Dealing With the Breakdown That Comes After a Breakthrough
Updated: Jun 4
When you have passed through tough times or tough places in life, you can do one of two things. You can stand on the other side of the ugly episode and mourn. You can build your entire life around wondering why it happened to you or endlessly wallow in the negative emotions associated with the bad experience.
Alternatively, you can decide to look back and appreciate the wonder of coming out of the mayhem in one piece. You can stand on the other side with gratitude for making it through. Your gratitude can be a memorial for what you have successfully overcome.
Dilemma at the Red Sea
The worst form of trauma anyone could experience is being caught between an impenetrable sea and an invading army. This is where Moses and his people found themselves while fleeing Egypt according to Exodus 15. Imagine the fear and agony of coming face to face with extermination. Move forward and get drowned or turn back and be killed or be taken captive.
Then God makes a way. But it is not the normal way. In most cases, the way out of life challenges will not be like a walk in the park.
You are walking through the middle of the Red Sea all through the night. All the time, you are conscious of the fact that your new make-shift highway is barricaded to the left and to the right with the raging sea water.
It's doesn't help that you don't fully understand what is holding the water back while you walk through this newly made super-highway. But you reckon that there is a superior force acting in your favour.
Songs of deliverance
The problem was unpalatable, but the solution was equally nerve-wracking.
But you are now on the other side of both what was chasing you and the mind-boggling miracle that saved you.
This is a good time to be grateful, to sing and dance. This is what Moses and Miriam led the people to do. This is not the time to reflect on the oppression and the oppressor. It makes perfect sense to celebrate both the deliverance and the deliverer.
Battles after the war
Crossing over does not mean you will not have memories of the unpleasant event or situation. It simply means you choose what memory to dwell on.
You can decide to focus on past abuse or to maximize the new opportunities ahead of you. You can choose to dwell on what you didn't have or to enjoy what you now have. You can drown in misery thinking about how the sound of Pharaoh's horses and invading army made you feel or chose to dance to the sound of your newfound freedom.
This is the battle after the battle. This is the new war you fight with yourself as the enemy. You become the new Pharoah. The oppressor has a new post code. The threat is now within.
The winning mind
The external threat is gone. But there is a new war raging in the mind. To win this war, you must get the basics right.
Be present: Nobody can drive forwards looking at the rear-view mirror. You must be present in the present to maximize your potentials. To avoid breakdown after a traumatic breakthrough, you must come to terms with your reality, where you are and what you are right now. Dwelling on about what happened or what will happen next will not help. Ground yourself in the present.
Be thankful: You made it. You pulled through. You survived it. If you did not drown in the Red Sea, why should you die after crossing over? If you don't want to break down after your breakthrough, put on some praise and celebrate your deliverance.
Guard your heart: Your heart is yours to keep. Keep your heart from scripting the wrong part of the story. Keep it from replaying the threat as if it is still there. Keep it from ignoring or denying your deliverance. Keep your heart from denying the power and grace that brought you out. Keep it from taking you back to captivity. Tell yourself that you are free, you are safe, and your abuser is powerless or buried.
In conclusion, if you have been dealing with a mind entangled in past trauma or fixated on battles that have since ended, I pray that the Almighty God gives you an understanding of where you are and help you to know that you are free and no longer a slave to fear, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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