One of the biggest challenges for me in gaining healing for my fragmented heart was that the very fragmenting of it made it difficult for me to find the path to regaining my heart and having it be whole again. Pat answers didn’t help and too often hindered. My heart didn’t respond to trying to Band-Aid it with a couple of scripture verses. It also didn’t happen all at once. It was a process just as its fragmentation was a process.
I love how Frederick Buechner describes it in Telling Secrets:
“The original shimmering self gets buried so deep that most of us end up hardly living out of it at all. Instead we live out all the other selves, which we are constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world’s weather.”
In the poem “A Little Book on the Human Shadow” Robert Bly talks about at the very earliest of ages we start putting parts of ourselves that seem to be unacceptable into an “invisible bag.”
To begin the journey to waking up to the truth requires courage to face the fear of what we will discover. Sometimes it can only happen when our busyness has driven us to such a level of exhaustion that we yield because we have no other choice.
If we have never had an experience of a secure attachment with someone, we will tend to not have one with the Lord and that will make the process more challenging. Too often we have projected onto God how we viewed our parents when we were growing up.
Dr. Tim Clinton and Dr. Joshua Straub in God Attachment outline four attachment styles. Their research and personal experience suggest we will each fall predominantly in one of them, but will likely have a few tendencies of others. The four they list include: Secure Attachment, Anxious Attachment, Avoidant Attachment, and Fearful Attachment.
If we are blessed to have “good enough” parents, we will see our parents as safe people and places to turn to in our darkest hours and hardest trials. We will also be more likely to see God that way and see Him as accepting of us even when we mess up and feel safe running into His arms. We will develop a Secure Attachment with God and others.
If we have an not experienced that and develop an Anxious Attachment style, we will be caught up in always trying to pursue God and try to please Him by doing things to try to gain His approval so we might somehow feel connected to God. If we fall into this group, we will likely read more books, listen to more messages, and be perpetually praying, and going to meetings in the hope we have earned His love and care. Exhaustion will eventually catch up with us. A list of how to connect with God will be snapped up easily by those of us in this group because we keep looking for something to do to get us connected with God the way we believe others are. Our hearts seldom feel such connection with Him.
Those of us who develop an Avoidant Attachment style tend to keep God at a distance. Our relationship with Him happens more in our heads than in our hearts. We tend to focus on facts and duty where God is concerned.
If we fall into the Fearful Attachment style, it tends to be because our life growing up has been chaotic and inconsistent so we have never known what to expect or what we could count on. We have never felt safe with anyone. We would like to find such a person and may try very hard to find God to be that, but if He is all that people say He is then why wasn’t He able to protect us from the chaotic (often abusive) family we grew up in. We want to believe it is possible so too often we will blindly trust claims of teachers, preachers, and counselors who make claims to solve all of this for us. It can happen easily because we all want to belong, to have someone care, and to not be alone.
On my path to reconnection of my heart the Lord used many things. One of these was the book, Sacred Romance, by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge. In their chapter, “The Lost Life of the Heart” they wrote these words:
“The truth of the gospel is intended to free us to love God and others with our whole heart. When we ignore this heart aspect of our faith and try to live out our religion solely as correct doctrine or ethics, our passion is crippled, or perverted, and the divorce of our soul from the heart purposes of God toward us is deepened.”
The first thing I learned I needed to do was to begin to understand and learn to know my story, not just the facts and the things that I would tell everyone when they asked about it. I needed to accept and know that I was not only broken but beautiful so that I could risk looking at all of me including the parts that were hidden under my desire to please and gain favor by ever doing.
As Clinton and Straub say clearly in God Attachment:
“The very essence of secure adult attachment with others and with God is the ability to understand our lives. It’s a coherent story that includes the good, the bad, and the ugly events and integrates them into an understanding of why we are the way we are.”
In the midst of all this, we also need to remember not everything is, as it seems. We live in the middle of a world we can see and one we cannot.
Next time we will look a bit more at that and discover more about moving toward regaining our hearts so we can let go of the endless striving.
23 thoughts on “Patience Required”
I love the title of this post. Because patience is something I desperately need sometimes. And after reading the post I realized what you’re trying to say, that acceptance of who and what we are is the first step. Something I definitely need to think – and pray – about.
Thank you so much for sharing this at The Really Crafty Link Party this week.
Thanks so much, Teresa So glad this blessed you! Have a beautiful weekend! See you Monday at your party!!💕
I think we all get ‘lost’ sometime along the way. Thanks for the confirmation that we don’t have to stay lost!
Yes, we do. The great joy is that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is always coming to find us. He simply loves us that much!💕
Great post Pam…
Thank you for sharing a glimpse into your journey, I am sure there is so much more…
I recently came across the Japanese art of ceramic repair with gold, it is taking the broken & creating a beautiful & useful purpose from that brokenness.
God really spoke to me through this, that I am being healed from all the brokenness… for Him… with the precious gold of His Spirit.
Thanks so much, Jennifer. The journey I am describing began more than 35 years ago and looking back and revisiting all the Lord did has been a time of gratefulness. The work I did in my own counseling led me to return to graduate school to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and leave my career as a special education teacher and enter the professional world of clinical counseling in a Christian private practice for 25 years until my retirement almost 4 years ago. God has indeed been good.
I love this story about Japanese art of ceramic repair with gold. It reminds me of how He gives us beauty for ashes.
Have a blessed day! We are in the midst of a spring snowy day!
You’re welcome Pam,
It is amazing how the Lord leads us into His places for His timing to minister to those who need Godly counsel.
Sending warm blessings to you on your snowy day.
I also love the broken but beautiful, idea. We are all broken in some way, but God makes us beautiful as we become more and more the people God has called us to be. Thank you for sharing your heart, Pam. Blessings to you!
Thanks for your willingness to bare some of your hurt and struggles here, Pam. May you continue to draw closer to Him.
It’s a glorious thing to look backward more than 35 years ago when what I am sharing began. That healing led me to go back to graduate school and leave teaching to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in a Christian private practice. God used every bit of my own journey to allow me to meet others in the midst of their own pain and hurt through 25 years of that career path change.💕
Thank you for sharing your heart here and for sharing these interesting insights into how our interpersonal attachments are formed at a young age and how they effect our relationship with the Lord.
Sure thing, Karen! It can be hard to realize or remember how significant our early attachments are and how they set us up for a certain style of attachment. God will meet us in any one of them, but without a secure attachment with our earliest caregivers it is definitely a longer and harder process.💕
This was great! Thank you so much for still being my inspiration! Be blessed this day!
Thanks, Gayle! I am so blessed that the Lord uses me in your life still!💕
Oddly (or not, given the ways of God), I was thinking about this business of attachment to God just yesterday as I listened to a Sunday morning sermon. There are so many obstacles to a right understanding of God that His intervention in our lives is nothing but miracle.
The Lord has unique ways of connecting the dots😊. It is indeed a miracle when His attachment breaks in and through to us💕
Broken but beautiful. Yes, yes. That’d be our story, Pam.
This is a profound and most helpful post. It’s certainly worth a re-read, which I’m off to do right now.
Bless you for your wisdom, friend …
Blessed Monday morning to you, my friend!
Grateful the Lord has used this to bless you today. There will be 2 more posts in this series (W, F).
Have a beautiful day😊
This is a post I will surely reread and take to heart. Thank you. Barclay
Thanks, Barclays! Prayerfully the Lord will use it in your life.