Why are we so sensitive to traumas? Why can’t we simply walk away from a traumatic incident and forget about it?
We must remember that God made us with the intention that we would live in paradise. He gave us a psyche with the capacity to live in a garden planted by God himself, and to walk and talk personally with God. (Gen, 1,2, 3:6) The world we humans were intended to live in did not have traumatic experiences until Adam and Eve disobeyed and were thrown out of their natural ambience.
However, when they were thrown out of the garden, their psychological capacities did not change. In other words, we do not have any natural psychological capacities to deal with any experiences that would not have happened in Paradise. Traumatic experiences are like viruses invading our psychological system. They can bring permanent damage to our psychological system.
The painful incident is recorded in our memories like a video with the traumatic ending remaining unresolved. When anything similar happens, the video runs again with the same unresolved traumatic ending that was in the original unresolved experience. Anything can push the rerun button: words, smells, sounds, the tone of a voice, a spoken language, and so on and on.
God did not intend that we carry the memory of these traumatic experiences with their griefs and sorrows. He knew we could not carry them (Matt. 11:28-30). Jesus said we should cast our burdens on Him and He will carry them for us. Many people have told me, “But I tried to cast this on him, but it all comes back again.” Yes, and as long as the video does not have a different ending, it will all come back over and over.
People are often told, “Just think of something else. Think of a good memory. Don’t let the bad memory stay in your mind.”
The question is: How can the traumatic ending of the video be changed? The following is the story of a counselee who gave me permission to change her name and use her story. Her story first appeared in the first volume of my Healing the Wounded Soul series. I will repeat her story here and in the next blog we’ll talk some more about how to receive this kind of healing.
Stella was always singing. From morning to evening she sang praise and worship choruses. She was always so happy—so much so that I finally concluded she had some deep, hidden sorrow in her life. Sooner or later, every person wakes up with a stomachache or some other malady, or simply doesn’t feel like singing. Stella sang every day.
When I learned to know her better I asked her, “Could it be, Stella, that you have a deep, hidden hurt inside of you?”
Stella looked at me for a minute, then dropped her head and murmured, “Yes, Hermana (Sister), I have a problem.”
When she was six years old, Stella had been raped. This incident, which she called “my problem,” made her feel worthless. She wanted to die and begin life again. One day she heard someone preaching in the street who asked, “Do you want to begin a new life?” Stella thought to herself, “That is exactly what I want.” That day she gave her life to Jesus and became a child of God.
However, the pain from her past still remained intact. When Stella tried to talk to her spiritual counselor about her problem, her counselor told her, “Don’t ever in your life mention that again, because it has been forgiven. Forget about it!”
But try as she would, Stella could not forget the past. The more she tried to forget, the more she remembered it all. Because of this, she sang from morning to night. She was trying to cover her pain with singing.
Together we asked Jesus to walk with Stella through her memories. We cast her pain on Jesus and watched him carry it to the cross. We asked Him to take the little six-year-old girl in Stella’s memory into his strong arms and protect her. When I asked Stella if she could see the little girl with Jesus, she said, “Oh yes! She’s sitting in His arms and she’s completely safe there.” In this way Stella became free from the pain of her past. She no longer had to sing from morning to evening.
Sometime later she changed jobs and began studying for her high school diploma. Several years passed before I met her again. “How are you doing with your problem?” I asked.
“My problem? What problem? My grades are good. I don’t have any problem,” she said.
“No, no. How is that problem that you told me about several years ago?”
“Oh, that! No, that’s past. I don’t even remember it anymore. I don’t have any problem with that anymore.”
God had healed all that pain that she had been unable to forget for so many years. He is waiting to carry any pain that we open up to Him.
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