Country Lights Uganda Blog
By Krispin Mayfield
Healthy families have rules for living together, but those rules are not the basis of belonging. My family has our basic ground rules on the fridge, the “Ten Commandments of the Mayfield house,” you could say. Within this set of rules are consequences like time-outs and losing privileges, as well as ways to make amends. They are an important part of teaching my kids—and reminding myself—how to respect and love others, how to repair when we’ve wronged someone else, and how to have appropriate boundaries within relationships. In our family, we use kind words, and we don’t use our bodies to hurt others. When we’ve hurt someone else, we apologize and try to make it as right as possible.
But these rules have nothing to do with belonging. I’m not going to kick my kids out of the house if they don’t follow the rules. The rules exist for my kids to learn how to engage in healthy relationships, and so that each person will be valued and respected. My wife and I try to teach them that secure relationships are based in the felt safety of knowing there may be ups and downs, even times of distance, but the relationship itself is never in jeopardy.
As they learn that belonging and connection don’t hinge on following the rules, they will relax into a relationship with me and my wife that gives them security. They won’t feel like they have to walk on eggshells, because there’s room for mistakes in our secure relationship. We hope they will feel loved, knowing they are accepted, especially when they’re far from perfect. It doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences, but their relationship with us is never in danger.
The “family rules” approach mirrors how God has approached people throughout the span of Scripture. Jesus, grieved by Jerusalem’s murderous response to prophet after prophet who called them to better behavior, still longed to gather them “together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.” In letters the apostle Paul wrote to the early churches, he regularly begins by affirming their status as members of the family, referring to them as brothers and sisters, children of God, and sometimes even “as my beloved children” before talking to them about their behavior. And God states that the Mosaic law was given for Israel’s own good, not to determine who was considered in and who was out.
Unfortunately, many of us have not been given a picture of a Divine Parent whose relationship does not sway based on our behavior. Even certain passages of Scripture seem to show us a picture of a wrathful, jealous God who threatens destruction to Israel and the surrounding nations. And yet a careful reading of the story shows that even when God’s wrath flares, it is accompanied by promises of healing and restoration. God delivers Israel into exile yet responds to their needs and cares for them throughout the process.
God even shows this pattern of enduring connection to foreign nations. In Isaiah 19, God first promises to bring wrath upon Egypt, proclaiming, “They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the LORD Almighty raises against them.” But later, in the same chapter, God responds to Egypt’s cries and heals them, and they will be considered a blessing to the earth, alongside Israel and Assyria. God declares, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.”
When you’re given a picture of a wrathful God that is absent of the healing resolution as seen in passages like Isaiah 19, it’s further evidence that you can’t relax with God. Unfortunately, sometimes even Jesus’s death—a picture of God’s mercy and grace—can become a subtle reminder of a perfectionist God who is just waiting to punish you. And it’s hard to rest in the arms of a God like that. It never allows you to experience a safety that is deeper than how we act. When you have this picture of God, you have to cling, fretting about your closeness.
I have worked with many clients who grew up in homes where near-impossible standards were held over their heads. These standards sprout from a variety of circumstances: some parents want their children to survive in a dog-eat-dog world. Other parents can’t bear the shame that failure would bring on the family or the shame that wells up when their children don’t measure up. Others don’t even know that their standards are so harsh, simply passing on the legacy they received from their own parents.
And within that group of clients, there form two groups: those who succeed at meeting those standards and those who fail to meet them. But at the end of the day, they all fall in the same category because, whether they succeed or fail, they are still starving for connection. They long to move from anxiety to rest. Meeting a standard is vastly different from living in a relationship where you are loved no matter what.
Approval is not the same as connection.
Taken from Attached to God: A Practical Guide to Deeper Spiritual Experience by Krispin Mayfield. Click here to learn more about this book.
Why does God feel so far away? The reason—and the solution—is in your attachment style.
We all experience moments when God’s love and presence are tangible. But we also experience feeling utterly abandoned by God. Why?
The answer is found when you take a deep look at the other important relationships in your life and understand your attachment style. Through his years working in trauma recovery programs, extensive research into attachment science, and personal experiences with spiritual striving and abuse, licensed therapist Krispin Mayfield has learned to answer the question: Why do I feel so far from God?
When you understand your attachment style you gain a whole new paradigm for a secure and loving relationship with God. You’ll gain insights about:
- How you relate to others—both your strengths and weaknesses
- The practical exercises you can use to grow a secure spiritual attachment to God
- How to move forward on the spirituality spectrum and experience the Divine connection we all were created for
You’ll learn to identify and remove mixed messages about closeness with God that you may have heard in church or from well-meaning Christians. With freedom from the past, you can then chart a new path toward intimate connection with the God of the universe.
Krispin Mayfield, LPC (BS, Bible & Theology; MA, Counseling, Multnomah University) has a background in full-time ministry and is now in private practice with individuals and couples as a licensed professional counselor with the state of Oregon, where he and his wife D.L. live with their two children. He previously served in Minneapolis with Christian organization Inner-CHANGE and has regularly partnered with churches to help create safe and healing communities.
Trained in attachment-based emotionally focused therapy, Krispin has served for over ten years in church trauma-recovery programs. In his writing, podcasting, and speaking, Mayfield explores the integration of faith and psychology, inviting readers and listeners into the safety and freedom of finding the whole of their lives seen and upheld by God. His writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including Christianity Today, Relevant, Aletia, Boundless, and Fathom.
The post Why You Belong No Matter What appeared first on Bible Gateway Blog.
As reported on Christian News Uganda - Access the Original News Source Here.