The hardest part of traumatic experiences is the memory of them. The temptation is to get sucked back into that particular moment in time and re-live the horror. Sometimes, especially at first, it seems impossible to separate the present reality from the former.
My friend recently shared an insight with me that has been a “game-changer” in regards to the hellish nightmare that we survived.
He reminded me that “in life, we are called to be the thermostat, not the thermometer.”
A thermometer takes the temperature,
a thermostat changes the temperature.
Since divulging my entire story in the last few weeks, my emotions have run the gamut.
The temptation to panic has been strong. I’ve pulled back emotionally, and started to put up walls. I’ve caught myself making snide remarks.
Applying the statement above to my actions and emotions has looked like this: the thermometer has had me admitting that I am scared, and I feel vulnerable and exposed. The thermostat means that I have honestly and lovingly confessed to James and others why I am scared.
I have explained to them that I have been revealing my past story, and I feel scared and exposed.
I know some incredible people! They have hugged me, reassured me, and prayed with me to find love and faith instead of fear.
They have re-directed my eyes off of my past, off of the former terrors, and instead back onto my Faithful, never-failing Father God.
It’s changed the atmosphere from one of being terrorized into one of being insightful yet calm.
My stomach has a mild case of the flutters every once in a while, but the sickening claws of dread have been far away.
James keeps reassuring me that I am doing so well with this, even when I feel exposed and afraid, he says that he can see me deliberately taking steps towards community instead of running in terror from it.
It’s taken years to get this far, and it’s only by the grace of Abba God that I can say I am finally feeling like the past horrors are a fading memory. Hopefully, my tendency to only be a thermometer will continuously fade off into the distance, as well.