Attaching- I Can’t Do this All Alone and It’s Not My Fault?
“People with damaged human attachments should have difficulty understanding God’s love of and special delight in them.” (p.121, Renovated)
As I started reading Jim Wilder’s words on page 121 in Renovated, I felt hope even though the truth of the words still bring pain. Is Jim saying that it is not my fault that I have difficulty understanding God’s love for me no matter how hard I try? I have tried hard. When I look on my bookshelf and see how many books I have read on God’s love, seminars/retreats I’ve attended, how long I have sat in my prayer chair trying to imagine, contemplate, “be” in God’s love and then a few minutes after I get up, I feel alone. Is there a real reason why I have such difficultly fathoming God’s love for me, no matter what I do to get it? Yes there is a reason, according to Jim Wilder it is that I have damaged human attachments that I can’t fix on my own.
“Repairing normal human attachments should improve the ability to attach with God.” How do you repair normal human attachments? I’m pretty sure it does not mean to appease, accommodate or abandon others in relationship. What does real attachment look like? I have been in the church for over 50 years and rarely have I seen secure attachment to God and others. Since I was 16 years old, I have been on an intentional journey to understand how do I attach with God? A few years back, with the encouragement of a dear friend, I decided to take the Thrive Training offered by Thrive Today with Chris and Jen Coursey. My thought was, “I’ll try this. I’ve tried everything else that’s come my way, so why not?”
One night, as I studied Thrive Training material linking brain science, God and attachment wounds, I fell into a little hopeless despair. Early the next morning, I sent an email to my friend from my hesed growing group. My friend replied to my email, “Hi Lori, You know that all the issues you mention are the areas of self that depend on others to develop. Naturally it feels hopeless when you find out because it feels like it is up to you to do something about it but it really requires some help from bigger brains who are also your people…”
I didn’t think I could ask or “depend on others to develop areas in me…or ask for help from bigger brains who are your people”. This is what a hesed growing group is, it is a place where I receive help from bigger brains, elders to me, who are also my people. It is here in a hesed group that I see healing and growth happening in my damaged human attachments. It is here where I am learning much about the opportunity to find attachment to God and others. What if church is meant to be a hesed growing group where we help each other? What if… what you have been longing for is what church is meant to be? What if…church is a where we show up just as we are, leave pretense behind, step into a place that feels scary and vulnerable. And then together we learn how to attach to God, to each other, to be tender to each other in weakness, to start to see where God is and what He wants us to know in this moment, for this day, in this situation?
When I read this section, I felt hope because I can say it is true-
“Attachment damage explains the problems that the staff and I were puzzling over in the counseling office. When people’s normal human attachments improved, they were better able to connect with God. When people’s attachments with God improved, they were better able to regulate emotions, connect with others, and resolve trauma. I cannot recall any instance when someone formed a better attachment with God and then their emotional and relational life became worse. Increased peace was the consistent outcome.” (p. 121 Renovated, Jim Wilder)
Grace means “we are very, very special to someone without having to work for it.” (Joy Starts Here, p. 14). As I sit here I want to share with you that you are very, very special to someone without having to work for it. Will you join me in praying, “Please God, help any unbelief you know I have in believing You want to attach to me and others will attach to me as well?” When I thought, “Who will be my people?” A dear friend said, “Ask God for your people.” Internally I felt sad, shame, fear and hopeless despair. I have been deeply hurt by community, I have deeply hurt others in community, so this is scary to ask God for “my people”. But a little part of me thought, “Could it really be possible?” That little part of me is the one who prayed, Please God help any unbelief…”
There are three places that practice hesed growing groups that I want to share with you-
Deeper Walk International has Journey Groups. Deeper Walk seeks to incorporate Life Model principles (one of their principles is growing hesed groups) into everything they teach. The Journey groups were designed with Life Model in mind. An integrated form to not just get content but actual practice in relational skills, can almost think of it as training not just a small group to attend.
Also, Deeper Walk is starting a Renovated e course you could do as a small group and learn about growing hesed.
This video is a great resource for this time in our lives.
Thrive Today has cutting edge brain/maturity/hesed where you practice hesed with a group after attending the Thrive training online or in person trainings. I love Thrive Trainings and our hesed group that we walk with daily.