4 ways to overcome trauma and tragedy (always begin with a prayer)

Trauma and tragedy are an inescapable reality of life. The question is not if we will face them, but when. Though they are often hard to anticipate, the Bible teaches us not to be surprised when they show up.

With that in mind, the challenge that we often face is how to keep from allowing tragedy and trauma to become the filter from which we view life after these traumatic events occur.

These moments could include things such as the loss of a loved one, the derailing of a career, a surgery gone wrong, or an important relationship that falls completely apart. Often, they bring us to what may feel like an emotional impasse, and in the midst of trying to process these challenges we often suffer lingering or sometimes permanent emotional trauma.

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Over time, and often without realizing it, the entirety of our thoughts and opinions (and social media posts) begin to be filtered and defined by that particular season of life.

In order to move past these tragedies, we must allow God to penetrate these unhealed spaces. As we allow God into that space, we discover more about who He is and who we are in Him - even (or especially) in light of the unexpected tragedy that has occurred.

The best way to invite the Lord into these difficult places is to simply say a prayer to Father God. In our prayers it is important to be honest about our pain and ask for His grace and mercy to invade our lives. As we allow Him to, He will.

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After prayer, and as we begin to experience God’s intervention, we also experience surprising shifts in our overall perspective. With this shift we begin to discover God’s healing power in our lives. This may not be an overwhelming presence or a notable moment, but simply a gentle day to day change.

Listed below are a few helpful tips that will assist you in recovering from trauma, loss, or tragedy:

1. Resist Isolation

Allow people into your pain. Cry and talk. Laugh and share. We have to learn to embrace the pain and allow it to be part of the healing process. Tears often wash away the grief and laughter are good medicine (especially at this point in the journey.) Resist pushing people away. This is a common and dangerous trap.

2. Solicit Prayer from Friends

It is amazing what prayer can do. People often have to fight not to lose their faith (or at least a measure of it) during traumatic seasons. This is common, but it does not have to be permanent. I have heard many say, “I just cannot pray right now.”  If this is true, then be sure and solicit the prayers of others.

3. Force Yourself to Have Fun

In traumatic seasons people often fall prey to the lie that they should not have any fun. Others may seek to have some fun but then feel guilty. It is important to push through both of these mindsets. Even though this is quite difficult, being willing to have some fun is often a sure remedy for breakthrough. So, force yourself to have fun. It might be just what you need to break out of depression, guilt, or permanent grief.

4. Find a Grieving Counselor

Counselors can do amazing things. Just talking about your pain, can do wonders for you. Certified counselors are equipped with materials, practical suggestions, and events that can assist and shorten your season of pain and loss.

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I have found these tips to be very effective. However, there is no perfect “formula” for pushing through these things in our lives – only a perfect Savior who promises to be with us through every phase of recovery.