Have you ever found yourself in an emotional tailspin in response to a situation or circumstance that doesn’t warrant such an intense level of response? Emotional triggers, they show up when we least expect them!
What are emotional triggers?
In their recent audio e-course, The Father Series, Justin and Abi Stumvoll begin the course by explaining what emotional triggers are, “Triggers are moments where you have a strong or disproportionate emotional response to what you are hearing or experiencing.” They go on to explain that feelings of anger, irritation, sadness, or wanting to ignoring the situation or circumstance are often indications that you are experiencing an emotional trigger. Justin and Abi also encourage readers not to “freak out” when experiencing an emotional trigger, but to see it as an invitation into deeper healing.
Emotional triggers are truly opportunities for healing. Emotional triggers are simply your heart responding to a current event as if it was the same experience as a past traumatic event. In other words, you are reliving an event in your past that caused pain. For example, an adult whose best friend moves away to accept a job offer responds with deep sadness because their heart is reliving their father leaving for long periods of time while serving in the military. Although the adult intellectually understands why their best friend is moving away, their heart is experiencing the emotional trigger of feeling left as a child.
What to do I do when I experience an emotional trigger?
The first step to working through an emotional trigger is to recognize that you are being triggered in the first place. Honestly, this is half the battle. Justin and Abi suggest, “If you start feeling a strong emotion that seems out of proportion to the information you are hearing, write down the content of the episode and what you were thinking about in response. You want to have as many clues as possible as to what caused your reaction.” In other words, take time to process what happened. It is important to identify what you were feeling and why you were feeling it in that specific situation or circumstance.
John 14:26 reminds us that the Holy Spirit is our Counselor. John 16:13 teaches that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and leads us into all truth. As believers, we don’t have to process emotional triggers alone. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us into truth and when we know the truth, it sets us free (John 8:32)! More importantly, the Holy Spirit can help us discover the root of our emotional triggers and this is where the opportunity for healing occurs.
Going back to the example, the adult who is triggered by their best friend moving can invite the Holy Spirit into the root of their emotional trigger, the father leaving, and receive healing. The Holy Spirit can speak truth and bring healing to the trauma of the father having to leave for long periods of time. The wounded place in the heart is set free with truth, thus, the emotional trigger is healed.
Want to know more?
Maybe the example of the father leaving home was more real to you than just an example. Maybe some memories have surfaced as you’ve read through this article. If you’d like to learn more about emotional healing definitely check out The Father Series. Justin and Abi have compiled this audio e-course, along with their friend Blair Reynolds, from their experience as Life Consultants, having worked with thousands of clients over the years. The Father Series provides inspiring stories, thought-provoking questions, homework, and lots of practical wisdom.
If you’re looking for healing, freedom, and breakthrough The Father Series is where it’s at! Not only that, but Justin, Abi, and Blair have this canny ability to keep everyone laughing along the way!
For more information visit www.justinandabi.com.
Image Source: Justin and Abi
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