I’ve been reading Karl Lehman’s new book, Outsmarting Yourself, Catching Your Past Invading the Present and What to Do About It. In the book he talks about recognizing triggers. You know, the moments when you get stirred up about something. A meltdown. An overreaction. A not-so-nice reaction to someone you normally love.
We all learned about triggers from Theophostic Prayer Ministry which teaches that the primary source of our pain is rarely the present. The pain orginates in unresolved memories. I’ve been practicing Theophostic or TPM as we call it for years, since, I think, 2004 and all of us have benefited.
Now most of my family knows the drill: Let yourself feel the painful emotion and, because your brain works by association, a memory that feels the same will surface. Once you have the memory let yourself be in the memory and process how you feel and what you believe. Your feelings will match your beliefs and as you cycle down to deeper and deeper levels of feelings you will hit pay dirt: A core lie such as, I am worthless; I should have never been born; or my personal favorite, No one will ever love me because I am unloveable. Once you have the core lie, we ask Jesus to speak: Is it true that Betsy is unloveable? And he does. It is different for everyone. I ususally see pictures in my mind, some people have impression or thoughts that come to them. It is a glorious experience, something you have to do to fully understand.
All this to say that I know about triggers, but I don’t get so easily triggered anymore. Or so I thought.
Then I began reading Lehman’s book. Kudos to Karl for being so open. It is as if he is dissecting his heart in front of you. And ouch, it got me.
One of the best ways to recongize that you are triggered, he writes, is to check your relational circuits. My what? Relational circuits are anologous to electrical circuits, they can only handle so much juice before the go frizz, bang, pop. The list is long but I will give you the ones that resonate with me:
1. Do I feel connected to ____________?
2. Do I want to be connected to ________?
3. Do I experience their presence as a source of joy?
4. Am I comfortable making eye contact with them?
5. Am I patient and tolerant (or impatient, intolerant and irritable)?
At this point several people came to mind and I was batting 0 for 5. I began to squirm. It is so easy, as a busy ministry leader to simply carve people out of your life. Those who criticize me. Those who irritate me. Those who wanted “too much” of my time. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!
I was looking forward to a quiet Friday. I was fasting and looking forward to connecting with God. Good Friday. But as the morning puttered on I began to feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I had a few calls I needed to make. To people I had rendered invisible.
They accepted my apologies and said that they honestly had not noticed. I know that is true. It is so easy to ignore people and they just assume you are busy. It is so easy to look good and have a rotten heart. But God knows, and so do I.
If ever there were a good day to eat crow, Good Friday has to be it.Karl’s book is available at KCLehman.com. More about Theophostic at Theophostic.com