Post-Traumatic Growth? What is that?
I recently heard an interesting concept while listening to an audiobook version of “Suffer Strong”, by Katherine and Jay Wolf. The husband and wife speak from experience as they’ve been through some extremely difficult physical challenges when Katherine had a debilitating stroke in her twenties with a newborn baby at home.
Yet they’ve flourished and grown through the hardships that have followed.
They pointed out that we’re just as prone to trade the truth of God for a lie as God’s people were in ages past, but He’s still patiently waiting for us to remember. They said that God’s trying to tell us, Remember me! You already know the end of the story—remember me!
What really struck me, though, was when they named the top five regrets people experience on their deathbed:
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
- I wish I had let myself be happier
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my true self
- I wish I’d led a life true to my dreams instead of what others expected of me
Katherine and Jay’s testimony shows that suffering and hope, intertwined, can change your life and your perspective going forward.
While I listened to their story, I thought of all the times that I’ve heard Pastor Joe Campbell stress the importance of processing life correctly. He’s often said, “If we’re going to live this life, we might as well live it well… all the way to the end.” He also says, “How you process this life is… everything.”
I stopped the audiobook to listen again as they explained a new concept that I hadn’t heard of before. I’d heard of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) before. The grief counselor that I met with right after the accident even thought we might be experiencing it to some degree.
The Wolfs presented a new concept for me to consider, though. I never knew that there’s something called Post Traumatic Growth.
It also has a ‘top five’ list, but I like this one much better:
- A renewed appreciation for life
- New possibilities
- More personal strength
- Improved relationships
- Spiritual satisfaction
Trauma can open a different way of living if we process it right.
One with fewer regrets at the end of our lives if we choose to allow it to grow us. Traumatic events cause all of life’s trivial things to fall away, so we are left with what’s truly important.
That made me think of something Myron had said recently at church:
“Scripture tells us about a guy who was crippled all his life. He was an excuse maker, but Jesus healed him and then told him, “Pick up your bed and walk out of here.”
“He was known as a cripple. Everybody who saw him, saw him as a cripple. But Jesus healed him and said, “Now pick up that thing that you’re known as and carry it out of here. You’re no longer going to be known as the cripple, you’re now going to be known as the guy who got healed and carried his bed out of here.”
“What is that thing in your life that you’re known for? It might be anger. Maybe it is your fiery attitudes and outbursts. If that’s what we’re known for, then we need to say, “Nope. I will not be known for that anymore. I’m going to pick up that part of my life and carry it out of here. I’m going to be known as somebody different.”
“What’s that bad habit that you say, “You know what? I’m done with this. I’m going to pick up my bed and walk out of here. I’m not going to be known with this bad habit any longer.”
“And then you have to say, “Jesus, set me free! I’m no longer going to be bound by that thing again.”
“We have to get the quit out. We have to get the excuses out. We have to get the desire to compromise out. Simply saying, “God, I don’t have much talent, but what I have is Yours.”
It stirred my faith to action again as Myron concluded,
“You know what’s going to make a difference? Us going all in. Us saying, God, it’s enough. I’ve had enough of hanging around, sticking my toes in the water.”
“You know what we have to do? We have to take off and jump in the deep end and say, “Here we go!”
“Jump in. You’ll get used to it. You’ll warm up in a second.”
Sounds like ‘Post Traumatic Growth’ to me.
Praying that you find jump in the deep end and find the freedom and hope God offers,