In church on Sunday, there was a sudden change of preachers in between services. Babies don't take church schedules into account, you know. Sermon notes were passed on and church went on. Now, I don't know if you eve do things like this, but in my ridiculously active imagination, I started to wonder what I would do if someone had handed me the notes and told me I was up. This was a really fantastic misuse of imagination because the odds of this happening were at, oh, about 0. Still, there my brain was, pondering different ideas.
The topic was when Jesus teaches his disciples the Lord's Prayer in Luke 11. As I read the part after the actual prayer, it was incredibly similar to Luke 18 where Jesus tells the parable of the persistent widow. As I wrote about in a previous post, the point is not that we have to badger God, but that God desires to give us good things and we should not lose heart. It is the same message that Jesus gives at an earlier point. God is our father who loves us and knows what is good for us and desires to do good things for us. Why, I wondered, did Jesus need to repeat himself so blatantly.
As I was thinking, the radical idea of God being our father, our adoptive father, flitted through my head. Adoption... children... parents... the need to repeat oneself... the need to reassure that God, the father, wants good things for His children... and it came to me. It's because we all are suffering from Radical Attachment Disorder (RAD) of a spiritual nature with our spiritual parent.
While I know that there is so much more to the Lord's prayer than what I'm going to share, as a parent who loves a child on the RAD spectrum, it is a fascinating way to look at it. Let me explain.
Children who are suffering from attachment disorders are scared, hurt little beings. They have been hurt and are afraid to allow themselves to love again... or perhaps have never experienced love and have no idea what it looks like. They have only themselves to rely on and actively push away overtures of love. I am utterly convinced that we need to see adoption in real life... in our churches and in our communities... because it has something powerful to teach us about God's adoption of His children. Unless you have experienced (or have supported someone who has experienced) adoption, you have know idea of the depth of love it takes. We love our adopted children imperfectly, but God does it perfectly.
The Lord's Prayer from Luke 11:
Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.
- God wants us to call Him Father, to acknowledge the relationship. This isn't always easy to do. God also wants us to acknowledge who is in charge. It's not us, as much as we try to make it so. Children who are having difficulty attaching to their parents do not often want to acknowledge their parents' place of relationship and authority in their lives, yet this is the first step in the dance of attachment.
Give us each day our daily bread.
- Anyone who has spent any time at all in therapeutic parenting circles knows that food is huge. Learning that the parent controls the food and that the parent will always feed the child can go a long, long way towards that child's healing. It's hard because the child must learn to depend on the parent for a basic need. We need to learn to rely on God for our basic needs as well. You can all just raise your hands along with me if this is a struggle.
And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
- There is a lot of hurt that can happen both before and during the process of attachment. Having to learn to both forgive my son and ask for his forgiveness is an ongoing, humbling process as our relationship heals and grows. Fear does not bring out the best in people. In my relationship with God, I am often dismayed to find that my reactions to Him look an awful lot like the actions that so cause me to lose hope with my son. I want things my own way and am angry when they don't happen. I am scared that maybe God doesn't love me. I make demands of God. I ignore God. I sometimes run away from God. Yet, God still loves me with His perfect love, even though there is much in me to forgive. And I need to learn to forgive those same things in others. It is a steep learning curve.
And lead us not into temptation.
- One of the biggest jobs I have in parenting my son is looking out that I do not put him in situations where he is going to fail. He does not always have the capabilities of making good choices and until that time comes, it is my job to protect him as much as possible. God wants us to allow Him to provide that sort of protection for us. Of course, there are times when my son doesn't listen to me or goes out of his way to put himself in not great situations despite my best efforts. We do the same with God. There is that voice inside us telling us we shouldn't really do something or expose ourselves to something and we shut it down.
To get closer to God means that we have to want to get closer to God. We have to be willing to enter into that relationship. We have to battle the sin nature in us that says God doesn't love us, He doesn't want the best for us, or perhaps that He isn't even really there. Just like an attachment challenged child, we need to practice. We need to spend time with our Heavenly Father, to acknowledge His authority, to admit He loves us. We have to let go of the control we think we have over our own lives. We need to let ourselves attach to God.