How Attachment Causes Grief

What is your happiness attached to?

An attachment can be anything outside of us and God that we believe will bring us joy or happiness. Media and advertising build the illusion of attachment by promoting the belief that if you just had this product, that person, looked this way, or lived with these circumstances, you would be worry-free and happy. If we believe these messages we continue on a long goose chase to find the proverbial fountain of utopia.

Jesus calls attachments, the lusts of the flesh. He said in 1 John 2: 15-17, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

Many people suffer from the illusion of attachment: money, children, mates, cars, looks, etc. Many of these are not problematic unless we believe that attaining them is the sole source of our joy, fulfilment, and contentment. Even such seemingly honourable goals as finding your purpose, growing your ministry, finding the right spouse, or pursuing the perfect career can cause suffering if we believe that our joy is a by-product of reaching or obtaining them. With this reasoning, if you lack an attachment or desire, you cannot be happy. For example, you may believe that until you marry (situation), buy a new home (product), or have a child (person), you can’t possibly be fulfilled and happy.

But instead of pursuing products, situations, or people for your joy, peace, and fulfilment, God wants you to seek him. He said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” The more you begin to seek God for your happiness, objects of your desire will lose their power over you. Instead of holding on to them with dear life, you can learn to enjoy the momentary pleasures that they bring, and see them as a blessing from God that comes from trusting and loving him.

Many people believe their life should always be filled with fun, excitement, and adventure and when it is not, they think perhaps God is mad at them or they are doing something wrong. Such people who live for good moments are usually plagued with lots of anxiety and frustration. If things aren’t happening fast enough for them, they are going to help God out by making something happen. This generally leads to lots of drama without which they don’t feel alive. These types usually have many attachments that they strive to seek happiness from.

Many pastors preach messages about “waiting on the Lord” as if we are always in a constant state of want and discontentment. We are waiting for so many things instead of learning to just embrace and enjoy where we are right now. Even if you never received anything else from God, I’m sure you can find many things to be thankful for. I believe that all of this “wanting” and “waiting” undermines our joy, peace, and happiness. 1 Timothy 6:6-11 declares, “but godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

Yes, I do believe God wants us to have joy, but that joy that comes from a deep, abiding, and rewarding relationship with him. This joy is cultivated when we continually seek God with our whole heart, mind, and strength and from experiencing his divine presence. There is a balancing act in which we must ensure that our attachments never become a replacement for what only God can give us. For many believers, this may require a shift in our thinking and perspective. We must recognize that as soon as we begin to believe the source of our joy is something we can attain or maintain from sources other than God, we’ve crossed the line into illusion.

This is one reason why I believe so many people have relationship issues. Many couples have been led to believe that their partner should make them happy instead of taking on the responsibility to find happiness for themselves. Our partners can bring us moments of happiness but it often leaves as quickly as it comes. That is why God wants us to live fully grounded in him and in the present moment. He said, “Do not worry about tomorrow take no thought for your life but seek ye first the kingdom of God.” He knew that if we got wrapped up in seeking the creation instead of the creator, we’d never find that “abundant life” that dwells on the inside of us and not the outside.

The only thing that is truly a constant in our life is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He will never leave us or forsake us. God may not always provide us what we think we need, but if we trust him and his word, we know that all things are working together for our highest good, even in the midst of our pain.

We must get away from the notion of instant fixes. Rarely does God deliver us from everything that we are facing. I believe God does this for a reason. He wants us to return to the well, his living water, again and again. Sometimes we think that if our prayers aren’t answered immediately that God isn’t working on our behalf but we must persevere in our faith in God and don’t give up just because we still have pain, anxiety, or depression. We have become a society that wants to give up too soon, but we must keep praying. We should also ask God to open your eyes to the blessings in our lives right now that we can be thankful for.

Something supernatural happens when we begin to spend time with God.  He reaches into our hearts and removes the longings and attachments that we’ve held onto, and refills this place with His immeasurable peace and joy. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 admonishes us to, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” It is possible to be so filled with God’s love and spirit that we are insulated from the turmoil around us, as well as our perceived lack and shortcomings. Romans 14:17 declares, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink (attachments); but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

Every day, learn to get victory over your obsessive attachments by constantly taking inventory of your thoughts and emotions; then purpose to release them to the Lord and find your joy in fellowship with Him instead.