Traumatic experiences happen. Some are quite sudden. Stopped at a red light someone slams into the back of our car. A string of problems we would rather not deal with now complicate a day that presented itself, if not carefree, at least uneventful. Sometimes we have been warned… beware of high winds and surf as the storm approaches. Yet when the house in which we shelter seems to be under siege and the walls are about to fall we feel vulnerable, exposed, unprotected.
The word trauma is the Greek word for wound and refers to physical injuries, but we use it today to refer to emotional wounds as well. A “deeply distressing or disturbing experience” may cause anxiety, fear, hopelessness, or depression.1
When a stressful event has a lingering impact, we usually refer to the problem as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There are specific symptoms and patterns of symptoms used to make the diagnosis.
I do not know if this disorder is on the rise, but I hear it mentioned more. People wondering if perhaps this two-year battle with COVID has left them shell-shocked. In the Western United States there has been a series of wildfires that have chased residents from their homes and forced them to live for weeks on edge, not knowing if they will have a house when they return. In larger cities people are more susceptible to crimes, such as carjackings and being caught in gun crossfire between gangs. Even in rural areas there are more reports of random attacks.
What is clear, is that not everyone experiencing trauma ends up with PTSD. Some are more likely to experience this disorder than others. According to the medical experts at the Mayo Clinic, people who have experienced a lot of stress throughout their life are more susceptible. Also, those with a family history of such mental health issues as anxiety and depression and people with certain personality traits. The way the brain regulates the chemicals and hormones the body releases in response to stress can also have an impact.
I make this point because we so often think others should be just like us. We cannot understand their suffering because the experience did not cause the same suffering in us.
But whether we are diagnosed with a mental disorder or not, many may be asking “why do I feel insecure?” We know certain things to be true of God and then our feelings deny them. Because I hear more Christians say they are seeking some counseling, because I too have been gripped by irrational emotions at times, I have decided to explore this topic of security in the coming weeks. Much of what I hear about insecurity is in the physical realm. Trees falling on houses; loss of a job; an undiagnosed illness. We hear the term food insecurity which is not having a sufficient quantity or quality of food to meet one’s basic needs.
Yet the definitions such as being exposed to danger or risk, as well as being inadequately guarded or protected hints at spiritual insecurities as well. For example, our exposure to danger might be Satan. “Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 Being inadequately guarded or protected might refer to a trait we have failed to develop. “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” Proverbs 25:28
Whatever is causing Christians to walk wobbly, whether in the physical or spiritual realm or both it is worth digging deeper into God’s Word. It is worth learning how to live secure in an insecure world.
[Let me know if there is an issue concerning security you would like to explore.]
Contemplate Your Ways:
1-In what ways do you feel vulnerable? What are the key reasons for your feelings of insecurity?
2-Do you have any scriptures you rely on to stand strong when your legs feel wobbly? What are they, and what were you experiencing when you uncovered them?
3-What is the difference between physical and spiritual insecurities? Can you list issues that may be categorized as spiritual?
1-Definitions for trauma or traumatic can be found in online dictionaries such as merriam-webster.com.