“Instead, the wandering is slow. It’s healing. It’s devoid of shame. God takes those who have been traumatized and frightened by the hand and leads them through.” – Dr. Jill Richardson (First 5)
What is ‘trapped trauma’?
Trapped trauma describes people who are trapped by their past negative experiences. They can’t seem to move past it. It hangs like an anchor to their souls.
I began to read about this condition that many find themselves ‘trapped’ in. I have not experienced physical trauma, but I do know the symptoms of emotional trauma, and it can feel as torturous as the physical and I have been trapped by it.
Trauma does take time to heal, but often people will resist the steps needed to be freed from it.
While in slavery in Egypt, the Israelis had been beaten and abused. Yet, as God wanted to release them from their captivity, the Israelites resisted Moses encouragement and instructions to move out of their slavery into the Promised Land.
They remained trapped in Egypt as they struggled to get rid of their slavery thinking. Many of them even desired to return to the misery they knew so well (Numbers 14:14).
It is a sad truth that some would rather stay stuck in their trauma, than become free.
Why is that?
There are two reasons that I am aware of.
First, in our traumatized state holding on to what we know now is safer than the overwhelming and frightening possibilities that the future holds for us.
The raw truth is that we don’t know how to function in a free world. Remaining enslaved to our past is more comforting than the effort it would take to step forward into freedom, even when the plan is laid out before us.
Whether it is physical, emotional or spiritual trauma, they are all valid and the end result is the same, a ‘broken spirit’.
Our broken spirit and past trauma in a sad way comforts us.
Secondly, discouragement settles over us like a cloud blocking our vision which we wholeheartedly embrace.
Discouragement is the covering we pull over ourselves to hide our brokenness.
We don’t believe things can ever change. We have given up.
Nikkie Koziara, from Proverbs 31, writes:
“They felt to broken to believe. They could only hold on to what they knew because the future seemed so terribly overwhelming in their traumatized state. God sees our trauma and generously leads us toward freedom anyway. “
Traumatized people need time to heal, and they make mistakes along the way. But God wants to pull us out of it. God did not leave or forsake the Israelite because of their traumatized state. But there does come a point when we need to believe and move forward to our freedom.
No matter how slow our steps, despite our failures and ‘not getting it,’ our God is always one step ahead of us. As a loving and patient Father, He will lead us through our wilderness, pick us up when we fall and speak encouragement and direction even in our broken and traumatized state.
With every faltering step we take, despite our fear and uncertainty, we can make it through our wilderness to freedom. You are not alone. Our God will not leave or forsake us. Our Heavenly Father will see you through.
Our first timid step to freedom starts with honestly answering this question, are you still trapped in your trauma?