B is for Boundaries.

R is for Reliable.

A is for Accountable

This is # 4 in a seven part series we’re working through on TRUST. We’ve been taking a look at sociologist and thought leader, Dr. Brene Brown’s acronym, B-R-A-V-I-N-G in her teaching on the Anatomy of Trust:

Because Trust is Braving Relationships.

We’ve talked about how Trust is vital for all of our Member Care Priorities: Trauma Awareness, Resilience, Fulfillment, Engagement, and Family relationships.

When working to build trust in relationships, or repair a relationship where trust has been broken, we can go through this acronym like an inventory, identify the broken places, and bring intentional and effective healing.

V is for Vault

What is it?

Vault noun \ˈvȯlt\

  • A room or compartment for the safekeeping of valuables.
  • Whereas a ‘safe’ connotes something smaller than a vault, and may be movable, a vault is generally built in-place and would be torn down rather than moved.

“Vault” is the term Brene Brown uses for a picture of confidentiality, which is an essential component of Trust. According to the definitions here, I think it works. A place of safekeeping for the valuable stories that are shared with us… a built-in place of shared honor that would be torn down, rather than moved.

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What does it have to do with trust

In order for trust to be built, someone has to take a risk. That risk is either honored and a brick of trust is laid into the foundation of trust.


Ah.. the heartbreak of the “or”….

… the risk is proven to have been miscalculated, and the foundation of trust is damaged.

One of the greatest ways a person demonstrates their desire to build trust into a relationship is by taking that risk… by sharing his or her sacred stories. These are the treasures that are tentatively offered, at risk… stories of celebration, stories of pain, stories of history, stories that make us vulnerable in our authenticity. When our stories are honored, we are honored. When our stories are held in confidence — not because they are secret, but because they are ours; our stories to tell to whom we wish, the way we wish and when we wish — when our stories are honored this way, we are honored.. and we will trust the one who has honored us this way.

The flip side of this is when someone shares with us a story that confidentially only belongs to another person. In that moment, we are witnessing the betrayal of someone’s trust. And whether we realize it or not, no matter how intriguing the story may be, we lose trust in the person who is talking. Why would they not also share with someone else a story about me?

What can we do about it?

We can be honest.

  • Honest about admitting that we feel important when we hear, or share something confidential.
    • How likely are we to back away from a situation where someone else’s story is being shared inappropriately?
    • How tempted am I to share someone else’s story because it might make me look good.
  • Honest about how we can just be careless sometimes.
    • What would it take for me to stop and check before I tell a story about someone else?
    • How does our culture break down boundaries about sharing stories that shouldn’t be shared?
  • Honest about how we compromise confidentiality under the cover of ‘shared concern’.
    • How much information really needs to be shared when we are partnering in prayer for someone else?
    • How willing are we to hold in a ‘vault’ the personal stories we hear and allow them to be told only by the people that own them?
  • Honest about the real limits of confidentiality.
    • How well do we know and understand what the limits of the law are in regard to confidentiality? What about organizational confidentiality guidelines?
    • What kind of confidentiality can we really offer in ministry settings?
    • What can we do to make sure we don’t compromise the trust placed in us when we bear witness to those sacred stories that others share with us?
  • Honest about letting people know what they can expect regarding confidentiality in organizations or ministry roles. Most Member Care and Ministry Organizations agree that the most important thing about confidentiality is letting people know what they can and cannot expect.
    • How do our professional roles impact what we can keep confidential?
    • What might be the value in crafting a personal statement regarding confidentiality limits in regard to our ministry role?
    • How might we let people know what these boundaries are?
  • Honest about holding things in confidence whether they were shared as confidential or not.
    • Can we take time to ask ourselves, “what is the value of my sharing this story here and now?”
    • Would the person I’m talking about be pleased that I am sharing his or her story?
    • Who looks good in this story? Who looks bad?
    • What are the implications of my sharing specifics such as names and personal details, etc. Or might my illustration be just as effective if I share only the principles and leave out the personal details?

Proverbs 11:13

A gadabout gossip can’t be trusted with a secret,
but someone of integrity won’t violate a confidence.
(The Message)

 -Submitted by: Cindy Schmelzenbach