It was in 2010 that I started to experience massive loss. Over a period of about 4 years, everything that was precious to me got torn out of my hands. The loss I suffered ranged from those dear to my heart, all the way to complete financial ruin.
The emotional pain and trauma I experienced was far more than I could ever try to explain.
When I got married again six years later, I was grateful for another opportunity at life. However, as much as I intended to fully embrace second chances, the weight of the hurt from the past was dragging me in a downward spiral.
There was no joy for me in anything, and any form of laughter was only momentarily or superficial at best. While I might have appeared to be okay, the real state I was in revealed itself at night. For example, I would dream of a thick dark cloud rolling over me, and I knew the name of the cloud was depression.
I would cry myself awake almost every night. Sometimes my wife would wake me up, three or four times a night, because she could feel I got chills or hear I was having another nightmare.
It did not get better, it only got worse, and three years later my second marriage could not take it anymore. Unable to deal with my trauma and pain from the past, I was also incapable of attending to the needs of my marriage.
I tried to deal with the trauma, but nothing worked. I needed help beyond what I and other councilors knew.
In the seventh year of my suffering, God showed me what I needed to do to effectively deal with the trauma and pain. All the points here are keys found in the Bible, and my hope is that this post will help others to deal effectively with their trauma and emotional pain as well.
This post is not meant to replace professional help.
The first thing you need to do to effectively deal with trauma or emotional pain, is to take responsibility for yourself. It is not something we like to hear, especially when you are in the middle of your suffering.
However, you need to recognise that no one is responsible for fixing you, but you.
This means you can no longer see yourself as the victim of something bad that happened to you, even though you were. I do not find anywhere in the Bible where we are referred to as victims. What I do see is that God calls us to be victorious, if we are willing to surrender the hurt to Him.
You must actively resist the feeling that you are a victim. Instead make a conscious decision that your life is changing, starting right now. You might have to do this several times a day, especially when you just start with the process of healing.
Romans 8:37 says we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ, and Philippians 4:13 says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
As long as you are stuck in the mentality of being a victim (even if you are), you will not be able to effectively and fully deal with the trauma and pain associated with that which happened to you.
This does not mean you are responsible for the trauma and pain. It means you take responsibility for the trauma and pain, accepting that dealing with it effectively depends on you.
Confess Your Sin
Part of taking responsibility for what happened, is to confess any sin associated with the trauma and pain. There might not always be sin associated with an event, but often there will be.
For example, if you were molested as a child by a parent, you were part of something that was not right in the eyes of God. You were not the one who initiated the sinful act, but you were a part of it, even if it was against your will. Be humble and confess the thing that happened as sin, and declare to the Lord that you do not agree with that which happened. Ask that the blood of Jesus will speak on your behalf, and cleanse you of all unrighteousness.
Furthermore, when we are in pain, we often try to find comfort in places where we should not have gone. It is important to be totally honest about it and confess your sin before the Lord. This can range from self-pity to anger outbursts, to substance abuse and sexual immorality.
1 John 1:9 says, “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose].”
Acknowledge Jesus Christ As Your Healer
As a Christian, it is important to recognise Jesus as your healer. Isaiah 53:5 declared that Jesus would be pierced for our transgressions, and that by His stripes we would be healed.
1 Peter 2:24 confirmed that this happened by saying that Jesus “personally carried our sins in His body on the cross [willingly offering Himself on it, as on an altar of sacrifice], so that we might die to sin [becoming immune from the penalty and power of sin] and live for righteousness; for by His wounds you [who believe] have been healed.”
Psalm 147:3 says that “He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow].”
As you come in prayer before the Father, thank Him for what Jesus did on the cross and receive your healing by faith. Ask Jesus to wash your body, soul and spirit clean with His blood, and ask Him to heal and to bind up every wound. Acknowledge that by His wounds you are healed, and ask God for the manifestation of healing because He already purchased your healing for you.
Put Trauma & Pain Behind You
Romans 12:2 commands us to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. Ephesians 4 tells us a bit more about how this process works, and in Ephesians 4:22-24 we read that we are to put off the old self and to put on the new self.
Philippians 3:13 says we are to forget what lies behind us, and to reach forward to what lies ahead of us.
The next step is therefore to actively put the pain, hurt and trauma behind you, by declaring that you are putting it behind you (and by living accordingly, not just empty words). Revelation 12:11 says, “they overcame and conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony…” If you are a Christian who is covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, you have to realise the tremendous power that lies in being vocal about your situation (see the post on Why The Words You Speak Matter).
Also realise that Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].”
Identify the event that happened, as well as the emotions that accompany the trauma from the event, and declare out loud that you are putting it behind you. For example, if you were molested as a child, you will have to declare out loud that you are, in the name of Jesus Christ, putting the molestation off and behind you. You must declare that it is no longer a part of you, and that you are embracing what God has in store for you.
The same must be done with the emotions and trauma that resulted from the event. Declare out loud, in the name of Jesus Christ, that you are putting off the hurt and trauma. Declare that you are putting off the feelings of being vulnerable, dirty, cheap, exposed, or whatever other emotions you can identify. Declare you are putting it behind you, and you will no longer be controlled by those feelings and emotions.
Declare out loud that in the place thereof you put on hope, love, safety and security, and so on. The new things you put on in the place of the old must all be things that can be found in Jesus Christ.
This is a process that might have to be repeated, even a few times a day, until you have effectively put the trauma and pain off and behind you.
Deal With Unforgiveness
Another important part of this process is forgiving those who have wronged us. We simply cannot put off the old by clinging on to it through unforgiveness. This can be difficult to do, but it is a vital part of dealing with hurt.
Almost all trauma can be associated with someone who wronged or harmed you in one way or another. When there is not someone specific to blame, we often blame ourselves as we feel we should have done more to have prevented it in the first place.
Nevertheless, we must forgive if we want God to heal us. It is not something we like to hear when it is natural for us to want to see justice served, but unforgiveness will stand in the way of your healing. We need to accept that vengeance belongs to God, and not to us (see Romans 12:19). Leave the vengeance part to God, and forgive instead.
When we don’t deal with unforgiveness, it eventually turns into a more complex, multi-layered emotion called resentment.
As part of the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:12, Jesus taught us how to pray as follows, “And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors [letting go of both the wrong and the resentment].”
Holding on to resentment is like drinking the poison, instead of taking the antidote. It is a temptation like any other temptation, and we must resist the urge to hold on to it by surrendering it to Christ instead.
Deal With Your Offense Towards God
When bad things happen to us, it is natural to be angry or upset with God. After all, if God is omnipotent and omniscient, we can’t help but wonder why He allowed pain and suffering when He was fully capable of preventing it.
In the Book of Job we see two different responses towards God, after calamity struck. Not only did Job lose his livestock and health, but he also lost all his children on the same day. In Job 1:20-21 Job’s response was, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” In Job 2:9 we see that Job’s wife had a different response and told Job to curse God and die. In Job 2:10 he responded by saying, “Shall we indeed accept [only] good from God and not [also] accept adversity and disaster?”
Your response to trauma and pain is indicative of your level of maturity in Christ. For the duration of his ministry, Paul endured extreme suffering and pain. Yet he understood that the purpose for hardship was to grow his character (see Romans 5:3-5; I also wrote about it in my book The Faith Dimension: They Key To Enduring And Overcoming Hardship).
Paul also understood that God makes all things work together for good, for those who love Him and who are also called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
It is important to know that God cannot make all things work together for your good, if you are harbouring offense in your heart towards God. If you hold on to the offense, you are in effect saying, ‘not your will Lord, but mine.’
As I started with this process, I found myself having to put off the hurt and pain several times a day. I would sometimes wake up from a nightmare in the middle of the night, get up and go to another room where I would command the trauma and pain to go.
In Luke 10:19 Jesus gave me authority, and I was taking up my authority by commanding the trauma, hurt and pain together with all the emotions associated with it, to go.
It was not easy, but the nightmares and the emotional breakdowns during the day became less and less. In time, I felt an enormous relief and I knew that God had healed me from the pain.
Perhaps the biggest evidence of my healing was when one night I woke myself from laughing in my dream, instead of crying.
To God all the glory, and to Jesus Christ for receiving in His body the pain for my healing, and to the Holy Spirit who comforted me, taught me and guided me through the process.
I am forever grateful.
If this post has helped you in any way, please share your testimony in the comments section below.