You might remember my post from September referring to a sermon by Louie Giglio. We are now in a church wide study with his book, Not Forsaken, on fatherhood and learning how God is first and foremost our Father. There are so many broken homes and gaps that fathers can leave in many different ways. But knowing in heart and mind that no matter how our earthly fathers fail us, we have an everlasting Father who is good, faithful, loving, steadfast, full of grace, and never failing is healing. When we live from this knowledge we can live fearless, free, and joyful. But, I want to be clear this doesn't mean we won’t be fearful ever again, that we won’t struggle with things that have enslaved us in the past or rather that Satan wont use these to tempt us. Or that we won’t have days that feel less than joyful. But it does mean that we have the ability to push pause, tap into the power of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to help us through our struggles, to live freely, to receive His peace that surpasses understanding.
Some of you reading this might be thinking "OK that sounds great, but what does pushing pause mean?" Let's walk through what “pushing pause” may look like. Someone may say something or do something that triggers a memory from your past. All the feelings come rushing in and you feel as if you are right back there in that moment. Fear and anxiety take over. And you react without even thinking about it, much like a reflex. You may start to feel stuck in this tendency to react. Maybe feeling like you will always react this way, nothing will change, that you will never heal from what happened to you. I've been there. But, that is a lie from the devil. He will use this lie to keep you in a victim mentality, to keep you isolated, to keep you from reaching out, and to keep you enslaved to your past. But, there is another option. You can push pause. It is something that takes practice, but once you master it, it can be life changing. Ask yourself if you are reacting to the past or the present. Because just because something FEELS like a past experience doesn’t mean it is. Sometimes I think we can be more afraid of a trauma response than the very thing we are afraid of. So we will do whatever it takes to not feel that way. So try to take a moment before you react. Go somewhere quiet if you can, ask the person if you can have a moment before you respond. Ask Holy Spirit to reveal to you if this is something that you need to be guarded about or this is just a completely normal response to a past traumatic experience. You may need to get clarification from the other person, but meeting God in this place before reacting so you can respond well protects, heals, and creates a relationship and reliance on God that is irreplaceable. We can sometimes become codependent on other people instead of God because of trauma and we need to replace this reliance on others onto reliance on God. We need to be so dependent on God that He is the only codependent relationship we have.
Holy Spirit is there to guide you, to teach you (John 14:26), to help when you don’t quite know what to pray for (Romans 8:26), to counsel you and help you understand (Isaiah 11:2). We literally have the knowledge of Jesus and the key to our own freedom at our fingertips but we need to ask and ask specifically. I pray that you grow in learning how to live your life from the freedom you've been given. It may not change the world, but it will change yours.