Probe me, God, know my heart; try me, know my thoughts. See if there is a wicked path in me; lead me along an ancient path. —Psalm 139: 23–24
Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you. —1 Peter 5:7
Is there anything more important in life than discovering and falling in love with God?
And how does that happen but through dedicated prayer- the raising of our heart and mind to God. But as many may experience, prayer isn’t always easy; there are a variety of factors that can- and do- effect our prayer. At some point in every Christian’s life comes the time when they have to ask “How do I view God?”. Not how they should view God, but how they actually view Him. This is no easy task and answering it requires a lot of courage!
In recent decades a body of research has developed that explains how humans learn to relate, called “Attachment Theory”. Attachment Theory and the therapies it has produced have brought healing and happiness to many people. Another amazing benefit of the development of Attachment Theory is that it can be used help people understand and improve how they relate with God. After all, we know that God is a Person who desires a deep relationship with us. The healing of our relationship with God was accomplished by Jesus Christ and ways to realize it have been lived out by the saints for centuries, but “new” knowledge is always nice.
The more securely attached we are in our primary relationships the more securely attached we experience God to be. On the other hand, the more insecurely attached we are in our primary relationships, the more we experience insecure attachment to God. Though God is always present and securely attached to us, our anxiety, avoidance, and fearfulness can keep us from experiencing God’s security.
Our image of God tends to come from our image of early caregivers such that to the extent that our early caregivers created a secure base and safe haven, our image of God is one of security and safety. The opposite of this is also true. To the extent that our early caregivers did not provide security and safety, our view of God and our relationship with Him suffer. For example, if my father was often absent, my expectation is that God, too, will abandon me. Likewise, just as I learned not to look to my absent father for anything, even if I have faith in God I may not actually count on Him in times of need. As you can see, our predominant attachment style can create a false image or view of God.
A spiritual director is often a representation of God for the directee. How we view and relate to God will often be how we view and relate to our spiritual director. This is an important dynamic to be aware of as a spiritual directee but most especially as a spiritual director whose internal Christlike dispositions toward the directee can become an important pathway for healing of attachment styles and strengthening the directee’s steps toward the Living God.
Since God is perfectly secure, a deep relationship with Him can help us to heal the attachment injuries of our lives so that we can grow in secure attachment. As we grow in secure attachment with God, we will be able to transfer that security to other relationships in our lives. As we learn to trust God, we can learn to trust others. Generally speaking, growing in secure attachment with anyone tends to positively affect all of our other relationships.
content from SDC 200: “Human Development for Spiritual Direction”
Copyright: Divine Mercy University 2019