Reflections on the Past Year

One Year Later....

It's something on all our minds right now.  It's been a year.  A YEAR!!  A year since life as we knew it changed.  A year since chaos erupted and never stopped erupting.  As this anniversary of sorts comes about, I really wanted to talk about something I was made aware of recently that I think is important.  Uncomfortable, for sure, but important.
Here's the reality.  We have ALL been through a mass trauma.  Our entire world has been shaken, our sense of safety and predictability have been taken away.  And just when we think maybe we're settling down, getting used to this "new normal" whatever that means, we're coming to a new season of distress.  There's something in the psychology world of trauma called "anniversary reactions".  Defined as "an increase in distress around the anniversary of a traumatic event", these reactions can range from feeling mildly upset for a day or two to a more extreme reaction in which an individual experiences significant psychiatric or medical symptoms.  Dr. Anita Phillips says our bodies remember these things.  That "they will wake up and begin to mourn them even before our conscious minds do."  Her advice is to be prepared for this after-shock.  Be really aware of your body and trust what it is doing, trust what you're feeling.  Our bodies are really good at telling us when something is up that we need to pay attention to - so pay attention!
I know what you're most likely thinking, though.  You're thinking "But we have hope!  We have salvation!  Our bodies know this and we shouldn't have these reactions!".  And you're absolutely right, we do have hope and saving grace through Jesus.  Praise God!!  But our earthly bodies are still human. Our earthly bodies still feel trials and traumas.  Our earthly bodies are still affected by our emotions, even controlled by them to a certain extent.  I want you to know -- You are not less Christian or less faithful if you are struggling!!!  Shame is so prevalent in the church, mostly because we don't think we should feel the things we feel.  But until we tell the truth about how we're feeling, it is so very difficult to begin our process of healing.  We have to not only name our trauma, we have to name our shame.   Maybe you feel shame about the way you have handled this past year, maybe you are ashamed of the fear you have felt, of the anger, or even rage that has gripped you at times.  
Dr. Curt Thompson says we must recognize what is really true, even the ugly, shameful stuff we don't want to admit, so that we can be receptive and accept just how powerful redemption is!  Our Father wants us to come to Him with all our junk, our disappointment, our shame, our grief, even our rage.  "He never stops coming and looking to overturn every stone where shame lurks because He doesn't want any part of us to not be redeemed!"
Friends, as uncomfortable as it is, let's pay attention.  Let's dig deep and recognize the pain, the shame, the trauma we have been through.  Let's acknowledge it.  To ourselves, to a loved one or a friend, but especially to God.  Name it and then lay it at His feet.  Let Him carry it and lean into Him for healing.  And let's make sure we're living a whole lot of grace with the people around us, because we're all dealing with our own trauma and we all need that grace.


1 Comment

Lisa - March 18th, 2021 at 4:32pm

Thanks Nicole! I really appreciate the reminder to be aware of how we are reacting / responding as this anniversary of sorts comes around. A good message of Grace.... for ourselves and for those around us.