Dodging Danger Shock causes us to freeze the use of our gifts and talents because all we can focus on is dodging danger. A violent collision or a heavy blow causes the shock we feel. It’s natural to protect ourselves from this pain. There is a difference between physical shock and emotional shock. For instance, physical shock like my motorcycle accident caused trauma to my body from the sudden impact of the collision. Trauma to the body can heal over time. However, emotional shock happens when you experience sudden change in things like finances, lose a job or a loved one, or discover that a spouse is unfaithful. In my accident, for example, I struggled more from the emotional shock than the physical shock. After a few days, the physical scars healed and were barely visible. However, recovering from emotional trauma may take years. Most people don’t like loss or pain. I know I don’t. If we can, we want to avoid or escape it. However, pain has a benefit: it can chase the foolishness out of us. It has a way of causing us to see which priorities are important and which are not. At the same time, it creates a life experience, a reference point to self-preserve in the future so we don’t get hurt again. For example, in the early stages of a divorce many people strongly believe that they will never remarry again. My experience was much the same. I was determined I would never remarry. Although I am not remarried today, I have changed my mind on the matter. Indeed someday I would like to remarry. The difference is that when we are hurt we initially want to keep from getting hurt again. Therefore, we throw up brick walls around our emotions in order to protect ourselves. This is a normal process to survive the event. However, if we’re not careful, we can get stuck in self-preservation. It’s our nature to find comfort in things that remain the same—from jobs to friendships to relationships. We resist change out of the fear that if we let go of what we know, we’ll face circumstances we can’t handle. Nevertheless, in the end, staying in self-preservation mode doesn’t protect us as much as it robs us of our right to heal. It also robs us of our ability to realize our dreams. Self-preservation, though an important stage in healing, causes us to grow comfortable with our situation. If we don’t see it for what it is, we can’t move forward.

People are stuck in self-preservation if they are:

• Not questioning the way things are for fear of change and risk.

• Not being open to love because of a previous relationship.

• Not doing something they love because of a past hurt.

• Not getting married again because of a painful divorce.

• Not starting a business because of a past business failure.

• Not making new friends because of hurt or rejection from past relationships.

• Not going to church because of a bad experience with a church leader.