I remember leaving my newborn twins in the church nursery. Some mornings were very difficult. The moment I transferred them into the arms of loving caregivers, they kicked and screamed. But I was desperate to have space, separation, and some sanity! What’s a mom to do?
Even though it tore at my heart, I turned away and headed toward the auditorium. I enjoyed focusing on something other than the desperate cries of newborns and feeding my soul with worship and the Word. I returned refreshed and ready for the rest of the day. And my children? Precious women loved on them like they were their own. They learned that life exists outside of Mom. Eventually, they enjoyed falling into the arms of Ms. Jane. She loved them in a way I could not. They grew there.
Separation Anxiety is not just for babies.
Now my children are teenagers. They are not attached to me like they once were. They are attached to their friends, their iPods, Hot Fries, and chocolate! Trying to separate them from any of these is like trying to remove a piece of gum melted by the summer sun from the bottom of your shoe–it is practically impossible.
Children and teenagers are not the only ones susceptible to inappropriate attachments. I’m quick to point the finger at my teens and their obsession over all things electronic, or their insatiable need for junk food; but I’m guilty, too. Sometimes it is a significant effort not to check the comments on my Facebook status—or the stats for my blog. For a while the FB app lived on the last page of my device so it would not be “front and center” when I turned it on.
What about things like our job, our ministry, or our personal style. Because these things are so much a part of who we are, how do we separate ourselves from the hold that they may have on our identity?
It’s good and appropriate for us to rely on certain people and some things. Any time they become an obsession, however, keeping us from focusing on what is truly important, we have a problem. We are worshipping the person or thing we are obsessing over.
1 Peter 3:15 tells us not to do this, “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life.” Jesus Christ must take precedence over everything and everyone else.
The truth is, when we obsess about something, in reality, it has power over us; we are controlled by it. We can’t do things we want (and need) to do because of the time and energy we spend on the other.
Our hearts were made for attachment.
We feel comfortable and safe when we are attached. Separation anxiety occurs when we detach from something we love. And it hurts! Once we do, we will naturally attach to something else. The key is attaching to the Lord.
Admittedly, changing habits is difficult. When we are attached to the wrong things, we are trapped by them. We aren’t free. Once we cut the ties that bind, we may feel like a kite loose in the wind, whipping around aimlessly and plummeting to the ground. Eventually shredded by the wind and broken by the fall.
But when we anchor ourselves (our souls) to the Creator of the wind, we are like a kite in skilled hands. The ties holding us don’t bind, they allow us to soar!
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)