Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Friday, July 5 - Building Trust

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” — 1 Peter 4:10

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One of the most iconic and recognizable features of my home state of Alaska is sled-dog racing. While there are many different races held during the winter here, probably the most well known is the Iditarod. For the better part of 10 days, mushers and their dog teams race from Willow to Nome under sometimes horrific weather conditions for the glory and the prize that awaits them at the finish line. It is truly one of the most unique experiences of Arctic life.

One underappreciated component of a successful team is the simple concept of trust. This may seem obvious because, after all, if your team doesn’t respond to you and have confidence in you, you won’t do well. But when you’re out in the middle of nowhere, in sub-zero or even white-out conditions, this can be the difference between life and death. Mushers will tell you that when a dog team doesn’t trust you, they’ll literally just come to a stop and sit down on the trail and refuse to move. Period. And not only are your chances at victory toast unless you can get them motivated and moving again but, quite possibly, you’re toast as well because you have no options unless another team comes along to help or you can get yourself and the dogs to the nearest checkpoint station.

Metaphorically speaking, people are much the same way — if they don’t sense that you are trustworthy and they can put their full confidence in you, your chances are low of getting them to follow or work with you. As clinical psychologist and bestselling author Dr. Henry Cloud notes in his book on the subject, “Trust is the fuel for all of life. Nothing in life works without it — especially in relationships … being trustworthy and being able to trust others means everything.”

Now, let this not be confused with integrity. Oftentimes, we link trust with integrity, and while they are certainly connected, they are not the same. Someone can have a good track record of not cheating, stealing or other egregious behavior, yet still have character flaws or personality traits that make it hard for others to trust them. And, if unaddressed, the ones you’re in relationship with will, at some point, start to distance themselves from you and feel uncomfortable getting behind you.

Trust, while voluntarily given, is not entirely free. It cannot be forced or coerced. It must be earned on some level. You must be able to show and prove that you can be trusted and that you know how to trust others as well. As a coach, teammate, employee, friend or family member, being able to utilize trust as a key component to success is essential.

If we are to be “good stewards of the varied grace of God,” as 1 Peter 4:10 (CSB) says, we need honor the power of trust to serve one another in love, and glorify God through the closeness and health of our most meaningful relationships — both in sports and in life.

— Katherine Singer

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