I know it’s been a minute since I’ve posted but I’m just writing as God prompts—my once, regular, weekly Friday posts are on a break for an unknown period of time.
So here’s what I have this time, a little different than my usual posts…
A while ago my amazing counselor gave me an analogy and I thought it was too good to pass up sharing with those who may be struggling with past or even current trauma.
There are lengths of time where I feel I’m not making much progress toward the positive side in my mental and emotional healing. Or I’ll wonder why any negative thinking I might be struggling over mimics so much of my past trauma that’s decades old. As a side note I’m over thirty years past due on counseling sessions so there’s a lot at heart to sort out.
My counselor compared navigating negative thoughts and emotional patterns to the condition of a dirt road compromised by rain or snow—an easy analogy for me to grasp since the last part of the drive to our house consist of dirt roads which at times create less than desirable driving conditions.
A good dirt road is typically (or should be) smooth when well-maintained, but once it gets muddied up from loads of rain or inches of melting snow it makes navigating through it a chore, sometimes even causing a person to get stuck for a time in the deep mud. Once the road begins to dry out a little, ruts form as people drive over the soft road. When completely dried out and the rough path is traveled over, a person will likely bounce down into those deep laid, ruddy tracks.
Eventually, given enough time and favorable weather conditions for the roads, plus normal driving wear (and someone with a road maintainer) the dirt road gets filled back in, levels out and becomes smooth for ideal traveling once again. But it takes time…
When compared to the human mind (emotionally and mentally) and the complexities of trauma it’s similar to this…the mind is functioning in a healthy state until trauma hits. Oftentimes deep rutted trauma tracks with negative impacts are laid. The deeply embedded trauma tracks become a normal and habitual part of living life and left further untreated irrational thoughts and behaviors form, creating tough areas to cognitively navigate. It leaves us with a mess of unhealthy mental pathways.
The hopeful goal is that a person is made mindful of these negative effects, the sooner the better. Smooth paths is what one should be after. Reversing the negative deep-laid ruts is important and a lot of work BUT can happen by:
- getting honest about any current or past struggles or thoughts
- holding a strong faith in God which leads to hope
- leaning into God’s truth and time spent in prayer
- finding a compassionate accountability partner who’s supportive in our mental health
- seeking professional maintenance through a trusted therapist (mine happens to be a sister in Christ which is a huge blessing for keeping God in the big picture)
Healthy thought patterns can and will eventually form but it requires a hope-filled attitude, communication, and time—and therefore an abundance of patience. The negative deep rutted trauma tracks need to be filled in with positivity, grace and mercy, forgiveness…whatever hostile void that has been laid must be replaced and filled with truth, hope and encouragement. Those things, and all things positive, reinforce new and true thought patterns and smooth pathways. Again it takes much patience and consistent affirmation.
Though the ruts may seem deeply entrenched, we must remember it’s Satan who attempts to take away hope, freedom, and joy in effort to create those trenches. But it’s the Lord who abundantly pours out an endless supply of each. Satan will never be able to keep up when we fully trust and allow God to fill in the negative trenches with His healing truth!!
This has to be an ongoing, daily-process because as 1 Peter 5:8 states, ‘we have an enemy, the devil, who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.’ He would love nothing more than to dig back in, causing us to slip down into the ruts again and again.
Therefore, ‘we must be alert, standing firm in our faith, (believing God is for us and with us always) making us strong, firm, and steadfast!’ (1 Peter 5)
To Him, as our Great Road Maintainer, be the glory in the midst of healing.
Have a blessed weekend!