In my previous post about trustworthiness, I mentioned how I wasn't exactly the most reliable young woman a couple of years ago. Fortunately, I opened up my heart to God and seeked good advice from wiser people, and decided this is going to change. But then I had to face a challenge: how am I going to convince people they can trust me? I gained a reputation of a lightheaded gossip junkie. This didn't happen in one day, and quite obviously, it wasn't going to change in one day either.
Maybe someone else could solve this by having heart-to-heart conversations with different people, explaining the change in her character. But not me. Why? First, I was too shy to do something like that. Second, because I realized actions would be far more convincing than words.
I figured out I need to do something that takes a good share of responsibility - something I can commit to, and stick with; something that can show others and myself that I really have changed.
I signed up for volunteering in the local community center, and with another girl - my partner - took charge of a youth group. There were about 10 kids in the group, aged 11-12. We had to plan an educational activity for them every week.
In the first couple of weeks, everything went great. We would meet at the beginning of the week, make plans about what we are going to do for the kids this time, make all the necessary preparations and distribute the different tasks between ourselves.
But then, unexpected trials came. One week, my partner called to say she was sick; I would have to manage on my own. I did - somewhat lamely. The week after that, she couldn't come either; and next thing, she just stopped calling and quietly withdrew, without even giving any explanations. The task was left entirely in my hands.
It wasn't fair. It was not what I committed to. But even then, I realized it's a valuable lesson: it gave me the outside perspective of what it looks like when someone makes a commitment, and then backs out. I knew that if this girl ever wanted me to trust her again, she would have to come up with something really good! And second, I learned that sometimes we make a commitment on certain conditions, but then it becomes much harder than we thought it would be. And when that happens, we have two choices: show preservance and continue, or back out.
I chose the first option. I decided to stick with what I was doing, and took on a double load of work. Yes, it took a lot of my time and energy, but it contributed a great deal both to my self-respect and my reputation. And goes without saying, I had a great time with the kids!