I was recently invited to join a new bible study called Idol Addiction. It worked with my schedule and was pleasantly lining up with a message series that my church was doing, so I accepted, although I wasn’t sure exactly what it was going to be about. I know that even though most of us aren’t worshiping a golden calf, we do have things that we put before God, and I was intrigued to see what I’d learn about myself. I began to worry in advance about what unhealthy habits I would uncover. Did I idolize food? Social media? Work? What?? I wasn’t exactly looking forward to finding out, to be honest, because once I found out, I’d need to work on fixing that. Gulp.
I had to miss the first week of the study, but my friend brought me the DVD to watch at home, and here is what I learned about idols and addiction. Idols are something that you strive for and feel most secure when it’s in place. Like image….wanting to portray yourself in a certain light. Maybe a happy, well-adjusted, picture perfect (on the outside) family or marriage is an idol. Aspiring to a certain level of financial security or possessions. None of these things are wrong, but they become problematic if you can’t feel secure without them.
So now that the idol part is addressed, what about addiction? (and I haven’t forgotten the attachment part, we’ll get there in a minute) Well basically, we start with a desire. Let’s use financial security as an example, because I think we can all relate to that. Who doesn’t want financial security? We have this desire, and we don’t take it to God, for whatever reason. Maybe we think that’s a silly thing to pray about. Maybe we just don’t believe that this is a part of our life that He cares about. So we go about trying to attain this ourselves. Through whatever means necessary. That could be scrambling for more work. Juggling your money like crazy. Maybe even gambling. This part is your addiction. Working more or harder is not the problem. The problem is that you didn’t take it to God first. That you have this disbelief in your heart and you are trying to fix it yourself without stepping back for a minute to see what He thinks about all of this.
Now some adoptive parents in the room might be having the A-HA moment that I had. Because here’s a little primer on attachment. When you adopt a child, it is very likely that the child has had multiple caregivers through their life, whether through foster care or orphanages. “Mommy” and “Daddy” are words that likely don’t mean anything to this child, because they’ve learned to take what they can get from whoever will give it. In some cases, the caregivers are not reliable so the child learns not to trust adults at all. In some cases, the child learns only to trust themselves. If the adults have proven useless thus far, the child may believe he or she must survive using their own wits. So when an adoption takes place, adoptive parents are encouraged to foster attachment with these children. To teach them that I am Mommy. He is Daddy. And to show them what that means. That means that we are responsible for feeding you. You will always be safe with us. If you need food, come to us, and we will always be here for you. If you get hurt, we take care of you. Adoptive parents, above all must prove to their children that they are reliable. For this reason, new adoptive families are encouraged to keep their world very small, to cocoon with their children for awhile to help these attachments to take place.
For us, personally, even years after the actual adoption, we have to revisit these issues. When a large family gathering is taking place, I reach out to my family and remind them. If my son comes to you for food, with questions, asking permission for something, please send him back to me or to his dad. Remind him that we are here to meet his needs. Sometimes I have to remove my son from a large, hectic situation. I take him aside or go with him up to his room and make his world very small again. I remind him that I am here and that I can give him what he needs. But he needs to come to me. I am mommy.
So as I watched this video, I realized: I am a Christian with an attachment disorder. I am not counting on God to meet all of my needs. I am not trusting that He is capable or reliable. So I go out and try to take care of these things on my own, through whatever means necessary. Many times I don’t even run any of this by Him. And as I scramble, He has to make my world smaller and smaller, until I realize, “OH. I see. You’re the solution. I was supposed to be coming to you first all along”.
So I’m only 2 weeks into the study, but my takeaway so far is this:
How small is God going to have to make my world before I trust that He is the one who meets my needs?