arrowsTriggers come in a variety of ways. I recently had the experience of being triggered by someone’s behavior that took me back to a painful place, causing me distress. To someone else, who does not have my past, it would be nothing perhaps. But to me, the situation flooded my soul with pressure, old anxiety, and a rush of blood to my heart, flushing my face. I thought, “What should I do?”

What Triggers You?
Do you have instances, times of painful remembrance that trigger you? An argument between a couple in a neighboring apartment, a parent who is offering too much advice, an impatient person, the testimony of someone who has overcome an addiction, the story of abuse recounted by the victim, a liar, an angry person, attending church? These and many other circumstances can take us back to a very painful place in our lives that brings us anxiety, doubt, and fear. BTW: Satan loves this! The more He can incite these emotions in you, the more it keeps you on ice, a bit frozen, unable to move into God’s provision and the future He’s designed for you.

I believe all people “trigger” to some degree, some of the differences in how we respond involve the degree of trauma suffered, denial, or the hunger with which we have pursued healing.

In the example of my trigger-induced-situation, I was able to recognize it for what it was and responded respectfully, not holding the unknowing person responsible for my past. Rather than blaming them for my internal response, I chose to respond through what I’ve learned. While the physiological responses to temporary stress were evident, they dissipated (my blood pressure normalized) and I could move on.

Time can heal some things, but learning how to deal with past offenses takes aTalking diligent pursuit of healing from God.

Often, relationships never mend because it takes desire and skill to navigate these waters; and some feel the relationship is just not worth the effort. Humility is a big part of healing. Recognizing that we all have sinned in some way against others helps us see how important mercy is.

Freeing ourselves from offense through forgiveness is something we can do. Additional action may also be needed. You can ask God to bring justice; He does this in ways we may never know of. He has also placed civil authorities (Romans 13:1-5) in our world to deal with law breakers.

Who Do You Trigger?
Many of us can sense when someone is causing us distress but we may have a hard time recognizing when we do the same to others. We are reminded in Philippians chapter 2 that we are to look out for the needs of others, not simply our own. Paul uses Jesus as our example in these verses. It’s true, we don’t see how often we cause pain to someone without realizing it. We are fortunate when we have the kind of relationships with others that allows for freedom, a loving-exchange of the heart, to where you can talk about these things. This honest communication works toward healing (Ephesians 4:15).

Our Healer
There are many circumstances that God uses in our lives to help us see the condition of our soul, our inner-man. As our creator and the lover of our souls, God the Father wants us to experience what He designed at creation: oneness with Him and others. Jesus came for that purpose; the Father sent Him to bring that about. He desires that we are made whole, fully integrated with Him, finding a place of peace. From there we can move forward into relating well with each other.

Freedom from the past
Think about who or what you have turned to for relief from your internal triggers?

FALSE solutions
I’d like to encourage you to be aware of the traps that are laid, by your very real enemy, to ensnare you into a false way of overcoming the past. This list seems innocuous enough at first, and you may feel very good inside from switching up to new people, places, and things… but please do not make the mistake of substituting them for the real solution.

Offended (2)1. People (Relationships): When we have had a poor or failed relationship in our past, we often believe that trying again and succeeding will cover the pain. Please be careful here. Unless you seek full disclosure within your own soul and receive healing from the past, this will only increase and multiply your issues. Don’t allow another human being to become a surrogate for God in your life.

pendulumPeople are prone to react to their past by jumping onto the pendulum and swinging it as far to the other side as possible. Overcompensating, compromising your beliefs and standards, and living out of character in a desperate attempt to normalize life, will only bring more pain down the road.

2. Places (Moves): Starting over feels good. Moving to a new location, thinking that you’re leaving the pain behind isn’t the solution. Many people change something up in their lives thinking this will offer relief. How many people have you known who attempt to find relief through some physical change, a new town, school, workplace, church? Changing locations does not change your heart and it may further complicate the situation.

3. Things (Possessions): Gaining ownership or control over things (or people) can lead to addiction if our soul is not healed. We are a society full of addiction and no one is immune from this temptation.

Looking for comfort in good things from God like food and work can become addictions if we’re not careful; habitually going to any-thing other than God is dangerous. Look at the massive time-consuming addictions of our Addictionday: social media, fake relationships, texting, sexting, pornography, gossip, gambling, gaming, shopping, drugs, alcohol, workaholism, and numerous other self-destructive behaviors, these come easily to a soul that is lacking fulfillment.

Things cannot replace the peace that God offers and the contentment found in a life centered in Him.

(Note: If we are availing ourselves to needful help and proper counsel there are times that changing people and places can serve as a good buffer for a season while actively working our side, especially where major abuse has occurred.)

Grace and Mercy

So today, will you consider what God might have you learn about yourself? Look within, rather than without at what others have done, or are doing, and realize that you decide your future. Will you be focused upon growing in grace and God’s mercy and love toward others or continuing to live in your past, the pain, the offense. Yes, triggers are real, but they do not have to control us. Our response when we are triggered is determined by the progress we’re making through God’s healing power within.

When Jesus was headed toward the cross, he knew his disciples would face difficult, traumatic experiences and so He had an important discussion with them (found in John chapters 14-15). He reminded them that their joy, confidence, and peace would come from the Father through the Spirit. He introduced them to the Comforter— whom He said would be able to take up residence inside of them. Wow! and it’s the same for us… we will face difficulties but let us be wise; pursue healing from God for ourselves and then, in turn, extend it toward others.

Photo Credit: Google Images

Reading: Forgive & Live! may be of help.

Keeping Your Brain Secure

submarineBrain and mind studies interest me. We are told now that our brains can be “hacked” by computer algorithms (persuasiveness) and we need an anti-virus for our brain. As soon as I heard this, I thought: and God provided it! It’s truly wonderful that God has already precluded our problem by giving us the protection for our brain long BEFORE technology arrived. I find that amazing; yet, few people apply God’s protective measures.

I am often thinking about how powerful God’s Word is. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (NASB). Our Father gave us instructions about renewing our minds daily so that we would have a habit of protection, providing us security from the world; He knew how desperately we need it. In the day we are living in, many still do not realize how much our brains have been affected by technology.

The mind is immaterial, unlike the brain which is organic/material. The reason there isfruitful heart so much controversy in the world over mind and brain studies is that opinion differs depending on your world view. God has told us so much about the minds He gave us and how to have a healthy one. If we adhere to the understanding which God our Creator provides, we can know His purpose and design for highly functional, pure, and fruitful minds.

Scripture tells us that our minds are seated in our hearts.

Jeremiah 17:10 ESV “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.

1 Chronicles 28:9 [ David’s Charge to Solomon ] “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought.”

Matthew 22:37 ESV And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Romans 12:2 ESV “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

heart brainPhilippians 4:7 ESV “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Hebrews 10:16 ESV “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,”

1 Peter 5:8 ESV “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Romans 8:5-6 ESV “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”

We see this all around us as our culture continues to accept as normal, very destructive, and harmful influences. Some professing believers seem to have fallen into a trap themselves of believing the Kingdom of this World’s thinking over the actual Word of God. This can be seen in our lives, churches, small groups, everywhere. Our thinking has been greatly influenced by the culture we live in. This is not new, but with powerful persuasive technology that we willing give ourselves to, we are sucked into a vortex that perhaps we don’t realize has gotten us.

read-1188585__480Anti-virus Protection

The wise solution for any generation is dousing your mind in God’s Word; this is our only safety-net from hidden invaders. While technology is very persuasive, we can choose what we set our minds upon and respond well to attacks. Remember: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7-8 (ESV)

When I listen to techy millennials like Tristan Harris talk about technology and what it is doing today to people’s minds, I cannot help but realize once again how smart God is! He’s given us the brain security we need — the question is: Will you apply it?

Tristan Harris on TEDx     (17 minutes)

Photo Credits: Pixabay

Are You Persuadable?

THINK: How much of your attention is given to technology related relationships? What Braindo you give your time and attention to? Are you under the influence? Drugged… Addicted?  If you’re interested in some insider info, take 17 minutes and listen to Tristan Harris (Founder of Time Well Spent) giving a Ted X Talk on the subject.

Next, put that into perspective with Scripture:

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6 ESV

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 ESV

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2 ESV

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 ESV

Freedom from Bitterness

Here are five helpful steps in walking toward freedom:cropped-frost.jpg

1)  RECOGNIZE that someone has caused you pain and that your response to their sin, or your perception of an offense, will either free you or bind you.

2)  RETURN to God if you have allowed the sin of another to cause your relationship with your Heavenly Father to falter. This will involve repenting of anything you have done to distance yourself from Him. You may have been a victim of sin initially, but at some point you become a perpetrator if you feel you must take vengeance rather than allow God to deal with the individual.  Victims can turn into violators if unforgiveness festers.

3)  READ God’s Word daily so when temptation comes to react to situations, especially those that involve past pain, you can be freshly reminded of God’s promises to help you overcome wrong feelings. The Holy Spirit renews our minds as we submit to His Word and gives us a new outlook on our situation.

4)  REJOICE in the reality that God is faithful to you no matter what you have experienced.  He knows the depth of pain you have gone through.  Jesus put Himself through the dregs of sins and every imaginable offense so that we would have opportunity to forgive and be free.

5)  REMIND yourself daily that because Christ has forgiven you, you must also forgive others (Col.3:13).  Praying for the person who has wronged you helps to develop love in your heart toward them.  It’s not because they asked for or deserve forgiveness, rather you’re extending grace to them, as Christ has done for us.

REMEMBER:  Think->Do->Feel.  Do not let feelings lead you, but God’s Word instead.

Freedom from Habitual Sin

Addiction is rampant in our society. In biblical terms, we would describe this as bondage to an idol in the heart.  Something that has been given a place and taken hold in the person’s life to where they feel helpless to become free.  Some thing or person has been chosen over God to fill the void or remove some hidden pain in their soul. The good news is that through Jesus Christ there is freedom from destructive habits. It involves work and dedication to the process, but freedom is guaranteed to the ones who will humble themselves, repent with godly sorrow, and hate the sin that binds them. This involves loving the Savior who died to set us free from the bondage of sin, in whatever form it takes.

Sexual Idolatry is a major problem today. Unlike drug or alcohol addiction, this habitual sin can be masked for a period of time while secretly doing it’s work of changing one’s brain. Usually, by the time it is discovered, great harm has come to the individual, marriage, and family. The destructive consequences will follow, but there is hope.

With the growth of the internet, the porn epidemic has become a tsunami ravaging our world.  Pornography + Masturbation = Tragedy. Sexual abuse, pedophilia, sodomy, bestiality, human trafficking, and all sexual lust brings Satan delight in his mission to steal, kill and destroy God’s creation (John 10:10). Because of our Father’s great love toward us, He desires to redeem each one. His desire involves abundant life that comes from a right relationship with Him through repentance and correction steps to restore wholeness within.


II Cor. 7:11 indicators of Godly Sorrow:

  1. Eagerness and earnest care to explain what you did, even though you may not understand why.
  2. To clear yourself of the wrongdoing and follow-up with proper actions.
  3. To hate the sin that you were involved in.
  4. To have alarm and fear about the seriousness of sin.
  5. yearning and desire to live for God instead of your own pleasure.
  6. Zeal to make things right. To correct all injustice.
  7. readiness to embrace the consequences and make corrections.

Understanding the physiological changes that result from habitual porn hits to the brain is cricial in gaining freedom. This will give hope and practical help to those who’ve struggled for years to be released from the bondage of porn use. Please see my Resources page for insights and wisdom.

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Photo Credit: Pixabay