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Triggered...


Since my last post, life and work got super busy. I slipped into a routine where time passed faster than I could keep up. I often felt so tired that when I got home, I’d fall asleep before 9 o’clock then lay awake half the night. Minor aches and pains mounted into debilitating physical problems. Multiple unexpected issues arose, causing financial stress. Meanwhile, issues and annoyances with family, friends, and colleagues, pushed me into familiar corners of frustration and defensiveness. Individually, seemingly unrelated but collectively they became increasingly troublesome.


Signs appeared in my personal spaces. Random things nagged at me until I connected the dots that there was an issue to address. For the first time since I’ve moved here, the weeds had grown totally out of control in my yard, way too many to pull, yet too difficult to ignore. My lawncare service couldn’t fit me into their schedule since it was still out of season, and I was embarrassed to walk outside and look at it.


The pest control service showed up for their quarterly visit and sprayed the exterior perimeter of the house. Not a new process, but this time by the next day hundreds of dead mosquitos (in February) filled the breezeway to my front door. It was gross, and as quickly as I could sweep them away, the next day just as many reappeared. This happened for several days. It made no sense, as no one else’s front door was infested in this way.


Then out of the blue, my car battery died, and I had to wait for hours for a tow truck to arrive to jump start the car after an attempt on my own literally set my cables on fire, at work in the dark. I thought that was resolved until a few days later it happened again. I had to replace the battery myself on the road, as this ONE TIME, roadside assistance wasn’t available to do it for me. Seriously?! I think you get my drift!

I finally threw my hands up and asked, “Lord, what is going on?” I didn’t believe I was doing anything different warranting such a spiritual attack, but I was literally being bugged to death by the weeds in my yard and the emotional baggage in my life.


Our bible study group has been studying the book of Revelation and has challenged me in new ways that are quite uncomfortable, if I’m being honest. I’ve also noticed that many recent church sermons, by multiple pastors have been on the topic of Kingdom vs Culture. This is not the time to dig into that, but it’s relevant to the crossroads that I find myself at right now.


Nevertheless, when I asked the question about what was happening, as always, He answered. Everything was going well until I was triggered. Without going into detail, back in January someone shared some information with me about a past relationship. Although I was not surprised, I was subtly retraumatized. I didn’t react, which was good in the moment, however as I quietly processed the truth of the situation, I grew increasingly angry. Looking back, I understand that what probably triggered me more was the lack of response or understanding from the people that I shared the information with. All with great intentions, but we all know that it’s easy to say, “why does it matter at this point?” “What’s done is done...” or “just let it go…” when it doesn’t directly impact you. It actually felt worse to hear no response at all!


While I’d love to say I’m that mature in my faith walk, I clearly am not. So, I reverted to suffering in silence. Outwardly, having appeared to have moved on but inside, I was still pressing it down. What does that look like in layman’s terms? Displaying mini emotional eruptions in unrelated situations that shouldn’t have bothered me as much as they did. While each situation was significant and required a response, what I thought was establishing and enforcing firm boundaries, others interpreted as aggressive.


SIDEBAR: I know that in our efforts to “move on” from difficult seasons/situations, our tendency is to find ways to avoid thinking about the thing that causes us pain. So, while what often sounds like good advice to find “healthy distractions” may be a short-term solution, it is not sustainable long term. Why not? Because the things that we need distractions from just continue to pile up and we find more extreme ways to distract ourselves from dealing with the issue, which not only hurts us, but it’s leaks out onto others, causing them pain too.


It's so easy to judge drug, alcohol use and/or violence as the most destructive coping mechanisms. Yet we lovingly ignore overeating, smoking, control/perfectionism, criticism of others, etc., as more appropriate ways to take our mind off the crap that life throws at us, to feel good in the moment.


I allowed myself to get sucked into the whirlwind of distractions in the past few months, submitting to my physical pain, I became a binge watching, couch potato and Heluva Good French Onion Dip because my boo! I complained about the people and situations that offended me and I used my busy work schedule as an excuse to do nothing after work, most nights.


BUT GOD began to drop breadcrumbs to lead me back to him by picking up my pen and get back to writing my way through the pain. Not with this blog, but the sequel to my screenplay. You didn’t know? A few years ago, I wrote a screenplay with hopes of selling it for production of a major motion picture. However, feedback suggested that it was probably better suited for a series on a streaming service. At the time, that discouraged me because it took so much out of me emotionally to complete the first one that I didn’t believe I had any gas left in the tank to write more. However, lately I have been getting glimpses of inspiration, so I started taking notes and planning out my next steps.


A few weeks ago, through a burst of inspiration, I sat in front of the computer and instead of preplanning everything, I decided to let the story lead me in the direction it was begging to go. So, I did, however at about 8 pages into the script, I hit a wall.


NOTE: In film/screenwriting, you have so many minutes to capture the audience by setting the stage before an inciting incident needs to happen that demands action and sets the urgency that moves the story forward.


When I hit the wall, I thought it was just writers block, but now I understand that like me, my main character was triggered, forcing her to confront her feelings in either a destructive or a productive way. That wasn’t at all where I thought the story would go but isn’t it just like God to make my imagination for this fictional character reveal to me what I was avoiding in real life.


The bottom line… I’m angry! For multiple reasons, I’m angry. This unpleasant news forced me to revisit and reevaluate years of conversations, actions, decisions, and feelings, which at the end of the day made me feel like a fool. I was angry at the people who I believed knew and didn’t tell me, although that’s never an easy position to be in. Then my anger turned towards God because He directed me to handle the situation in a certain way and the outcome was the opposite of what I had expected or hoped for. I was also mad at myself for being foolish and wasting my time and energy.


So, I had to decide… Was I going to continue to let this be a trigger for me while expecting others to unknowingly tiptoe around my emotional land mines, or was I going to acknowledge my feelings but also accept that God kept me there for a reason and I don’t always get to understand why? After praying and even arguing with God for a bit, I finally received THE revelation on one of my morning walks. He told me, “It wasn’t about you!”


Those four words quickly put my pain into perspective. There are often things that God will ask us to do that doesn’t make sense. Sometimes we do have to endure suffering for the sake of supporting the needs of others. I don’t love it, but that’s the truth! As a mother, I immediately understood that commitment to sacrificial love, no matter who it involved so I couldn’t argue about it any further. The only thing left for me to do was to continue to pray that my feelings would come into alignment with the purpose that I have committed to fulfilling. Also, I had to refocus my thoughts from temporary distractions to rather discovering what good came out of the situation, for me and for others around me to make it all worth it. To help me with this, God directed me to go back and read all my blog posts and journal entries to show me how far I’ve come and that did the trick.


For now, my journey to wholeness includes continuing to release my repressed anger and reach a next level of forgiveness. I also know now that the sequel to my first screenplay will incorporate this journey, which is a turn that I am not sure I’m ready to follow, but nevertheless not my will but thy will be done…

The title of the first screenplay is “Bitter” and this next one is entitled, “Better”. Only God knows what’s next but I’m along for the ride.


P.S. By no means am I minimizing the impact of trauma and things that trigger us on a daily basis. I have had my share, but what I am saying is do what you need to do, to not stay stuck there. In this trigger happy world, God is teaching me that while there should be compassion for our trauma, we have to actually deal with it, so it doesn't control how we show up in the world and in our relationships.


Until next time…

Kommentare


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