Friday, April 2, 2010

Memory Triggers

After going to the bars in another town that were open til 2am, we were on the road home. My girlfriend was driving and I was staying overnight at her house. I was living in MN at the time, and the drinking age was lower in WI so I made regular trips over the river where several of my friends from Cosmetology School lived.

I remember feeling like we were going a little too fast. You never really know what kind of shape your drinking buddies are in, but trust that they know...We were going around a large curve, and I remember seeing a fence post in the ditch, and I knew we were going to roll, because in my drunken state I said to myself, "at least the fence post will stop us."

When the car landed it was laying on the passenger door, which meant my friend was on top of me. She was in a heap, not functioning very well. Two things were on my mind: 1. I had to go soooo bad, and was releived to find I hadn't peed my pants. 2. We gotta get out of here because I had seen what happened to rollovers on TV (because I watched "Chips") might blow! So I said, "Fred, (that was her nickname) we gotta get out of here!"

Somehow I managed to stand and lift her door and we were able to crawl out and jump to the ground. First thing I did was take care of business, and as I was doing that, a man was coming out of  his house across the street, he had awakened to the sound of our rollover and was inquiring if we were alright. I yelled for him to stay there until I was decent.

Miraculously, we were not hurt. Fred's mom took me to the hospital to get checked out in the morning, and I just had a few bruises. I was shaken. She expressed to me that "Someone" had been watching out for us that night. I agreed.

To this day, whenever I am driving around a curve, I lift my foot off the gas to ready myself to break. Curves trigger an auto response in my foot almost every time. Unless I intentionally refrain. It has been probably 24 years since my rollover.

I have noticed the same kind of thing with emotional "accidents"...Past conflicts trigger auto responses in me. If I have angered someone and they have yelled, or come at me with an accusing tongue, I find it hard to trust that person again. I fear wronging them because of the pain that I remember.

Recently it has come to my attention that I need to intentionally overcome the fears that jump into my mind in those circumstances in order to have freedom in my relationships. I felt this week that the Lord wanted me to overcome one such obstacle, and I took a step in that direction. It was hard because I had to open stuff I would rather keep closed. I took the risk of bringing more conflict instead of greater peace, but as I went ahead prayerfully, I saw the Lord work. I have a deep longing for peace and freedom in this relationship. I will continue to work toward that. What I need to do is remove the obstacles that I have control of (with the Lord's help) and then trust Him with the rest.

I was wondering if anyone has a story of the Lord helping them overcome memory triggers...

1 John 5:4

...for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.


Tea With Tiffany said...

I'm sorry about your wreck. How scary.

I think you are doing the right thing when you turn towards the trigger and face it with a different response. God will be the strength of the response. Like you did with the relationship.

I had to face my anxiety and fears. I said thanks in their face and it seemed to help me. I don't have the panic anymore. I think that's the slow process of renewing the mind. Maybe? Just talking out loud.

Wishing you and yours a blessed and beautiful Easter!


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Memory triggers are a difficult abiding for me some days, especially the triggers that call to mind an earlier season of willful sin. Music often does that for me, along with television--the main reason I've given up most secular forms of any of it.

As for relationships, I too want to live in peace with my brothers/sisters, but to get there, I have to cast some triggers aside. You're right... it's hard not to harbor certain reactions with people. Past experiences always shape future interactions/feelings. In those cases where the interaction has been negative, it's super hard! I'm struggling right now with a few individuals as we ready our hearts for a physical move in a few months. It would be good to bring some closure, but not sure how God would have me to proceed at this point. Rest assured, I'll be paying attention to his prompts in coming days.

Blessed resurrection morning to you and yours!


Jack Foster said...

Hey Kathy! Happy Easter! Wow what an experience! The Lord has helped me to overcome a couple of triggers. My first marriage ended 12 years ago. I had blamed my ex-wife for the whole break-up because of another man. I got some Christian counselling about 6 years ago and realized that all throughout our 12 year marriage, I blamed her for everything that ever went wrong. Talk about driving a wedge between us!
I've been married now for 4 years to a wonderful woman. Every so often I ask her if I have made her feel guilty about anything or blamed her for something. I tell her that if I ever do, to stop me in my tracks. He has opened my eyes and so far, the Lord has helped me overcome this .

Rachel B said...

You know, Kathy, I read this the other day and have thought of it several times I wanted to come back to share.

I have quite a few "memory triggers" myself...esp when it comes to certain people. I had to really think about how I have overcome some of them and how I continue to do so. It is such a process, isn't it?!

When certain thoughts pop into my mind triggering memories that are unhealthy or damaging I rebuke them. Then, I ask God to help me focus on what is TRUE today! So,

I guess what I'm saying is what has helped me is focusing on truth today and not truth from the past. Does that make sense? It's really having a great mental conversation with the Lord.

These memory triggers not only hurt human relationships, it can also hurt your relationship with the Lord if you are holding bitterness, anger or grudges in your heart. That's what I have learned. I don't want there to be a wedge between me and the Lord so I must let these things go, love others, focus on today and keep my mind STAYED ON HIM and His truth! Sounds easy enough, but it sure isn't, is it?!!

Thanks for sharing this post. Thanks for sharing about your past. I appreciate your openness and "being real." :)