Love, Laugh, Trust...
Feeling Close and Staying Close to the People in Your Life
In the Garden of Eden, a perfect relational triangle existed, where Adam, Eve, and God were in sync. Adam and Eve were perfectly dependent upon God, who was perfectly trustworthy and provided for them everything they could possibly want or need. The couple was joyfully interdependent with each other, and all three members of this "trinity" enjoyed the kind of perfect love, laughter, trust, and intimate communication that all the rest of us will only experience after we graduate from this flesh-existence and enter eternity through an imperfect, but sincere, relationship with Jesus Christ. This is a picture of perfectly healthy "attachment."
At birth, newborns are totally self-absorbed, incapable of any inter-relational connection other than the ability to express their needs for physical and emotional comfort. So God created a neurological phenomenon, a neurotransmitter released in Mama's brain, called "oxytocin," whose only job is to create a profound, relational bond. In God's perfect design, when newborns cry, mommies strongly desire to comfort their babies and meet their needs. As this dance becomes familiar, baby learns his first lesson: Trust. And "voila"! Attachment is achieved! Mom and baby have a healthy relationship bond. Baby learns that Mama will take care of her, so she can trust her Mama. And mother and baby both deeply desire a vital, ongoing relationship.
At this infant stage, total dependency is healthy. When children grow up - not so much! For the next 18-21 years, the goal of parenting is to facilitate our child's godly transformation process from parental-dependence to God-dependence. And we parents can enjoy the victory of "success" (while simultaneously grieving) when our adult child is able to fly from our nest into their expanded lives and unknown futures. By "adulthood" the dance has transformed, but attachment is secure; and both we and our children have morphed from our caretaking and their dependence upon us to a mature inter-dependence with us, where we celebrate and experience life as separate entities, bound together in a history of love, laughter, trust, and intimate communication. That's God's perfect plan.
Unfortunately, the enemy of our souls interferes, and the plan doesn't play out as perfectly as God intended when He set the world in motion. As life progresses, we all find ourselves in relationships that disappoint, or even crush, our hearts. Deep wounds change the trajectory of our lives and our relationships. Trust is broken or never earned. Attachments are torn asunder or never allowed to form at all. And, like a tree that grows bent over, our hearts can grow crooked; our souls can learn lessons that are not in alignment with God's design or His view of Truth. We all, at times, inadvertently form false beliefs that feel very real. We develop fleshy survival skills and build walls of protection that kill the potential for healthy attachment. Anger might feel as if it's our most trusted friend, when all it does is keep away the connection and acceptance we crave; and we miss out on God's relational gifts. We miss out on the kind of loving, laughing, trust, and intimate communication that God originally intended for all humans to enjoy with Him and one another here on Earth (as it is in Heaven).
If you have difficulty feeling close and staying close to people, if you feel lonely and wish that you could understand and be understood by someone, and if you are afraid to trust God and others who are trustworthy, then I want to encourage you:
You do not have to remain stuck and alone.
God is still in the habit of healing.
There is help available to attend to those deep wounds.
The power of God is our only hope as the Source of healing and transformation.
And God, our Source, provides good resources for us all.
So, if you have difficulty in relationships, please know that the door is open. Step out of your prison of loneliness, ask God for courage, and receive ministry and counsel through competent Christian resources to experience transformation that will bring you closer to Jesus and closer to the friends and family members that He put in your life.
Healthy attachment, based in trust, is part of the "abundant life" for which our Savior died. And He didn't stay dead. Instead, He came back to life and then sent His Spirit to hang out inside of every believer. And never forget: He's the One who created the Garden of Eden, with all its relational perfection, in the first place. He's capable of recreating you if you choose to cooperate with Him. As a matter of fact, He delights in it!
I would love to connect with you. You're invited to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you or someone you know would like to set up a counseling appointment, please call me at 612-239-4178. Leave a message, and I will do my best to get back to you within 24 hrs. And may all your relationships become healthy ones!
In God's Lap With You,
Clinical Christian Counselor
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Dear friends, many of my clients live on Social Security or otherwise cannot afford the suggested donation amount of $135 for each 80-90 minute session. PTLB is in dire need of tax-deductible donations toward the counseling scholarship fund of Holly Eaton. Please consider making a monthly tax-deductible donation to the PTLB counseling scholarship fund at ptlb.com/hollyeaton. If you prefer, you can mail a check to PTLB, P.O. Box 214, Roseville, CA 95661, specifying "Holly Eaton" in the memo. Thank you!