Encounter: Go to https://www.edenmuncie.com/the-chosen-resources and using the Discussion Guide for Episode 5 of Season 2, begin to reflect on John 3:22-36 and Mark 1:21-28 as you watch this Chosen episode.
A Trigger: typically is a result of arousing feelings or memories associated with a particular traumatic or wounding experience. Emotional reactions to triggers can look like crying, unexplained anger, increased anxiety, feelings of panic, physical symptoms, and more.
In Episode 5 there’s a lot of triggering going on. We see Mary being triggered by the trauma of her past demons threatening her identity as a beloved daughter of God, the disciples being triggered by Matthew’s past threatening the unity and effectiveness of their ministry, and religious leaders being triggered by what threatens their sense of control and tradition, unable to acknowledge the miracles of new life right in front of their eyes. We even see John the Baptist being triggered by what threatens the righteousness of God in the culture around him.
Like bullets released from the chamber of a weapon with the squeeze of a trigger, an emotional trigger can be a powerful thing setting in motion a response difficult to manage. How we deal with our triggers will have an effect on our relationships and quality of life and the capacity to a growing intimacy in our relationship with God and others.
You didn’t have to go through a traumatic experience to be affected by triggers. You and I live out of deeply held belief systems that can keep us from reflecting on why we feel the way we feel, do the things we do and react in ways that are not at times in harmony with our faith or even in your desire to live the good life. We can even turn down opportunities to grow spiritually because of our “feelings.”
I came across a Facebook post today that said something to the effect that I no longer will question my intuition, if something feels off about a person, place or thing, I’m not going to stick around.
I am all for learning to trust our intuition, but examination of those feelings for possible triggers is essential. Honestly, our intuition can be distorted by our past experiences, belief systems and wounds. And discerning what is true in a safe and trusted community can bring the clarity we need to follow Jesus while not hurting others.
This week, I began reading My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem and this quote speaks so clearly to our invitation from God to understand where we may be reacting to others out of “dirty pain” (unhealthy coping patterns) or responding out of “clean pain (examined, processed, healing).” “Healing is a messy, challenging, uncomfortable and honestly painful journey. You are confronted with parts of yourself that you don’t want to see. You are faced with parts of other people you don’t want to see. It is not easy. But refusing to heal is worse. It gives the pain and messes the opportunity to grow and fester. You find yourself with challenges that are much bigger than they were before and more deeply rooted. This is not to say that once you have gone so far there is nothing you can do. Just that when you notice the wound, be it internal or external, tend to it as soon as you can”
Setting a broken bone can be painful, but leaving it broken will only cause deeper issues in time. So what do we do with our triggers? Seek understanding and ground yourself in safe relationships to take the journey into more healing. Consider some of these intentional practices where you can begin:
Each day soak in the healing scriptures (google healing scriptures in the Bible) begin with Psalm 23 and be open to God’s guidance
Use a prayer app to begin and end your day such as Lectio 365 to help renew your mind
Get help from a pastor, therapist or spiritual director to help discover the source of your trigger and with their assistance find resources for healing
Find support in a safe community through a Life Group or form a triad with two other people who may be wrestling with similar life issues or a friend who is emotionally safe and holds what you share in confidence.
With those counselors in your life, explore what may be your next step towards health & wholeness. Consider EPIC coaching as a good place to begin. Email email@example.com
So don’t be afraid to face your demons. Ask yourself, “What is mine to do?” Are there times when I am reacting out of “dirty pain?” There is hope! The pathway of spiritual maturity and living deeply in God’s grace, freedom and truth begins with baby steps of honesty. Then as the life of God begins to permeate your mind, emotions and soul, you will find yourself no longer ruled by your triggers, but a wounded healer allowing those things you have suffered to bring comfort to others as you proclaim!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
Seeking His Healing with You,