Kobe Campbell 00:02
And so really trauma is a past wound that affects how we live in the present and how we perceive the future. Right. And I think that's where the line is between something that hurts and something less traumatic. Like, I can stub my toe, but I will probably forget that I stubbed my toe by the end of the day, and I'm not walking around thinking, oh my gosh, I'm gonna stub my toe again. And that doesn't mean you always have to be cognitively aware of your trauma. But your trauma is something that your body is reliving, over and over and over again, in the present, even though that moment of pain happened in the past.
Laura Howe 00:44
From Hope Made Strong, this is The Care Ministry Podcast, a show about equipping ministry leaders and transforming communities through care. Supporting those in your church and community not only changes individuals lives, but it grows and strengthens the church. We want to do that without burning out. So listen in, as we learn about tools, strategies and resources that will equip your team and strengthen hope. Hey, there, my name is Laura and welcome to The Care Ministry Podcast. Today, we get the chance to talk with a good friend of mine, Kobe Campbell, about her brand new book, it's called Why am I like this, how to break cycles heal from trauma and restore your faith. How someone experiences and event is unique to them. I have heard so many times, people make comments about how other people grieve, whether they didn't cry enough, or oh, they barely know that person. They're crying too much or reacting too much, or, wow, they're getting back to work so quickly. These judgments and observations that are not only stop at grief, but they really are applied to anything traumatic. We say things like, Oh, they're overreacting or they didn't get hurt that bad, or I'm surprised they're over it so quickly. Trauma is personal. And as caregivers, we need to be careful not to be quick to judge, but rather quick to extend compassion and grace, more and more. I'm hearing people flippantly say things like that was so traumatic, or, oh my goodness, I have PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. And while I am thrilled that people have become more comfortable talking about their experiences and mental health, and there's a recognition that what someone experiences impacts our mental health and well being. I don't want trauma to become minimalize trauma is real. It's super impactful. What I like to say is that trauma is sticky, and can impact how we experience life and how we see the future. Our faith too is a lens that colors how we experience life, and how we see the future. And I love how Kobe doesn't back away from exploring this intersection of trauma and faith and even theology, but she dives headfirst right in. Kobe is no stranger to this podcast. Actually, she was just on back in episode 13. And, and in that episode, we talked about how trauma informed leadership can transform the church. And if you enjoy this episode, you're going to want to go back and check out that episode 13 because it in it, we talk about what scripture tells us about trauma, and how sometimes a church leaders best intentions to support are actually messages of shame, and how trauma informed ministry can transform the church. It's a good one. And since that conversation, Kobe has written her first book like I said, titled Why am I like this, which at the time of this recording today is sitting at number one in pastoral counseling on Amazon. Way to go Kobe! And not only is Kobe an author, but she's also a trauma therapist and founder of the Healing Circle Therapy and Wellness Center. In her new book, she brings together theological insights with therapeutic principles and helps readers begin their journey of restoration. It is fantastic. I'm so excited to an honor to be a part of helping you launch this book out into the world. I am very excited to have you connect on the podcast. Thank you Kobe for coming.
Kobe. I am so grateful that you have joined us and I am so excited for you, friend for launching your first book. I am so honored to be a part of this first launch team.
Kobe Campbell 04:41
Thank you so much for having me. I love you. I love Hope Made Strong so I'm just so excited to serve in this way.
Laura Howe 04:48
Oh my goodness. So for those who don't know, we Kobe and I go back a few years I think we both started this entrepreneurial mental health and faith thing around the same time, I think you were a year or two before me. And we've had a couple conversations, Kobe, you were back in episode 13. And now, this is episode 78. So it was, like over a year ago, it's been a while.
Kobe Campbell 05:14
Oh, my goodness, wow, it has been a long time.
Laura Howe 05:18
And I'm excited because you have just launched your first book. And can you tell us what inspired you to write this book right now?
Kobe Campbell 05:27
Yes, well, um, my book, Why am I like This? How To Break Cycles, Heal From Trauma And Restore Your Faith. The subtitle is the why really, I found myself in some cycles of sadness, and depression and loneliness, just struggling and felt like, okay, life is not worth living anymore. And had this incredibly miraculous moment with God, where I had such a powerful experience, and I became a Christian. And then life went back to like depression and anxiety. And everything I learned in faith up to that point completely opposed what I was experiencing that when you become a believer, like all things are passed away, behold, he's doing a new thing, you know, a new creation. Oh, my gosh, yes. And I'm pressing forward to the mark, mark, forgetting what's behind. And nobody could explain to me why I truly gave my life to the Lord, I truly loved God, I truly was committed to Him. And yet I was so experiencing depression. No one could explain like that dichotomy to me and I struggled to find a sense of home and faith communities, to be quite honest, because it felt like it was the subject no one wanted to talk about, everyone was just kind of like, well, if you prayed more, if you went to Bible study, if you didn't miss the service, and, and I, the personal experience I had with God was so was the antithesis of everything I was being told in some of these faith circles. And so for me, I was like, Yeah, I feel like I need to do some more investigating. And so I ended up going to therapy, seeing actually a Christian therapist, and it changed my life. I was like, wow, like, God is bringing up these past memories, because he wants to heal and redeem them. And not because he's trying to remind me of what a terrible person I am like, God is not mad at me for being anxious or depressed, but instead is a resource of safety, and that anxiety and depression. And, you know, went on that journey became a therapist. And then I realized how few people had the same resources I had, it's how many people could identify with where I started in my journey. And so this book is really a trauma 101 book for Christians, to understand trauma through the lens of scripture, to gain resources to break cycles, and to reshape their perspective of faith in a way that includes a God who cares about their mental health instead of one of the judges them for it.
Laura Howe 08:04
It's so good. I know, I grew up in an era where it was if anything was going wrong in your life, you weren't in the will of God, that have submitted something or you're outside of the will of God, you're outside of his covering, and always being so fearful about walking in the will of God, there's only one well, there's only one way and if I if anything went wrong in my life, I must have been outside the will of God.
Kobe Campbell 08:30
Yep. Yep. As if like one wrong turn created an entire life that was irredeemable, and, and terrible and could not be fixed. As if God is not the one who makes everything work out for our good, even the wrong turns. You know, and I think that's, that's kind of like an undertone of this book as well is that like, the mistakes and the heartbreak in the sadness and the trauma that I experienced, but God turned it for good. And this book is a manifestation of that.
Laura Howe 09:05
It's so good. And it's so needed. So thank you so much for doing this. Going into it, can you talk a little bit? Because you take some risks, not only do you talk about trauma, but you also talk about imperative theology? And what does the scripture say? And I think, at least from my experience, when talking with pastors, they, you know, what do I say about mental health? Where does it talk about it in the scriptures and, and, you know, how can we how can I bring a hope-filled message to my congregation about about mental health and there's always the struggle of knowing what the Word says and you do not shy away, you will lean in hard and talk about it in this book. So can you share a little bit about kind of what you're seeing in scripture on trauma?
Kobe Campbell 09:50
Yeah, what the truth is, is truly nothing new under the sun. And I think that we are stepping into an era generation where we are learning that shepherding is a group project, you know that there are people I mean, I know I know dozens of therapists who scripture. We're just really given the space to share that with the body, you know, which is why organizations like yours are so important and imperative. And so when you look at scripture, trauma is everywhere. The Bible starts with trauma, the Bible, the Bible starts with anxiety the Bible starts with, with relational ruptures, right. And I think that we miss that the human experience that we have now is not something that's like, specific to the time that we're in the human experience is not specific to the year 2023. The human experience has been the human experience since humans have existed. And so there is anxiety, there is depression, there is suicidal ideation, right? We see that in leaders like Moses, we see that leaders like Elijah, we see the fear, we see the way trauma ravages people's lives in so many ways, King David, right. We see him as a mighty warrior and a skilled musician, and a wise leader. But we also see a man whose childhood trauma shows up in a way that affects his child. Right? That's generational trauma, right there in scripture. And yet, many of us don't see it, not because we don't want to and not because we're not trying to, but just because we haven't gotten acquainted with the voices that God is. God has given the wisdom to share those information with us.
Laura Howe 12:03
Yeah. When people ask me when I see in the trauma in the Bible, I always talked about the woman who was accused of adultery. Yeah, and that she was pulled publicly and mocked and was, you know, going to be killed for this or at least prison meant, and what does Jesus do? He doesn't condemn, but he just calm lowers the temperature. And it was just like, Okay, who here has not sinned in this room cast the first stone and, and he doesn't condemn, but he restores it. And he brings comfort and compassion and empathy, and doesn't attack because this woman, likely if she's been in that situation, has likely faced many, many traumas. And he just, he just meets her where she is at without condemnation, but with hope, and it's, it's beautiful.
Kobe Campbell 12:37
Absolutely, and with Jesus's words, so that woman, he established his safety, yes, which is at the core of all trauma, recovery, and trauma healing. And I think when we think about, you know, care organizations and care departments and churches, that's really what we're trying to establish, we're trying to establish safety. A church can't be a place where people are healed and restored until that organization is a place that people perceive as safe. Right. And so Jesus establishes safety by saying, I am not like the people who want to condemn you, I am different, right? And then when he gives her a hard word, and says, like, hey, go turn away from the life you've been living, she can receive it, because it's already been established that this is a safe person to receive rebuke from this is a safe person to receive maybe a hard word or, or, you know, an imperative to change from. But sometimes we try to like skip steps, and we try to tell people what to do and how to change without establishing first that we're safe and that we're on their side. Yeah,
Laura Howe 13:41
Yeah,establishing safety and that relationship, right, building that connection first before you condemn, rebuke, or even give advice or direction in any way. Yeah. So important. So important. And so you're connecting faith, trauma, theology all together? Can is there? Are you able to offer a principle, a sneak peek into what the book shares?
Kobe Campbell 14:05
Oh, my gosh, I think one of the principles I've been chewing on so much lately, especially this week, is that we live in the stories that we tell ourselves, and the stories that we tell ourselves are based on the experiences that we've had.
Laura Howe 14:21
And we see our world through our experiences. We problem solve through our experiences, that is so good.
Kobe Campbell 14:27
Yep, yep. And if we want to experience something different, rather, if we want to believe something different if we want to live in a different world, internal world, we have to experience something different. And sometimes that means we have to do something different. Right? That at the core of healing is feeling safe, feeling empowered, getting wisdom, so that we can do something different than we've done before. So that we can take courage so that we can take the relational risk of joining a small group, so that we can take even the internal risk of just raising our hands during worship, right? Saying, I'm going to do something different, so I can experience something different. So I can have a different story to tell in my life. When I think about this, I think about the woman in John 4 who, you know, talks to Jesus, I imagine her being a woman who went to the well by herself in the middle of the day, which wasn't customary to that culture. She talking to Jesus and opening up to Jesus, is her doing something different, right? So her opening up to a stranger? Is her doing something different? Right, her asking a question, is her doing something different? And that different affects her and then affects an entire city? Right? Now the outcast is the person who's gathering people. There's like a grand reversal of her trauma, because she dared to do something different.
Laura Howe 15:55
So what's your call to those who are questioning? Who are feeling like they don't, they don't have the strength? Or they're scared, or they're not sure what to do? How could we encourage them, so I'm thinking of the people who are listening or the leader. So for us, we've all experienced struggles and suffering and trials. And so for us to do something different, we might have the capacity to dig deep and act on that. But those who were supporting might not be able to have the capacity or strength to do that. So how could we encourage others to, to work that out?
Kobe Campbell 16:32
Yeah, I think the doing something different could look like putting down the responsibilities that we put up.The doing something different could be asking yourself the question, God, why don't I feel safe with you? God, how could I feel more safe with you, right there doing something different doesn't always have to be an external action, but can be an internal posture. You know, if you feel a sense of shame, because of something that you've did, or something that's happened to you, you might pray when you usually don't pray, or reach out to a friend, when you usually keep to yourself, or a delegate, when you usually do things on your own. Right. And I think for leaders, trauma recovery is not something you can teach in a way that people will fully receive unless you're embodying it. It's kind of like a smell. You can just tell, like, how do you describe what a banana smells like? You don't know. But like, if it smells like a banana, everyone in the room knows it smells like a banana, right? Because there's certain there's a certain reality that like, we have to be the first to jump. We have to be the first to lay down our pretenses and, and adopt humility, not humility, in the way of humiliation, not humility in the way of uncovering ourselves, but humility in the way of saying, I'm doing this with you. I'm in this with you. And isn't that literally what the essence of Jesus coming to earth is, is him saying, I'm doing this with you? I've been through this too. I'm in this with you. And that's the invitation for leaders is like, for them to start healing their trauma more than they care about preaching about trauma, healing, more than they care about starting small groups, or having speakers come in. Like to really believe that doing the work as a leader will bear fruit in the people that you're leading, because of how it will change you and how you will change how you relate to them. And I think sometimes when things get buzzworthy, it's easy to be like, Okay, let's bring in the experts. Let's bring in the people that talk. And we can get all the information but not actually metabolize it with our lives. And I think the invitation for leaders to do something different, like get go to go to therapy, go into a space where you're not the expert. Let's go and see you let someone else minister to you.
Laura Howe 19:02
That's good. That's good.It's a good call out too. I love that analogy or that, you know, connecting it to the life of Jesus that he came and did with Yeah, it was perfect. He didn't have to God didn't have to do that. He was perfect in every way. Absolutely. But he chose to do it with because that is how we learn. That's how we connect. That's how we grow was we grow alongside? Yeah, and as we as leaders, I think when people we become much more relatable what is that? People admire strength but relate to weakness. Yeah, or a relate to suffering. And so it's, it's, it can be a powerful way to heal yourself, which we all could use and as well as walk alongside others. That's good. Yeah. In your approach, you talk about trauma, would you be able to just give us just kind of because it is a bit of a buzzword I want to know I hear from you. What is trauma to you? How do you define trauma? Or how do you recognize trauma?
Kobe Campbell 20:06
Yeah, my favorite definition of trauma is trauma is simply a wound. The word trauma translates in Greek to wound. And so really, trauma is a past wound that affects how we live in the present and how we perceive the future. Right. And I think that's where the line is between something that hurts and something that's traumatic. Like, I can stub my toe, but I will probably forget that I stubbed my toe by the end of the day, and I'm not walking around thinking, Oh, my gosh, I'm gonna stub my toe again. And that doesn't mean you always have to be cognitively aware of your trauma. But your trauma is something that your body is reliving, over and over and over again, in the present, even though that moment of pain happened in the past. And a lot of us don't understand the way that God has made the body. Right, I go through that a little bit. When I talk about the nervous system, God created these systems, God created the systems that allow us to feel emotion, God created the systems that regulate emotions, and help us feel safe or not feel safe. And so it's so important for us to know that when we are talking about trauma, we're not talking just about the soul or the mind. We're talking about all of God's creation in humanity, which is the mind the body, the spirit.
Laura Howe 21:26
It's good. It's good. Because trauma can be used as a buzzword. Oh, that was so traumatic, or things like that. Do you find that the overuse or the more common language is breaking down stigma? Or? Or is it causing misunderstanding? Or? Or is it helpful? Or is it hurtful? I don't know what to make of the question. Yeah, if it's beneficial or not, it's definitely bringing awareness, but then maybe it's misaligned.
Kobe Campbell 21:57
Yeah. Well, you know, someone else had asked me this question recently. And, essentially, I said, you know, when we talk about trauma, trauma, and trauma, healing requires a lot of trust. Because trauma is deeply personal and deeply contextual. Meaning from the outside, no one can say whether it's trauma or not, you know, I have a twin sister, my brother, my husband has a twin brother. And the things that may have been traumatic to me or my husband, our siblings may not even remember, and vice versa, right. And so, dealing with trauma requires that we believe people about their experiences. It requires that we trust that people are the experts of their experience. And I do think there is a wisdom and say in defining like trauma is a past moment that's being relived in the present, that affects how we see the future. I think that helps people because you've, I've found that most of my clients will be like, actually, yeah, maybe that wasn't actually trauma because that's not that that's not something that I that really affects how I live my everyday life. But I think that we have to resist the temptation to think that we can be the authority on whether something is truly traumatic and someone else's life or not. And I think that lots of times, we feel that if something did not affect us deeply, that it could not affect someone else deeply. And that's just simply not true.
Laura Howe 23:24
So when someone comes to you, seeking support and seeking help, and saying went through a traumatic experience, regardless of their reaction, or the response, whether it aligns with what you think was appropriate or not, what regardless of whether you think that event was deemed traumatic or not, we still need to create a safe place in that trust to say, Okay, let's talk about it. Let's, let's go there. And we can, under we can seek look at a curiosity. Yeah. Yeah, I always try to encourage people to be curious about it, rather than coming in as an authority or asking, you know, yes or no questions. Just be curious about their experience. And then through that, you'll be able to navigate, like you said, defining what trauma means. And maybe they'll, they'll be like, oh, yeah, maybe not a bad that's truly might be traumatic for them.
Kobe Campbell 24:16
Yeah, yeah. And we have to believe that they still deserve the safety, even if it wasn't traumatic. They still deserve safety. They still deserve compassion and kindness. And, you know, we have to be careful about the desire to look for opportunities to withhold compassion from people, because that's how God treats us.
Laura Howe 24:37
So you, you were talking about people, the tendency to withhold compassion. And I want to I want to sit on that for a minute and say, you know, why is it because I can look back and say, Oh, I had compassion, fatigue or vicarious trauma like I was, I was burnt out as a helper, and I was maybe not present with people. Well, but I'm curious withholding compassion from people. Can you explain what that means? A little bit more or your your experience of that?
Kobe Campbell 25:08
Yeah, you know, I often find that people's go to, especially when they haven't experienced compassion and in a consistent way, and especially when people have only given them compassion at a high threshold, like, Oh, something really big had to happen before they got that compassion and kindness. I often find that people in the situations, including myself, sometimes so this is not other people. This is me sometimes as well. It's easy to dismiss someone else's pain, because we feel like you're getting too easy of an access to something I had to truly suffer for. Right. And so I think that we miss that, like, no one wins and the pain Olympics. Yeah, no one wins. There's no first place we all come in last. And it's so easy for us to want to look at someone else's pain and demean it, for the sake of making our own pain seem more valid, for the sake of making our own pain seem like it deserves more attention.
Laura Howe 26:12
Even internally, you might not be vocal. Just might be justifying internally.
Kobe Campbell 26:18
Yeah. And the truth is, what if it hurts, it hurts,
Laura Howe 26:22
Oh, my goodness, I just did a podcast a couple weeks back about compassion, fatigue, and talking about how it's an erosion of empathy and compassion for myself and others, but never considered it in that way. So I love that you brought that up? Yeah. Great definition. So for our listeners, who are church leaders, and who regularly connect with people who are suffering and struggling with with trauma, how is is your book? Or how can they use your book? Or is your book a tool that they could walk people through or refer? Like, what is the best use of this resource for them?
Kobe Campbell 26:59
Absolutely. Well, this is a book that anyone could just read on their own. But each chapter ends with reflection questions. And the beginning of the book is really about, like what's going on internally, helping them get the resource in the language to understand their experience. And the second half of the book is about how we heal and how we are restored. And so the second half of the book has a lot of prompts. And it has a lot of journaling activities. It even has experiential activities, with some Christian coping skills that I created that kind of marry spiritual disciplines with evidence based calming strategies. And so this is I literally wrote this with the church in mind, I wrote this with small groups in mind, with leadership meetings in mind, with let's stop and ask each other these questions and reflect, because I wanted this to be a resource that people could connect to other people with.
Laura Howe 27:58
So who would be an ideal candidate for this book?
Kobe Campbell 28:05
Oh, an ideal candidate for this book would be anyone who resonates with the title, 'Why Am I Like This?" That's literally why I wrote it. Because there's like, gosh, I asked myself that all the time. And I was like, that is this is a question that will appeal to people. You know, and the truth is, the reason why we're like this is because we're stuck in cycles, is because we're dealing with trauma. It's because our faith seems to not work in the context in which we need it the most. Right? We feel like God, where are you? Why does my faith all of a sudden feels so weak, and like, it's not contributing to my wellness. And so this book is really for any person who's a believer whether they are new to the faith, or they're seasoned in the faith, it's truly a different perspective than many of us are used to hearing. And so this book is really for every person who is stuck in patterns they want to change is stuck in cycles, they want to break but don't have the resources to do so. Who has past experiences they know they need to address but don't know how to start doing so.Who are wondering how does God respond to me when I'm depressed? How does God respond to me when I'm anxious? How does God think of me and interact with me based on what I've experienced in the past? So this book is for people who are ready for healing and are holding on to their faith or are trying to figure out how those two things work together.
Laura Howe 29:32
I love that so often I hear of churches who are looking for resources that they could come alongside with, but they know they're not the expert. They know they're not professional counselors, but people are coming to them because they either can't access supports in their communities, they're weightless, or, you know, they don't have the funds or ability to to you know, drive or get to those professional services. So our churches are desperately looking for Okay, what is the tool that I could walk with someone where I don't have to be the expert, I have to be the supporter I have to be the cheerleader. I can listen I can guide I can, I can walk alongside and I think this is a phenomenal resource for that. So thank you so much Kobe for for creating that and I am so excited for you. And I hope all the listeners are go to the show notes and grab this book. But Kobe would you be able to share where they can get more connected to you and access and order this book.
Kobe Campbell 30:31
Absolutely. So um, you can connect to me on social medias at kobecampbell underscore and then you can visit my website wwwkobecampbell/book to find all the million places you can order the book, target books and million Walmart, Barnes and Noble. All the places you can go Amazon, of course, you can grab it everywhere. And you know, I would just invite you to grab it for yourself and grab it for someone you know who's struggling. The powerful thing about books is people get information without having to be vulnerable when they're not ready. And so maybe there's someone that you know, is asking some hard questions. Maybe there's someone you know who's going through a hard time, grab them this book, read it and ask what they think invite them into a safe and compassionate connection around healing, you know, start a small group with it. So yeah, I'm just so excited about this book, grateful to get it into as many hands as possible to see as many hearts and relationships and generations restored as possible.
Laura Howe 31:37
Awesome. Thank you so much, Kobe and all the best happy launch week.
Kobe Campbell 31:42
Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Laura Howe 31:46
Hey, thanks for listening. If this episode resonates with you, or you support those who are on a journey and asking questions like Why do I keep making the same mistakes? or Why am I like this? or Why do I feel this way? Then definitely you're going to want to check out Kobe's book and you can grab that from the show notes at hopemadestrong.org/episode 78. Thanks again and I hope you have a fantastic week.