How to Overcome Triggers


The golf cart whizzed by me on the left. It was a beautiful day and I was getting in a late afternoon walk. Deep in my thoughts, I didn’t hear the vehicle, driven by a twelve-ish year old boy, approach. My heart raced and tears welled up in my eyes when I realized how close it came. One step left and… I pushed the thought out of my mind, realizing this near encounter was a trigger.

school bus

That’s because many years ago, when I was a seventh grader, it was a different story. I regularly took the bus home from school and after being let off at my stop I proceeded to cross the street to head home. The bus driver blared his angry horn at me. I thought he wanted me to get out of his way, but in reality he was warning me about an approaching car. I moved faster to appease the driver, when my eleven-year-old frame was body slammed by a Lincoln Continental.

Miraculously, I had no broken bones, just a little shock, and recovered from the incident in one week. But it left a lasting effect. From then on, I was always cautious crossing streets and parking lots, and occasionally, something would trigger the memory of that day.

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What are your triggers?

Does an angry word trigger memories of a verbally abusive childhood?

When someone doesn’t respond quickly enough, does it remind you of a passive parent?

When your temperature spikes, do you worry it’s something far worse because of a childhood illness?

Triggers can paralyze and divert us from the plan God has for our lives. In Philippians 3:13, the Apostle Paul said he forgot what was behind and strained toward what was ahead. When I think of straining, I think it’s not easy and takes extra effort. It requires an additional dose of intentionality to escape the triggers.

Isaiah 43:18 says to “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I a doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”


When current events trigger a bad memory from the past, fire back using your spiritual weapons. Ask God to help you press on. Strain to overcome the spiral backward to a time long gone. Embrace the present, and the new work God wants to do in and through you. It’s time to recognize the triggers and push them to where they belong, in the past. (LBW)


Categories: Devotion of the Week

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