“Don’t turn the ego (false self) into an enemy because triggers let you know there’s something to tune into.”
I experienced many different emotions upon returning from war-torn Kabul, Afghanistan in 1995. I didn’t know exactly what was wrong with me until I read some books on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). At one point I heard a gunshot, and that triggered a host of unpleasant feelings, transporting me back to Afghanistan when I heard bombs going off. Triggers are “distress as a result of feelings or memories associated with a particular traumatic experience.”
As I’ve stated in other posts, I do not like pain, and that includes emotional pain. When some event reminds me of a trauma, the last thing I want to do is to embrace it. But that is exactly the way out or through feeling the raw pain and into the healing arms of Jesus. In this way, our triggers become our treasures. Don’t look at painful reminders of past or present hurt as something to avoid; instead, look at it as an opportunity to grow – closer to God and to know and understand yourself better. Triggers are points of pain that are invitations from God for our healing.
The next time you are “triggered,” when your emotional response is inappropriate, (more than to be expected to what just happened), take a step back, pause, and ask the Holy Spirit what is going on. Discern from God the reason behind your reaction. What is the pain underneath the tip of the iceberg that is causing you to explode? This is the prime time for stillness and to reconnect with God’s voice of grace.
The benefit of triggers is that they alert us that something is not right inside of us, and they invite us to discover what is wrong, the reason for our pain, and the way toward our healing. Our struggles cause us to become aware of what’s going on within our soul. Your soul is the most important part of you, for it affects your body, mind, spirit, and emotions. Therefore, it behooves you to pay attention and give care to your soul.
Please give yourself compassion when you’re being triggered. This is not the time to berate yourself or speak shame over yourself. Instead, receive God’s new-every-morning compassion. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Allow God’s compassion to soak throughout your soul till you’re able to find His treasures in your triggers.
“Triggers are the best opportunities to grow.”
Describe a time when you found treasure through your triggers.