Turn Triggers into Change Opportunities

I hopped onto the coaching call prepared to witness God move in this precious client’s life. In the months we’ve worked together, her sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading has brought about dramatic life change and a number of beautiful ah-ha’s for both of us – yes, a beautiful double blessing! However, during this particular appointment, her “ah-ah” became my “trigger.” What do I mean by that? Well, what she shared stirred my heart in a way that I could not have anticipated.

How often do you find yourself experiencing an emotional reaction to something that wasn’t even about you?

Maybe it’s something someone said about their life that’s either good, bad, or otherwise neutral. Maybe it’s a moment when a certain smell filled the air, or even the way the sun shines bright in the sky, that might bring you back to a time long gone.


How to Turn Triggers into Change Opportunities


In a blink, your even-keeled disposition turns restless for no good reason.

That, my friend, is a trigger. And triggers left unchecked cause problems.

As I got off the call with my client, I knew something was awry in my spirit as her story brought me back to a time in my life I hold very dear. While her situation had more to do with resolving a present-day conflict, the trigger in me led me to a place of grief and sadness. I once again was reminded of lost relationships that would never be regained. And yet, sorrowing over them was of no benefit. I cried my tears a decade ago and long moved on.

In this case, the trigger wasn’t a cue to resolve an issue from the past, but rather a red-flag to be intentional about my present-day choices.

I had a choice as to what I was going to do with my sadness. Would I own it or drown it in a bowl of ice cream? Would I be grateful for “what was” while being willing to invest in new relationships today?

[Tweet “I had a choice. We all do when it comes to triggers. #theNEWyou”]

No matter how big or small the trigger, we have a choice as to how we’ll respond. This is both a skill and a discipline worth practicing—one I call the Trap & Transform Principle, which is the foundation of Meet the New You. The entire book is built upon my journey in learning how to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) as I strive to be transformed by the renewing of my mind (Roman 12:2) in every area of life. It’s such a life changing process that has reaped much fruit, but that doesn’t mean I’ve mastered it. Rather, it’s a discipline I have to choose, as much as you do. Whether I’m working with a client, interacting with friends, mothering my kiddos, or connecting with my husband, it takes the effort to be intentional about what’s going on in my thought life as I react to what is happening around me.

Yep, sometimes I prefer a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby ice cream and a Hallmark movie on Netflix, even though it’s only a momentary fix for an issue needing a God-infused, truth-filled solution.

[Tweet “The way we feel won’t change unless we tackle the root thoughts stirred up by triggers.”]

Think about it for a minute: What are the triggers that get you each day?

Is it your time on Facebook, waiting for a response on a witty post?

Is it scrolling through Instagram, which I like to call it Instaslam, because a photo can become a trip-line causing me to slam right into jealousy!

Is it on the sidelines at your child’s game, as you sit alone but in earshot of the other moms talking about their night out together . . . without you?

Is it at the end-of-year award ceremony, when your sweet ones don’t ever seem to measure up high enough to be called on stage?

Is it when you don’t get the promotion, the contract, the invitation to contribute?

Friend, it’s not wrong to be easily triggered. And while it might seem ideal to set up a life without triggers, I’ve not been able to master such a feat. Instead, I’ve had to learn to handle my triggers with the Trap & Transform Principle and as a result, those triggers are now change opportunities.


Trap & Transform Principle


Yes, triggers can lead to life change.

The first step in harnessing triggers into life change opportunities to be self-aware by considering your emotional reaction. The next step is to take a long pause and inventory your thoughts. Be honest with yourself and God about what is going on in your heart and mind: Is what I’m feeling and believing in line with your Truth? This is the moment when life change occurs—when your thoughts get to come under His truth. Finally, you take the next step to live out that truth.

For example, when I got off the call with my client all stirred up, I could tell the way that my snippy feeling would lead to a nasty outburst on my family if I didn’t deal with my thoughts. By His grace, I felt the Holy Spirit reminding to slow down and deal with my feelings, as I turned to the Lord and said:

God, I’m missing those friends. I’m missing that time in my life. Will you please move my heart from sadness to thankfulness and give me hope for the next good gifts you’ll bring into my life? Give me eyes to see you at work in the people around me, that I may join you in those relationships. Fill the need in my heart for love and belonging with a fuller portion of yourself. Thank you, God for meeting all my needs in Christ Jesus. Even this need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Yes, friend, I humbly took my thoughts captive and yielded my heart to God so that I could move forward in line with His truth, His hope, and His purposes. It’s not always the way I respond, but I’m certain it’s the best way. Instead of being irritable and hurting others with wounds overflowing, my interactions were seasoned with God’s grace and truth as I unloaded my hurt onto the One who could handle it. Plus, skipping the ice cream and Netflix meant less to carry around on my hips, if you know what I mean.

Can you imagine how the Trap & Transform Principle could bring about simple life change in your life . . . one thought and one step at a time?

Take a minute to download the Trap & Transform resource and grab a copy of Meet the New You to begin the process of making those triggers lead to life change. Invite your daughter (or spiritual daughter) to experience authentic life change with you using the free Discussion Guide.

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