Healing from Trauma in a Divided Nation

Living in a Genesis 3 world has lasting effects on our lives.

We easily see the ways the fall has affected creation and the world “out there”, but it’s harder to see how it has affected us “in here”—our own hearts. As we fight to understand the brokenness in the world around us, we may bypass the fact that, “the purpose in [our] hearts [are] like deep water…” (Proverbs 20:5). In other words, we are complex creatures with a past and present we are seeking to understand.

Whether the effects of sin manifest as the result of something done to us or our own fallenness, no one is left unscathed from her pervasive reign (Romans 3:10-12). In her wake, she leaves a trail of trauma.

“Trauma is when a human being (especially in their upbringing) experiences things that take away the voice of the heart because their capacity to say them is silenced by a power over you,” said Chip Dodd, Founder of Sage Hill Counseling Center, in the We are Send Network podcast. Whether in the form of a comment, an action or inaction, these small (or large) moments have a profound impact on our lives.

Trauma numbs our hearts and divides our relationships. It is the statements, actions and oaths which subconsciously reverberates in our thoughts, “I will never be wounded this way again.” Undealt with, it can creep into our relationship with God and one another.

We may find it hard to trust God as our Father because we have seen our own father let us down countless times. We may carry the lie of our worthlessness we heard spoken to us throughout our childhood, and our insecurity makes it hard for people to connect with us. We may have had a parent, coach or mentor who never seemed pleased with our efforts, so we feel we have to earn love.

To heal, we must respond to our trauma—not run from it— by doing the very thing we’re running from. We must tell the truth about where we were, what happened and where we are now to ourselves and a trusted friend or counselor.

To heal is to become known in our heart—to ourselves and friends—and to become known for who we really are. There is perhaps nothing scarier and more liberating than opening up to be fully known and fully loved. We were created for this.

As pastor Time Keller wonderfully summarizes this idea, “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.”

May we not let the trauma we experience in a fallen world disqualify us from being fully known and fully loved by a good God and by His people.

For more information about healing from trauma, click here to listen to Chip Dodd, Founder of Sage Hill Counseling Center, on the We are Send Network podcast.

Published November 21, 2019