

Let me offer an example out of my own faith perspective. The Christians among us (we are a diverse group of many beliefs, who serve an equally diverse clientele) are in the midst of a Lenten journey, preparing for the foundational feast of Easter. It is often a journey of exploration of the many ways we have not been trustworthy.  Before the glory of the resurrection, Jesus becomes the exemplar of trust in the God of creation. In the Garden of Gethsemane, as the powers of distrust, death and darkness close in on him, just when it seems that God has abandoned him and the earth, he offers this prayer: “Abba, all things are possible for you . . . if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will, but yours be done.”  Talk about trust!

James E. Hayes, D. Min., M. Div.

James E. Hayes, D. Min., M. Div., Executive Director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

My hope is that the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center will always do our best to be worthy of the confidence our community offers us as we live out our mission. Part of that mission is to help all those we serve to build or re-build healthy relationships, worthy of trust.


More from Jim’s blog: dmpcc.org/Jim