Day Eight: Praise Challenge


We were made for relationship.  We were born with the built-in intentions of attaching deeply to another person.  This is true in our physical life as well as our spiritual life.  Just as our hearts can only thrive in proportion to the healthy attachment that is nurtured with our first caregiver(s), so our spirit can only thrive in proportion to the healthy attachment that is nurtured with God.

I’ve heard terrible stories about the  suffering of people whose early attachments were not nurtured properly.  For lack of bonding between infant children and their caregiver(s), these individuals – at best – grow up to be terribly insecure, fearful, and unable to really integrate themselves into a full and healthy life, with intimate and healthy relationships.  At worst, they don’t make it past their childhood.  A person can literally die from lack of proper, loving attachment bonds being formed in their early lives.

But the opposite is also true!  With early, healthy attachments, people grow up and into strong, confident, successful lives.  They face challenges with courage, and setbacks with hearts full of hope that does not fail.  They are not limited by fears or failures, because they know who they are, they know they are loved unconditionally, and so they trust that life – no matter what it brings – will only propel them into greater things.  Wouldn’t it be nice to live this way?

Throughout our lives, we become attached to many different things, for many different reasons.  Often this is rooted in the fact that our early attachments were lacking in some way. And because we begin with lack, we unconsciously search for things to hold onto, things that make us feel secure.  These take the shape of people, worldviews, accomplishments, addictions, and rigid, unhealthy beliefs about life and relationships. These become our foundational and motivational springboards.

But these attachments that we form along the way are substitutes for the real thing.  They interrupt what was intended to be our first and main attachment: that with Father God, the One Who made us and has always longed to nurture us into a full and healthy life.

Thankfully, God is not stopped by this interruption.

It is precisely in our suffering and distress that God is ever and always aiming to change the fact of our substitute attachments.  So often, when we face the hard things, we are tempted to blame God – if not for their cause, then at least for the lack of their absence – and thus drift further from Him.  Our attachment with Him becomes less of a reality instead of more of a possibility.

But in the painful and difficult times of our lives, God is opening a secret door to us – one through which, if we enter, we will discover (or rediscover) His great, deep, perfect love for us.  We will become detached from the many unhealthy things we have learned to cling to, and find the space to let God nurture an attachment to Him alone, which was how things were always meant to be.

In our trials, we are not closed off from the things we desire, as much as “God is closing us off to something divine, new, and unexpected,” as my devotional this morning so poignantly put it. (Streams in the Desert).  

I wonder if we could summon the courage to test this truth today, by offering praise in the places that feel like walls closing us off to whatever we had been hoping for?  I wonder if we can look our disappointments in the eye, and challenge the emptiness we see there, by daring to believe what God is telling us:

  • that we are loved beyond measure,
  • that He is in the pain and suffering with us,
  • that – through all of it – He desires to establish (or reestablish) an attachment between our hearts and His that will lead us more fully into the life He has always intended for us?

Our praise challenge for today is this: When pain or difficulty comes your way, detach from your fears, expectations, and false beliefs by looking up, toward the Father Who loves you with an everlasting love.  Then offer whatever praise you are able to, and sit in it for just a moment, allowing it to create a bond between you and God.  Over time, these moments will grow and become an unbreakable attachment!

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