Loss of Agency
One of the most damaging consequences of trauma is a belief in a loss of agency, meaning the individual no longer believes they have authority over their own life. During the traumatic experience, something or someone external to their ability to choose overpowers them, leaving them feeling vulnerable, out of control, and powerless. Because they have no choice about experiencing the traumatic event, their feelings tell them they have no choice at all. Their sense of basic safety and security is lost, as is their belief they have the freedom to choose.
Our God-given authority and our freedom to choose are so precious and valuable, the belief in a loss of agency resulting from trauma has far-reaching consequences. The healing truth is that even though during the trauma something infringed on or limited one aspect of personal choice, nothing and no one can ever take away all our choices, because the freedom to choose is God-ordained. We always have the ability to choose how we will feel in any given circumstance, and we can choose if we will allow the trauma to define us or if we will choose to be defined by who God says He created us to be. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free" (Galatians 5:1).
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Dr. Donna E. Lane is a Christian Counselor who specializes in trauma, grief, and loss, along with the depression and anxiety often resulting from these experiences. She has been a counselor since 1979, and has owned her practice since 1993. She is co-author of the internationally-acclaimed trauma treatment resource, Trauma Narrative Treatment, and the accompanying story, Gold Stone. She is also the co-author of Strength in Adversity, a Biblical study on walking through difficulty with Christ.