Attachments are an interesting study.
A few years ago, smart phones were just a concept.
Now we can’t live without them.
Who would have imagined how quickly we would become attached to a small handheld device?
It would be strange to walk into a house that didn’t have a refrigerator, but thousands of years of history would tell us that it’s possible.
But, could you imagine a modern house without a refrigerator?
People who study attachments will tell us that when we are born, we become attached to our mothers because they provide us food. That food stimulates pleasure sensors in our brain that facilitate attachment to the person who is feeding us.
That is a healthy attachment.
But not all attachments are healthy.
Some attachments are born of necessity.
Some are reactions to negative circumstances or coping mechanisms.
Alchoholism, drug and food addictions are usually the result of a desire to cope with a negative circumstance in an individual’s life.
Some attachments are simply the product of familiarity. If your parents had a habit of keeping the TV on all day, more than likely you will do the same thing. The feeling of walking into a quiet house will seem strange so you will fill the house with noise because just to make it feel familiar.
That familiar feeling can bleed into our spiritual experiences.
Sometimes what we consider to be “the way things are done” are simply things that are the most familiar form to us. We become attached to certain expressions because of how it feels, not because of it’s actual value or ability to give us connection to a spiritual reality.
If you ever get the chance to spend some time in other cultures, you will quickly realize that some of the peculiar religious expressions that we hold dear are not valued by other cultures.
If we are not careful, we can try to impose our cultural expressions on those people thinking that we are offering them a higher spiritual expression. Our desire to help can become damaging because it is not based on actual truth but on our attachment to a certain religious expression or dogmatic way of thinking.
Our attachment to a certain way of doing things can also bleed into our work lives.
Spiritual things belong at “church” and not in the marketplace.
To be spiritual means singing songs, reading your bible, listening to a preacher or teacher or having a quiet time.
We begin to accept that spiritual things do not belong at work except for the rare occasion that we pray for a sick co-worker.
It’s understandable that we think this way.
It’s used to be very rare to hear a preacher tell the congregation that more spiritual activity should happen outside the church than in it. More often than not, they want you to bring people to them to experience spiritual things. This has been changing over the years, but we still have a ways to go.
Not every attachment is negative however.
There are attachments in our lives that are positive.
My attachment to my wife and children is positive.
I have an attachment to particular habits that are helpful in maintaining health and peace of mind. Having certain habits in my life actually enable me to live a more meaningful life.
I do, however, need to spend time periodically reassessing what attachments I have to ensure I have the quality of life I want. If I don’t, I will pick up habits and attachments that will become a life sucker to me. A higher quality of life is not an accident, it is the result of intentionally pursuing life-giving things.
Does your church experience give you life or drain it out of you? Do your friends give you life or suck you dry? Does your relaxation inspire you with hope or drain your capacity because your idea of relaxation is numbing your senses?
You are invited into life, not entitled to life.
What are you going to do with that invitation?
Take time this week to write down the things that are attachments and habits in your life that are both positive and negative. Make some changes and put things in place to enable you to get free of the negative attachments so you can live more free. For example, I deleted all the social media applications from my phone so that I was more intentional with my time. I still had access to them online, though. All I did was put a barrier in my life that made it more difficult for me to access them. Sometimes that barrier is all you need to break some habits like absentmindedly checking social media when you are bored.
What are some attachments or habits that you need to change this week? Do you have attachments and habits that create life or suck the life from you?
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