Trigger points….those tiny little areas of a muscle that, when strained or irritated, can send pain screaming to various points of your body. Most people have trigger points in their muscles. When they are triggered, pain is felt wherever the trig points to in your body. They are found only in muscles, but they don’t always trigger where you think they will.
For instance, you could have a trigger point in an arm muscle, and when it is triggered, it could cause the pain to be in your leg. I recently saw on tv someone having leg pain and a doctor did something to the person’s neck, and it untriggered the leg pain. The trigger started in one place and triggered something else.
Did you know it is possible to have trigger points in you spiritual life? It is true! You could be going through your normal day, feeling good and on top of the world, and then all of a sudden you will have something trigger pain and heartache inside of you. Maybe you will see someone do something, and it will trigger a memory from your past that consumes you with emotional pain. Maybe you will hear a song, and it triggers a memory, a feeling, a desire, or a temptation. Maybe you smell a certain smell, and all of a sudden your mind flashes back to a place in time your heart would prefer you not go. Like a bullet flying from a gun, these emotional triggers send a shot of pain searing through your soul.
I remember a time when this happened in my life. I was walking down a mall, and I heard a song playing on the radio. I recognized the singers voice, and because I enjoyed her music, I started listening more intently. However, as I listened to the words of the song, I was immediately consumed with feelings of anger, rage, hate, depression, and a host of very unhealthy emotions as I was overcome with memories of childhood abuse and experiences I would have preferred to block out all together. However, this song triggered a floodgate of pain and sorrow, and I was left an emotional wreck.
So here I was, a seemingly sane, normal person, having flashbacks of the worse kind in a store of all places. I can only imagine what the other customers must have thought of me. But the song triggered some suppressed memories that I had refused to ever face, and now I was experiencing them head on.
Now, I know I am not the only person to every experience this. We have all had moments like this. Maybe they were not on the same scale as mine, but we have all experienced them. So what should we do with experiences like this?
First of all, do not deny the trigger and pretend it isn’t happening. This is unhealthy and will do nothing to heal your heart and soul. Too often people just bury such experiences, and then they repeat the trigger points over and over until it happens in such a dramatic way that it is unavoidable. It is better to face the trigger head on than to ignore it and allow it to torment you over and over. Trust me, as one who had buried suppressed triggers for years only to have it all explode in a store, it is better to deal with it the first time it happens.
What you need to do instead is face the emotions, the pain, the horror that the trigger has stirred inside of you. For me, I had to remember and face the abuse and cruel treatment that I was flashing back to when I heard the song. I had to work through the memory under the power of the Holy Spirit, feel the pain, face it, and forgive the person who caused me the pain. I had to handle the trigger point so that the trigger point could no longer handle me. The trigger is there for reason, and honestly it is usually the Holy Spirit that pulls the trigger. Why? Because He wants the absolute best for you and He wants you to live in complete spiritual health and freedom.
After you thoroughly deal with the suppressed memory or the issue the Holy Spirit wants you to deal with, you then need to avoid the trigger. What do I mean? Well, let’s take the illustration I used earlier. My trigger was a song that made me feel a load of unhealthy and sinful emotions. Once I worked through the feelings, dealt with the pain, forgave the person, and overcame through the power of the Holy Spirit, I stopped listening to the song. Why? Well it wasn’t because I was scared to remember the memory anymore. I chose not to listen to the song anymore because, when I listened to it, it was easy to wallow in the pain and to coddle myself and tell myself I was the victim and had the right to hate the person. Instead of letting them off the hook, I would be keeping them, and myself, bound. I wanted to be free! The Bible says in Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
It is my responsibility to not allow myself to get rebound in the sin that was tying me in knots after facing the memory. I have a responsibility to God and myself to live in the Freedom God provides. So I stopped feeding the pain by listening to the song.
The same is true in your life. To many Christians are allowing their trigger points to consume their lives and cripple them instead of dealing with them and facing the trauma and pain associated with them. Many even embrace the triggers and feed the pain over and over, wallowing in self pity and a victim mentality instead of grabbing hold of the tremendous freedom and happiness that is theirs for the asking. Instead of a happy and healthy spiritual life, they stay crippled and in agony from the spiritual trigger points they allow to consume their souls.
My brothers, this should not be! We are meant to live a victorious life in Christ. We are to be more than conquerors. It is time we start dealing with the memories, the pain, the trauma, or the sins in our past that keep rising to the surface in our lives. We need to once and for all conquer these areas so the trigger points don’t keep running our lives. No good ever comes of ignoring the issues when they are triggered…they just keep growing inside of us and eventually they will pop out, usually in the most inconvienient ways. We need to man up and face the issues and allow the Holy Spirit to do an amazing work inside of us.
Really it is a choice we all must make in our own lives. We must choose whether we will embrace freedom and conquer the triggers in our lives, or whether we will allow the triggers to haunt us and control us. In my opinion, there is only one choice, but today I ask you, what will you choose to do?