We were made for joyful connection with God. The truest thing about us is that we were created to live in joy-filled communion with God and one another, but we think we can do better. We choose what is right in our own eyes and introduce disorder into the world. That disorder infects the world, and the pain, sorrow, and injustice leads us to question if God really loves us.

In this series, we hope to become aware of what gets in the way of our attachment and deepen our capacity for attachment to God.

Week 1: Attached to God
Our series began by wondering if we might see salvation as “a new and active attachment with God that forms and transforms our identities?” What if we grounded our journey in the reality that we are created for joyful connection, and that God doesn’t just love us, but God likes us and even delights in us.

Kingdom Practice
This week, will you make time each day to sit in the simple but profound truth that the Creator of the universe delights in you? You might make room for the imaginative practice we did Sunday, watching the face of Jesus light up when he sees you. You could spend time reflecting or meditating on Psalm 139:17-18 or Zephaniah 3:17. Or you can spend time with another practice that is helpful for you.

We also invite you to begin considering what might get in the way of joyfully connecting to God. Is it a particular wound? A question you have for God? Or maybe you find it hard to move past your intellect to include your emotions or your body in your expereince of God. Begin to pay attention and notice what God is bringing to mind.

Week 2: Curiosity Over Shame and Fear
In our second week, Val Bond invited us to a simple but profound shift in the way we think about and approach our sin. What if our primary response to sinful behavior wasn’t shame, fear, or an appeal to strengthen our will power? What if we instead approached with curiosity?

Kingdom Practice
This week, would you slow down, pay attention, and become curious abotu your behaviors. Perhaps you will identify some of the parts in your life that flow from your false self, and maybe you’ll return to our practice of resting in your true self. Be gentle with yourself as you do, and if you start to struggle, remember that God loves you. God likes you. God delights in you, and God’s face lights up in your presence.

Week 3: Rupture and Repair with God
In our third week, we reflected on the neuroscience of rupture and repair and how it impacts our capacity for joyful connection with God. Cyd Holsclaw invited us to consider our implicit views of God and how we can engage our bodies as we participate with God in the process of repair.

Kingdom Practice
This week, we want to continue to consider what gets in the way of our connection to God. Let’s ask God to show us the barriers we have to connection, so we can participate with God in the journey of repair.

Week 4: Intimacy and Independence
In our fourth week, Nicole invited us to consider what strategies we have employed seeking protection instead of joyful connection. Have we pushed for intimacy without independence or independence without intimacy? She then asked, what it might look like for us to return to joy.

Kingdom Practices
This week, let’s continue to notice how we tend to respond when joyful connection is ruptured. Do we pursue others, or do we retreat within ourselves? As we consider, let’s remain in the parable of the prodigal son. Nicole guided us in a reflection through this meaningful story. You might return to her reflection, or perhaps you would read the story once or twice each day considering as you do, how the events of the day help you connect to the story.

Week 5: Barrier or Conduit?
In our fifth gathering, Aubrey Reynolds invited us to consider how the barriers to connection we experience, might actually be conduits if we seek to love these wounded parts of ourselves.

Kingdom Practices
This week, I want to invite us to a very specific practice that can help us become aware of our barriers to joyful connection. Aubrey introduced us to the the ‘8 C’s’ of ‘our Spirit-led selves.’ (I am combining multiple people’s work with that phrase.) They are: Compassion, Curiosity, Clarity, Creativity, Calm, Confidence, Courage, and Connectedness. Together, these paint a beautiful picture of life in joyful connection with God. As you consider living in that picture, how might you fill in the blank in this statement? “I cannot live this kind of life because ______.” When you answer, you might need to dig in a little deeper. What wound or pain might be underneath your answer? Perhaps this is a barrier for you. Once you have identified it, I wonder if you might consider reengaging the practice Aubrey led, seeing Jesus interact with the part of you experiencing that barrier.

Week 6: Practices for Deepening Our Capacity for Attachment
In the final week of our series, we considered how we are being invited to move forward. Rather than seeing this series an end, what if we saw it as a launching pad into a deepening capacity for joyful connection? Our hope in this series is that we gain a framework for understanding how our wounds impact us and our relationship with God, and begin to receive some practices that help us to open ourselves to the healing, delight-filled presence of God.

Kingdom Practice
As we said, it is our hope that this series has been a beginning or continuation of our journey deepening our capacity for joyful connection with God. Can we agree to continue exploring whatever wounds God might be bringing to our attention (both in this season and in the future), and engage whatever practices are helpful for our awareness of God’s delight in us? In order to help, we have created a guide for each of the practices from this series. If there is a particular one that was helpful for you, you can return to that practice and be guided in it.

Practice of curiosity led by Val Bond
Embodied practice of centering led by Cyd Holsclaw
Guided meditation on the parable of the prodigal son led by Nicole Howe
Imaginative prayer of encountering Jesus led by Aubrey Reynolds
Practice of stillness led by Eric Conner
Practice of gratitude and memory led by Jason Feffer (adapted from The Other Half of Church)

Additional Resources

Practice of curiosity led by Val Bond
Embodied practice of centering led by Cyd Holsclaw
Guided meditation on the parable of the prodigal son led by Nicole Howe
Imaginative prayer of encountering Jesus led by Aubrey Reynolds
Practice of stillness led by Eric Conner
Practice of gratitude and memory led by Jason Feffer (adapted from The Other Half of Church)
Safe Place Prayer Exercise a teaching and practice from Healing Care Ministries

Renovated by Jim Wilder
Does God Really Like Me? by Cyd and Geoff Holsclaw
The Other Half of Church by Jim Wilder and Michel Hendricks
The Presence of God by J. Ryan Lister
Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen
Surrender to Love by David Benner
With by Skye Jethani
Altogether You by Jenna Riemersma
Immortal Diamond by Richard Rohr
Attached to God by Krispin Mayfield
Boundaries for Your Soul by Alison Cook and Kimberly Miller

Embodied Faith Podcast a podcast with Cyd and Geoff Holsclaw

Be Still by The Fray

If you have a story to share about how you have been encountering God in this season, we would love to hear it

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