Confession: over the years, I have developed a lot of church hurt. Some of the meanest people I’ve ever met have worked at churches. And, honestly, there have been times when I’ve been the meanest person in the room—I really am a work in progress through and through. I’ve learned that hurt inflicted by the church is a special type of pain because it’s tied with God and with people who are following God. Because of that spiritual component, those hurts are some of the most difficult to recover from.
For the past year and a half, God has been highlighting these hurts in my life. He has been giving me opportunities to come to him for healing and restoration, some of which I’ve accepted willingly and other times have rejected readily.
God always reveals to restore.
During a recent church service, my pastor outlined the vision for the church for the next few years, and it was, on its face, nearly a carbon copy of past church experiences. So, as you can imagine, my feet wanted to bolt out of that building as quickly as possible. But my heart was saying something different. I heard that still, small whisper telling me not to merely stay put, but to lean in. I felt him telling me to get involved—to catch the vision of the church and run with it. Run with these people of God as they chase wholeheartedly after him.
As you can imagine, I was understandably triggered by this service and conflicted by the two sides of me wanting to go in different directions. As I was processing through the juxtaposition within me, I acknowledged that I was triggered and wanted to pretend like I wasn’t. I longed to shut that down so that I would no longer feel the way I did, but that’s not what the Lord is asking me to do.
God wants to be invited into the moments when we are triggered, instead of us pretending like they don’t exist.
I wholeheartedly believe that God never reveals something within us without the will and desire to restore it. He wants to heal those broken and hurting parts of us, but we have to first accept that we have those hurts in our lives. We have to be willing to come humbly to him—merely pretending like we’re not hurting does no one any good.
God never asks us to be emotionless robots or pretend like everything’s perfect. He gave us emotions for a reason and it’s our privilege to learn how to experience and express those healthily. And thankfully, we don’t have to be perfect because Jesus is perfection on our behalf.
Are you currently being triggered by anything in your life? Is there some circumstance or some person who is grating on your nerves, bringing up old wounds, or shining a light on insecurities or fears?
If there’s something like that in your life right now, my guess is that it’s not by accident. There’s probably something that God wants to restore in your mind and heart—something that he wants you to grow through.
Though I have been so frustrated by this current season I am in and have, at times, felt like God has played a giant trick on me, I’m beginning to see God’s goodness more clearly. I am in the season that I’m in because he loves me more than I can imagine and is making me look more like him day by day. And, in order for me to better follow him, I have to let go of some things from my past that are holding me back. And I’m sure the same is true for you.
If you’re in a season where triggers surround you, I encourage you to find God in the midst of them with you. And if you have, like me, tried to pretend that you aren’t triggered, trying to handle it all on your own, I encourage you to invite God into that place of hurt and pain and see how he shows up in big and little ways. He’s a good father who loves us and never leaves us, no matter how triggered we are.