PTSD Spirituality: Safety Tip #1, Value

Remember that you have value.

No matter what your body’s wounds or injuries may try to tell you, you have value.

No matter what certain people – and you know the ones I mean – say about your worth, potential, or even your existence, you have value.

Genesis 1:26-31 provides us a lot of information about our inherent self-worth that is worth visiting:

1. Humanity is made in the “image” and “likeness” of God.  In technical theology terms this is the “Imago Dei,” Latin for “Image of God.”

Each of us, no matter what we may have done or whatever has been done to us, is created based on the most divine blueprint that can be conceived: The blueprint that is God’s own image and likeness.

2. And God Blessed Them… After humanity is created from the divine blueprint, God goes on to bless them (v28), these new persons, people…like us.

People may wonder what exactly it means to be “blessed” in general and what it means to blessed by God in particular.  It is sufficient for our purposes here to simply understand that it is a positive event, a positive condition that is for our benefit.  It’s not a rotten condition.

God values you by blessing you.  One of the reasons you are inherently worthy is because God has blessed you.  Unlike sun tan lotions and tanning booths, God’s blessing is more than skin deep and it lasts forever.  Too much exposure to God will not give you cancer…rather, it will give you Life.

Again, regardless of what trauma and injustices we may have observed, inflicted upon others, or have had inflicted upon us, we still, each of us, carry this original blessing within us – if we recognize it or not.  We cannot shed this blessing even if we try (and some do try).

3. And God Saw…It Was Very Good. One can say that in verse 31 God reviews the entire creation and recognized it as “very good.”  Or, one can say that God surveyed only the sixth day of creation, which includes humanity’s creation in the image and likeness of God, and recognized that those things created on that particular day are “very good.”  Either way, it is a win-win moment for humanity.  Whichever option you choose, humanity is recognized and it is pronounced as “very good” by God.

In the biblical text God recognizes the results of the previous days’ creation as “good.”  Now this is not a bad situation to be in.  To state the obvious, if God recognizes something as good, then that must be pretty good, eh?

Yet for Day Six and the creation of humanity, God’s recognition is that things are not just “good,” but are actually “very good” (It’s as if God supersized our happy meal and didn’t charge us the extra seventy-nine cents! We’re upgraded from just good, to very good…What a deal!).

Given the cost of writing materials in the ancient world, we should understand that they spent an extra dollar when the word “very” was added to intensify the meaning of the word “good” in verse 31.  It would have been cheaper to just write “good.”  And, every time a manuscript of Genesis was copied, they had to spend that money again.  Imagine that the costs of materials and human expertise (not only in reading but also in writing) equates to a unit cost of a “Dollar-a-Word” for every word written in the Bible.  Every time a new Bible was copied before the printing press was invented, it was a “Buck-a-Word” to copy down any writing.  That’s a lot of bucks!

The ancient Jewish and Christian scribes and then later the pre-modern scribes and monks did not scrimp or cut budgetary corners…they spent the extra dollar to remind us that God recognizes the creation of humanity is very good.

It has always been worth an extra dollar to help you know that God views your creation as very good.

So once again, there is an emphasis that you have value.

No matter how poorly some people treat you, you have value. 

No matter how sick or crippled you may be, you still have value. 

No matter what sins have been inflicted upon you, you still have value. 

No matter what sins you may have perpetrated, you still have value.

In just a few verses (Genesis, 1:26-31) we are informed three times how very valuable we are.  We are informed that we have inherent worth.

So, no matter how many times the PTSD tries to throw tar all over our souls and destroy our relationships, we know we still have value.

God values and loves you, each one of us.  The PTSD wants to over-write your identity and try to get you to give up, to reject the inherent goodness in which God created you.  But, you have value.

I had a difficult morning, another trip to the neurologist.  It was a morning that tried to make me feel worthless.  The medical staff was just fine, very helpful, especially when I was walking and then fell down.  My body was reminding me how useless I am when compared to the average national park bear.  The PTSD was trying to tell me I had no worth and that I was stupid for falling down.  How can I possibly be any good if it takes three nurses to scrape me off the floor and into a chair?

Those events tempted me to drag myself off to the elephant’s graveyard and drink myself silly.  To avoid that meant I would need once again to dig and find out who and what I really am.  I often do that through writing and trying to swim in the biblical text.  It helps heal me.

I discovered – once again, because I seem to be a slow learner in this department – that I have inherent value and have been created in the image and likeness of God.  It is true for me and it is true for you.

Valuable truths, realities, emphasized three times, in just a few verses…we all have value.

God values you.

Don’t give up.

Semper Pax, Dr. Z

Comments

  1. What a precious writing. I too would like to write. I want to write about my dog Pooh Bear I had for 19 years. And my talented grandmother who lived to 97 1/2. She could paint and sew and bake the most amazing delights. Like a streudel stretched over the kitchen table and rolled on her arm into a pan. Then baked to perfection. She used to freeze them I baked and put them in her suitcase on trips to visit. Pretty sure she is baking for Jesus. Never thought she had worth because her family was mostly professors and engineers. The lies we tell ourselves.
    I needed to read this. Like a gift from God. Every time I have a panic attack or startle awake and fear letting go I feel worthless. Like when you were on the floor. Like I am so broken I could not possibly count any more to anyone. It seems only someone that has been traumatized can handle the trauma I have felt. Like 2Cor. 1:4? We give the comfort that we have been given by God. The meaning to much of this PTSD is to be able to empathize and encourage. I will read this over and over because I am starved to hear something is ok about me. People either want to avoid it. The pain. Or they minimize and don’t get it. Even some who have it.
    Not sure anyone will ever see this. I have been away from bible study. Miss it. Like satan is on the attack. Not sure where to turn. But I do believe writing and scripture is healing. Just been too depressed to try any more.
    Blessings to you.

    • Hello Debbie, Your desire to write can help in the healing process. As we write, paint, draw, make music, we do several things at once. We discover more about ourselves, more about our meaning and value, and we engage in prayer. This is also true for people who like to cook. You are on the money when you mention 2 Cor. 1:4. This is part of why even as we struggle with our own challenges and wounds, we can be of assistance to others who share these wounds. Like Christ, we can become “wounded healers” who help others in their journey through the valley of the shadow of death. I do hope you can continue with your writing and Bible study, these are real opportunities to heal and better know ourselves and our meaning to God.
      Semper Pax, Dr. Z

      • Thank you for your encouragement. I’m attempting to drive to DC tomorrow w my husband to meet all our children up there. A small miracle these days. Travel is difficult. Any prayer will be appreciated:). I will reread your message and perhaps will journal thoughts on the trip. I bake cookies and pray with the homeless. Raised successful children and lost myself. Praying for God to open doors he wants me to minister through. Just today through you and answered prayer for my daughter I feel God’s hand. He has been quiet a while. Your blog being Christian is a great help. So much else leaves God out of the equation and that leaves out hope in my mind. May He Bless you and keep you and bring you peace today! Will keep you in my prayers.

  2. Your point on the material expense of writing and the added cost of stressing “very good”, makes a lot of sense. It’s hard for us to comprehend how precious writing materials were and the impact of adding extra words.
    Thank you for the value you add to my life and the many others comforted by your insightful sharing and your generous spirit.
    Working on more drawing/art.
    Happy belated Marine Corp Birthday.

    • Hi Russ, I’m delighted that you are engaging the art and drawing. Those activities are like antibiotics against the PTSD soul wound. I am constantly amazed at how low-cost to nearly no-cost writing can be in today’s world. All the more reason to be writing and drawing…I keep telling myself. Semper Pax, Dr. Z

  3. Harry Martin says:

    Dr Z, loved this blog! It’s a difficult feat to accomplish, but your words made me laugh and then later tear up. :-)

    I am celebrating today — I was approved for disability for the PTSD. It’s not only a financial relief, but also validation for those who have implied — or even said outright — that I should “just get over it” or “move on.”

    Dr. Z, I feel and use your blog as part of my therapy army. Thank you for what you do — you are “very good.”

    Harry

    • Hi Harry, Congratulations on your approval. While the money is always important, I found the validation that we have a real disability, caused by our faithful service, to be very meaningful. The people who want us to get over it and move on are exhibiting their own compassion deficit disorder. If it were just a choice to ‘get over it,’ well, we would have long before we met these bozos who would downgrade our suffering. I am glad that the website is useful to you and others. That we all have value should not be that radical of a proposal, but it seems a lot of folks out there don’t want to grapple with it. Again, congrats on your good news and continued strength to you on your journey. Semper Pax, Dr. Z

      • Harry Martin says:

        Thank you for your very sweet — and thoughtful — reply. I will continue to look forward to new blogs. :-)

  4. You do have inherent value, and you share a tremendous amount of value in the gifts that you give to the world – your insights, your courage, the reminders that we have that value. I am so very grateful that you take the time and give of yourself with this blog. Your compassion, for yourself and others, helps to save lives.

    I smile when I think of all the “dollars” spent to say VERY good.

    • I suppose we could re-purpose the title from the movie, “For A Few Dollars More,” and apply it to how expensive it was to write in the ancient and pre-modern world and tell people that they have value. Your own work with the Star Fish Foundation and Healing Warrior Hearts saves lives, as well. I am grateful you have the wonderful combination of insight, compassion, and expertise to help women, men, and their families to realize their own worth and the value of their lives and relationships. Semper Pax, Dr. Z

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