Triggers. That seems to be a very present and pressing occurrence in the lives of many who thought they had recovered from abuse. A dear friend has been struggling with those awful feelings triggered by present circumstances even though the abuse happened quite a while back. Those emotional memories caused tears to flow along with the emotional paralysis that many times accompanies abuse aftermath. A few days ago I, too, was triggered and experienced extreme feelings of helplessness and vulnerability. My friend and I are both strong women of God who know He is there for us. He is our anchor at these times, but these times are still difficult to process and break free from.
These feelings are very real, but, thankfully, they don’t accurately reflect what’s happening presently but are a reaction/response to what happened in the past. That’s what the head knows, anyway. There’s a huge conflict between the intellect and emotions that only God can resolve.
Praise God that He is there for my friend, you and me during times of stress and challenge like these. He indeed always makes a way.
2 Samuel 22:3 (NIV)
3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
from violent people you save me.
2 Samuel 22:31 (NIV)
31 “As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
Psalm 18:2 (NIV)
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 33:20 (NIV)
20 We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
There is an older praise hymn out there about the battle belonging to the Lord. When unsettling things like these happen, I believe it’s the kingdom of darkness taking advantage of our weakness and enhancing it to attempt to drive a wedge between me and God. That when I struggle to put on my spiritual armor to disarm my enemy and render him powerless against me. And I follow the Apostle Paul’s prescription in Philippians.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Father God, all who have been abused experience triggers that cause us to experience the thoughts and emotions associated with abuse as though the event is still ongoing instead of being in the past. Help us to overcome the effects of the triggers by turning to You and your word for help and guidance and encouragement. Help us to realize that no amount of effort and determination on our own power can cause our emotional equilibrium to return. Only You are more powerful than our triggers, abusers and the abuse they so hurt us with. Thanks for being there for us always. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Things to Pray, Journal and Think About
1. Have you admitted to yourself that even though you are usually an emotionally and spiritually strong person, there are things you just can’t handle or resolve on your own?
2. How does giving your burden/problem to God make you feel?
3. Have you prayed through Ephesians 6:10-18 and asked God to help you put on His armor? What happened?
4. Have you asked God to place things in your mind that are spiritually uplifting like Paul encourages in Philippians? How did that change or benefit you?
5. Do you have a circle of trusted burden bearers you can alert when life gets hard? When they pray, have you ever felt their love and prayers?
copyright 2014, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved