Taking Back Mental Peace
We’ve heard it all before…
“Let go and let God”
“Let it go”(Let it goooo! ::singing along to Frozen::)
“Leave it in the past”
“The past is in the past”
And yet, the memories are haunting.
The triggers remain powerful forces in our lives.
Our mortal-mind convinces us to cling to the memory of the pain… Don’t you remember how bad that hurt? I find myself stacking life’s offenses that have hurt me, one on top of another; I can barely hold the weight of the collection. One fresh offense added to the top of the bunch shatters my serenity; the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Each incident independent of the others would seem somewhat trivial. That one family member was inconsiderate – so what. That one ex-boyfriend made poor choices – oh well! That’s why he’s an ex! Yet, I find myself collecting the ‘wrongs’ committed against me holding onto each of them in the name of “learning from my mistakes.”
But is there a difference between learning from my mistakes and holding on to my trauma?
What is the difference exactly?
Similar to the attempts of GusGus stacking the chicken-feed kernels high,
I find that grand-totaling the offenses committed against me over time actually increases the power of new offenses committed, big or small. As I add up “all of the times” people have betrayed me, been cruel, malicious, or simply inconsiderate, I find myself breaking down feeling alone, distraught, wanting to give up, and never trust again.
Then I look at the outpouring of love, generosity, goodness, kindness, and joy from the many incredibly amazing people in my life that truly have pure intentions, and wonder how do I reconcile the contrasting variables. Recently I had a revelation, that similar to GusGus’ kernels, some things are meant just “for the birds”: not worth consideration.
In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus prays,
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven ([a] left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have [b] given up resentment against) our debtors.
Until now, I understood this to mean forgiving those who have wronged us for their sake – as a favor to them. I am beginning to believe Jesus knew this true forgiveness was indeed a great favor – not for the other – but for ourselves.
But, I have forgiven everyone from my past… or have I?
I perceive that I forgave those who wronged me because I’m not mad at them anymore… I don’t have hatred in my heart, nor ill will for their lives. Doesn’t this mean I forgive them?
This concept of forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer is shown to have two parts…
PART 1 – “LET GO OF”
Have you ever had a little baby hold onto your finger (or hair!) and found that the baby has yet to learn how to let go… there are multiple variables involved in physically letting go. The mind must decide to let go, then tell the muscles to follow suit. Each muscle in the hand and fingers must participate in the action in order to make it happen. Eventually, we take for granted all that is involved in this action because it has become subconscious through repetition; we no longer have to cognitively walk through each step. Similarly, I believe we have the power to let go of our past trauma, but it will require some active intention, focus, and practice.
PART 2 – “GIVE UP RESENTMENT AGAINST”
We live in an age of rampant depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental issues attributed largely to humans hurting one another. I am grateful this generation has chosen to study the reality of what a hurting mind actually becomes, medications to help slow the spiral, and professionals who promote healing. As we learn more about mental illness we create labels for the varying types. Validation can accompany the label, and I felt as though it was an important part of my healing process. I felt validated, understood, and affirmed when I was given terminology that aligned with my experiences.
PTSD, ANXIETY, DEPRESSION
I was diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, and depression only a few short years ago. My symptoms included high suspicion of EVERYONE… I questioned intentions constantly… unable to believe that there wasn’t some hidden motive operating in the background, or that the person was simply lying for no logical reason. My PTSD manifested because the things that happened in my life by people I loved and who supposedly loved me weren’t logical. Enough instances happened in such a short period of time, I now believed it was more likely that ‘logical’ actually doesn’t exist, people are dangerous, and no one can be trusted.
I would sleep 12-14 hours everyday having no desire to go live my life. Any misunderstanding or suspicion would trigger my fight-or-flight (adrenal gland) resulting in a breakout of heat rash all over my neck, chest, and face, increased heart rate – feeling as though it could beat of out my chest, or climb up my throat straight out of my mouth – anger, crying, shortness of breath, with a grand finale of utter exhaustion. I would literally SPIRAL out of control mentally. I could practically see the spiral as it was happening…
Living this way was so miserable, so I fought for restored health.
I sought counseling, read books on healing, talked to the people in my life I wanted so badly to believe were trustworthy, and redistributed my trust and reliance according to my faith so as not to be so shaken when humans screw up. I removed the people from my life who chose to remain in situations that brought about injury, giving myself permission to distance myself from harmful people for the sake of my well-being. Over time, I made it to a place where I had fewer and fewer ‘spirals’; eventually, only a handful of “triggers” remained.
Knowing my triggers and when they’re being set off is also satisfying, in a way, because I am able to acknowledge what’s happening and therefore respond accordingly. It was empowering to be able to point to a situation, and my overreaction to it, and identify that I was triggered.
My triggers were my badge of defense, justification, and validation; yet, they derail my life every time they are activated causing inability to focus and be productive, and apprehension to love. I removed the relationships from my life that derail me, yet, they are still living on in MY life through MY triggers. I began to ask myself how this is any different than having those relationships still in my life…
I don’t know why, but the reality is that there is evil in the world… it is the absence of light; the absence of love. As long as I am derailed, I am less able to shine my light. There were many traumas that hit me in a span of a few short years creating a large pile of kernels for the birds that I’ve been carrying, so all it takes is a small additional offense to take me off track.
What if the greatest weapon darkness has to use against us is our own mind?
I am no longer being lied to by my heroine-addicted boyfriend. I am no longer watching him killing himself slowly. My God-daughter is no longer being molested. Her mother is no longer believing the perpetrator over her child, cutting me off because of his manipulation. I am not in close relationship with people who betray me anymore. Yet the triggers live on as if this were all still happening. And therefore, any new offense, regardless of severity, delays my productivity in my purpose, delaying the manifestation of my goals; of spreading love and light. I have “let go” of the relationships that actively injure me, yet, I carry around my triggers created by the heartbreaks of the past. Is this really where healing ends?
Am I really going to live the rest of my life allowing the injuries of my past to influence the amazing relationships of my present?
Yes, some will carry their triggers, their labels, and their diagnoses to the grave;
but there is another way.
I love that in this translation Jesus says, “as we also have forgiven” using the past tense which is a beautiful clue. True forgiveness is in the past as soon as it is decided upon because you cannot let go of something and hold onto it at the same time. Letting go means giving up resentment (resentment: the feeling of displeasure or indignation [righteous anger] at an act regarded as causing injury or insult) towards the offense.
Once connected to the Source of Divine Love, we live in an imperfect world with access to full and perfect healing, with dominion over ALL things of darkness. So as 2017 rolls in, I have decided to speak light into my triggers. I am not going to say I no longer have triggers, I am deciding that they will no longer hold power in my life. I believe that knowing my triggers is the key to draining their power. This will not be an overnight process… I will very likely be triggered throughout the next year, and when my fight-or-flight kicks in I will choose to TRUST in Divine Light. How do I combat the lies that creep in? I speak OUT LOUD the promises that are over my life.
ALL things work together for MY good.
TODAY I am blessed and highly favored.
My God is for me! No weapon formed against me shall prosper.
This moment is a shadow of the valley of death – I cling to the victory I have in Jesus. My name is <<insert your name>> and I know who I am and WHOSE I am. I am not shaken!
If you would like to truly let go, draining the power of the triggers in your life, join me in this prayer. Read it out loud and watch the chains break off your life.
I thank you for providing me the power to speak peace into every situation in my life. This peace is mine through the work that Christ completed on the cross. I receive the healing that accompanies the victory assigned to me and speak that healing over every trigger in my life. Thank You that You are with me on this journey and that I am never alone. My mind shall fall in line with TRUTH; anything but truth must go away from me and my loved ones. God, give me wisdom and discernment to make the choices that will align me with my destiny. I choose to believe your Word that says you have “plans for a future and a hope” for my life. Thank you for your redemptive love.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)
“But those who wait for God [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] will gain new strength and renew their power… They will run and not become weary, they will walk and not grow tired.” (Isaiah 40)