Attach: Join, put together, connect. Abandon: Throw away, dispose of, dump.
Abandonment and Attachment…two important words that affect our ability to have relationships. In his book “Why You Do the Things You Do“, Tim Clinton says that the following questions point to important aspects of relationship:
Are you there for me?
Can I count on you?
Do you really care about me?
Am I worthy of your love and protection?
What do I have to do to get your attention, your affection, your heart?
How a person answers these questions indicates how secure their attachments are. If a person has been abandoned in any way, they will be very insecure. A child can perceive abandonment in a number of different ways that may seem very benign to a parent at the time. Dr. Mary Ainsworth did a study on the interaction between Moms and their babies to measure how secure a child feels in a relationship. What she found led to the labeling of four distinct types of relationship styles: the first being secure, and the other three – ambivalent, avoidant, and disorganized – being insecure. A study of Christian college students found that those students with insecure relationship styles felt anxious, overwhelmed, and angry. The ones with an ambivalent relationship style tended to doubt their salvation very frequently, wondering if they had really said the right things to God when they were saved or even if maybe they had committed the unpardonable sin. The ones with avoidant styles tended to give up on God when things didn’t go as they thought they should and would begin to follow sinful habits. Those with a disorganized style vacillated between responding in ambivalent, avoidant or even secure ways to God.
Perhaps understanding these relationship styles can help us understand why it is so difficult for some people to draw near to the Lord. It is not always simply a lack of discipline or an inadequate prayer life, but a deeper issue that we call a “soul wound.” Soul wounds can cause a person to get spiritually stuck and unable to move forward to draw near to our Lord. But, the good news is that our early, unhealthy relationship styles don’t have to mean lifelong problems. Our God is a redemptive God and through His power and grace, awareness of why we do the things we do, and a bit of courage, these self-defeating tendencies can be overcome.
This is the main goal and ministry of the Christian Counseling Center: to help people heal wounds and work through painful situations that often are blocking a secure and vibrant relationship with Christ Jesus. Please call us if you or someone you love is struggling and needs a counselor to come alongside and help them to heal so they can have a more secure attachment to Jesus and to others. You can request an appointment at any time by clicking here.
(Image By Christoph Hessel)