This post is from Greg Longoria. Greg is a Christian blogger and writes at Medium.com. Greg writes articles to enhance believers to grow in their faith and deepen their relationship with God. You can read more from Greg at https://medium.com/@greglongoria
Have you experienced a traumatic event that’s destroyed or injured your spiritual health?
Do you long to get back some of the spiritual confidence and hope that you’ve lost? If so, read on; I believe this post can help you.
In Unhindered Abundance, Dr. Ken Baugh explains that the greatest barrier to spiritual growth is unresolved emotional pain caused by a traumatic event. As I pondered this, my mind replayed traumatic events involving friends and family. I saw how their emotional pain caused them to doubt severely, if not separate, from their spiritual beliefs. I also saw how the doubt and separation resulted in further pain and hardship in their lives.
But before we go on, let’s define “trauma.”
According to the American Psychological Association, trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event. The key here is that trauma isn’t the traumatic event itself; it’s your emotional response to the event.
Why does this definition matter? Because your emotional response gives meaning to the traumatic event, and that meaning shapes your identity and how you see yourself now and in the future. This view of yourself, and your view of the world, has profound implications for your physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Now answer this question: what would your life look like if you were a spiritually healthy person?
Dr. Ken Baugh answers this question as follows:
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, NASB)
A spiritually healthy life is abundant life. A spiritually healthy life is one where you thrive regardless of the pain and problems that get in your way. There’s a Hebrew word for this — Shalom. You may be familiar with the term, but the true power is in its meaning:
Shalom is an inner state of completeness, wholeness, and tranquility.
You achieve shalom by focusing on the goodness of God, and when lived out, your life is filled with peace, love, joy, and hope. Now imagine yourself with that kind of spiritual health!
Don’t let trauma win
In your life, you may have witnessed or experienced abandonment, abuse, death, divorce, illness, infidelity, injustice, loss, or violence. I cannot answer why any of these things happened to you or why bad things happen to good people. But if you’ve experienced something terrible, I am truly truly sorry.
But here’s something I want to say to you — don’t let trauma separate you from your spiritual beliefs.
It’s natural to be angry, resentful and hurt when you’ve gone through something traumatic and you feel like your spiritual beliefs let you down. I’m reminded of the story of Job and what Job’s wife said to him after they experienced an incredible amount of pain and loss. If you don’t know the story, Job was a man who had everything you could ever want, but in a blink of an eye, he lost it all. In this grief and loss, his wife said to him,
“Curse God and die.” (Job 2:9, NLTse)
Now that’s harsh, right?! But these words shed light on how trauma affects your spiritual health. Like Job’s wife, the chances are high you blame or are mad at the spiritual force you put your faith in.
Break free of what’s holding you back
If you’re burdened by shame, guilt, or anger because of a traumatic event, one of the best ways to break the chain of trauma is to regain your spiritual hope. To have hope in something bigger and stronger than yourself is supported by Dr. Anthony Scioli’s research, which shows that if you feel connected to a spiritual force, you’ll have more hope in your future. When you have more hope, you have the strength to break free of the emotional trauma that’s pinning you down.
So how do you do this?
Start talking, listening, and connecting to a more significant spiritual force than yourself (I’ll refer to this as God). Take this step of faith even if you don’t feel like it or believe it. Instead, just look up to the sky and start talking to God. Complain. Rant. Cry. Layout your heart. Question and argue with God; don’t hold anything back. Then be still and be present. Listen and expect an answer. Sometimes it doesn’t come right away. Be patient and know that you’ll get an answer when the time is right. (Also refer to the steps outlined below).
Bad things separate you from what is good. Trauma is the wedge that stands between you and your spiritual recovery. Evil wins when you let the trials and troubles of this world rob you of your spiritual health. Take steps to rebuild your spiritual confidence and create an identity based on a stronger and more vibrant spiritual hope.
Be wise and successful action steps
Take 10–15 minutes and journal your thoughts in response to the following questions:
- How has unresolved pain affected your spiritual health?
- What specific problem(s) has this pain caused in your spiritual connectedness?
- Is there a spiritual counselor you can talk to, and what questions do you have for that person?
- Can you identify two to three other people who can encourage and mentor you on your spiritual journey?
In addition to answering the above questions, you may find the following two articles helpful: 7 Steps to Grow Your Spiritual Hope. Are You Spiritually Stuck? Strengthen Your Mind-Body-Spirit Connection.
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