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Attachments 21

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Attachments 21

(This is the last message on this topic right now.  We won’t be able to get that last message in, until after the Anniversary celebration, but it has been a great series—in my estimation.  Last time, we were working on the “The Corrective Emotional And Relational Experience.”  We had covered the first two steps of this process:  Step One:  Remember Your Story, and Step Two:  Recognize Your Pain and the Need for Healing.  We move on to the next step.  You can follow along with me on page 266, in your Attachments book.)

Step Three:  Reframe the Meaning of Your Story

“Attachment injuries trigger intense, painful emotions.  And in previous chapters, we’ve described how people deal with this pain by burying it.  As a result, these emotions and the beliefs they foster about self and others are frozen, mummified.  We become locked into negative, rigid views of how relationships work and how we should behave…

       The object of reframing your story is to see yourself, and your past, in a different light.  Where before you generally saw just your weakness and frailties, now you’re able to se your strengths as well, along with your tenacity, your will to survive, and your desire to thrive.  More importantly, if you look, you’ll begin to see how God has worked in your pain to woo you closer to Himself and to bring healing memories throughout your journey.  He works in every nook and cranny of our lives to win our hearts, to show us how safe we are with Him.”[1]

       As we heal, we can see ourselves more accurately and trust ourselves more fully to God and other trustworthy people!!!

       So, “As you tell your story, ask yourself questions.  For instance,

·        How did I react to the pain of my past?

·        Did my reactions to it work at that time?

·        Did my way of dealing with it back then get me through?

·        How has what I’ve gone through made me a different person, perhaps, even a stronger, wiser person?

·        How has God revealed Himself to me during the times of turmoil?

·        Did I turn away from Him?  If so, why?

·        What kept me from running back to Him, or turning to Him in the first place?

·        Is God calling me now?  Or, a better question, How is God calling me now?

·        Do I still want to turn away?  Or do I want to change my life?

·        Is my fear a sign of weakness or an element of self-preservation?

       These questions and others like them set the stage for change.  They help us see that our present situation is largely a reaction to fear and hurt.  And while what we used as a strategy worked then, we need to admit openly that it doesn’t work now….”[2]  Therefore, we have to realize:  “If we always do what we always did, we’ll always get what we always got!!!”  We must allow the full emotional impact of our pain in relationships to cause us to deeply think about our stories.

       “Reframing lets us see the healthy strivings that lie just beneath the surface of our unsuccessful behaviors….

       Some might say that reframing your life’s story is just an exercise in denial via positive thinking.  There certainly is positive thinking involved (finally!), but there’s no denial.  Instead, effective reframing only begins once you’ve broken through the denial.  It looks past the pain and leads you to understand how you’ve matured and what you’ve gained through your experience.

       Remember Joseph of the Old Testament and how he classically reframed the abuse he had suffered at the hands of his brothers?  Many years later he looked his brothers in the eyes and told them, ‘You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good’ (Genesis 50:20 nkjv).  You may not be able to say anything positive about harmful incident(s) in your past, but you need to identify the gains you’ver experienced because of having gone through that painful life-passage.”[3]

       Remember we what talked about last time:  “There is purpose in pain!!!”

Step Four:  Repair Your Story—and Your Damaged Relationships and Emotions

“Now comes the longest and most involved of the five steps.  To repair means to restore by putting together or fixing something that’s been broken or torn….

       A broken story is one that doesn’t work.  Insecure attachment styles are broken stories.  They may have worked in the past, as you might have discovered in reframing part of the healing process.  But now, your story only creates more pain—over and over again.

·        Understand and halt the vicious cycles.  You’ve heard of the saying:  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.  It’s good advice, or course, but what happens if what you ‘try, try again’ keeps making matters worse?  Well, then you first up a different saying:  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and wishing for a different result.

Okay we’re not going to call a broken story insanity, but we are going to call it the perfect definition of the vicious cycle and the madness it provokes.”[4]

This reminds me of another saying that we need to change.  You have heard the saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”?  Well, the new saying is, “Fix it before it breaks!”

       “…our attachment styles are designed to protect us from pain in our youth.  But when these styles are played out in our adult relationships they can cause more pain, unnecessary pain.  The pain process involves breaking these vicious cycles.  You begin by identifying the elements of your story that are broken.

For example, if you have an avoidant attachment style, your relationship story’s vicious cycle probably goes something like this:

(1)    You believe others are basically inept at meeting your emotional needs.

(2)    You believe you can take care of yourself, that you really don’t need anyone else, especially to provide comfort and support during times of distress.

(3)    You deny your feelings of vulnerability and your longing for connection.

(4)    Your philosophy is ‘suck it up, quit whining, and pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.’

Sure, this formula has worked for you in the past, but now it’s wearking thin.  The broken part is that your loved ones are angry with you.  They complain that you are uninvolved and consumed with work.  The more they complain, the more pain you feel—pain you deny.  You deny your longing for their support and feel angry and resentful when criticized.  Instead, you say to yourself, ‘That just proves I can’t rely on people to be there for me’  So, you pull away more and more to retreat into fantasy, work, success, or possessions—your addictions.  This brings you back full circle.  And the broken story becomes a vicious cycle, a self-defeating pattern of behavior.”[5]

       “Breaking this vicious cycle involves two important steps:  revising relationship rules and replacing defensive behavior with courageous loving.

·        Revising relationship rules.  As we explained earlier, relationship rules are core beliefs about ourselves and others.  Although these beliefs aren’t always fully conscious, they have powerful influence over our behavior.”[6]

“Change is what we call an iterative process:  two steps forward, one step back.  And it winds through the garden of our lives for the full extent of them.  And as we change, we transfer much of how we build and maintain relationships from the emotional sphere to the intellectual.  This isn’t a quick, direct jog from point A to point B.  It’s a real, tedious, and often times painful journey.”[7]  This is why some people choose to never go on this journey and others give up at all points along the way!!!

We studied core beliefs and how they are developed in the series “Close Encounters Of The God Kind.”

(The second step is to:)

·        Replace defensive behavior with courageous behavior.  Genuine, godly love is not for the faint of heart.  It requires courage; vulnerability always does.  In fact, it was your vulnerability, those many years ago, that got you hurt in the first place.  And that’s why you may have developed an insecure attachment style way back then—for defense, to minimize your vulnerability.  So that the ones you loved and who claimed to love you wouldn’t hurt you again.

By now you’ve learned about attachment patterns and behaviors, our hope for you is that if, in the past, you saw relationships as nonessential parts of your life or as just too risky to get involved in, that now you’ve changed and you realize that healthy relationships are not only crucial to a happy, vital existence but that they are possible for you.  And if you believe this, then you probably want to change the way you relate, right?  This change requires courageous loving, a change in those defensive behaviors, perhaps even doing away with them altogether.  It requires that you become vulnerable again and risk being rejected, criticized, and used.  We don’t mean that you lie down and become a doormat, but that you learn to love honestly and boldly…  (I am going after life, love, and relationship with all that I have!!!)

Vulnerability breeds vulnerability as trust breeds trust.”[8]

Homework:    Attachments (pages 276-281).

I believe that God has been giving us specific words on Wednesday nights, and I have another for you tonight.  The fresh word comes from Proverbs 3:5-6.  God is saying to us He is trustworthy.  He says,

“Trust in me with all of your heart and do not lean on or depend upon your own understanding alone.  Seek my will in all that you do, even in your relationships, and I will direct your paths!!!”

(Now is the Day of Salvation!  Come to Jesus, Now!)


Call to Discipleship

I want to make a statement concerning “The Passion Of Christ!”  Any antisemitic sentiment that some may react with is wholly out of place and disgraceful.

“The Passion Of Christ” is a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness to America concerning the one who died for our sins.

As I move into my season, I will become more of a target for Satan and those who are jealous of those who are blessed, used by God, or experience some measure of significance.  Who will stand with me and believe that I will live the best possible life that I can live?


[1] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 267-268.

[2] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 268.

[3] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 268-269.

[4] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 269.

[5] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 270-271.

[6] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 273.

[7] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 273-274.

[8] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 274.

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