Last week we looked at our trustworthiness and how this important quality comes down to our ability to live in relational mode. I know this sounds like an oversimplification of a complex topic, so take a moment to review the subject here. We now turn our sights to the kind of community that fosters trust and develops protectors.
The wise Dr. Jim Wilder says we are all born predators. (1) Once our ancestors consumed the forbidden fruit after being tempted by the serpent, a master predator, we went from protectors to predators. We are born wanting to put everything into our mouths. We view the world as ours to consume. Our families and communities must teach us how to be protectors so we learn to see good things around us and recognize these good things are not for consumption. It is safe to say all of us are in a growth process; we are learning to be protectors. Just like the trees and fruit in the Garden of Eden, each of us is growing and maturing. Some tending is necessary.
We have moments where we slip out of protector mode. These may be moments when we are triggered by unprocessed pain from the past that creeps into the present, or it may be a moment we slip out of relational mode because of something else. (2) We may even have certain emotions that make us untrustworthy.
What if it were safe to shine the flashlight on these moments and discuss our reactions with others? What if we had a language in our family and community for the times our RCs are on or off? What if we were encouraged to acknowledge moments we are triggered because tender responses to weaknesses are the norm? (3) What if we could recognize and talk about the moments we are not feeling protective?
If we could discuss these things and share our weaknesses, then our community could help us shift back into protector mode when we slip and fall into non-relational behaviors.
When we are triggered, we require Immanuel moments to restore our peace and establish our trustworthiness. When we fall out of relational mode, an ideal response would be to acknowledge this and clarify we are not trustworthy at this moment. From there we give ourselves permission to take the space or ask for help to get back into relational mode once again.
When there are certain emotions that make us untrustworthy, we need to build that skill (returning to joy) with others (4). This kind of intensive training is the focus of Track 2 of THRIVE Training.
In order to be the best version of ourselves, we need a community where we can be honest about our weaknesses. This is the kind of place where we can be honest about areas our reactions may be too low or too high and unregulated. This is a place where we value living in relational mode. The community who does these things will raise children who can be trusted.
1 – Read The Pandora Problem by Dr. Jim Wilder for more about enemy mode.
2 – Learn more with Outsmarting Yourself by Dr. Karl Lehman and what keeps relational circuits off.
3 – Joy Starts Here by Wilder, et. al. to read more about predators and protectors
4 – Relational Skills In The Bible is a great resource to start practicing relational skills in your small group and community.