Genesis 19:17 (NIV)
As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
You haven’t had the nightmare in over a month. You haven’t been blind-sided by an anxiety attack in two whole weeks. And you actually have a little money in the bank.
You are climbing up the hill out of the valley of the shadow of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Take extra care of your footing.
Enjoy the light.
As you climb a steep hill, it is too easy to slip and stumble back down. Be careful where you place your feet.
Are you a mean drunk? Don’t drink.
Does the sound of gunfire set you off? Don’t watch war movies or fireworks.
Do you think no one will ever love you because of who you are? You’re not that person anymore. You’ve climbed out of the valley, a new creature. Stronger. Wiser. Better.
You cannot climb by looking over your shoulder. You have to keep your eyes on the path ahead of you. Set goals:
Today I will…
Tomorrow I will …
Next year I will …
In ten years’ time, I will …
You can’t wallow on a hillside; you’ll only roll back down into the valley. So don’t let yourself begin to wallow. When you start to say or think phrases that begin with “If only…” or “I wish it hadn’t …” or “What if I had …” or “Why…” stop yourself. Don’t let yourself finish that thought. Think about the path ahead.
“Today I am…”
“Today I will…”
“Tomorrow I will…”
Enjoy the light.
In a deep valley surrounded by mountains, there is very little sunlight. Everything is attached to shadows. There are shadows on the hillside, too, but there is also wonderful light. Enjoy it. Take short breaks from your careful steps and your path ahead and feel the caress of light and fresh air again. Notice that it is there.
Climbing up is so much harder than marching through. But the view can be spectacular. Enjoy it.
Once you’ve been Through the Valley of the Shadow of PTSD, life is still tough. But it is also glorious.
I know you can take this hill.
Dear Father, let the words that I say, the actions I take, and the works I do keep me climbing upwards. Amen.