Separation Anxiety

Kelley Mathews's picture

My little corner of the world daily risks being overtaken by aliens. Four little aliens constantly invade my personal space, covering it with their paper airplanes, diapers (dirty and clean), homework project scraps, food dribbles and droppings, abandoned Legos, Little People toys, and clothing (dirty and clean). They, and their stuff, will not leave me in peace. Their very existence demands my attention, my time, my energy. The fact that they are MY little aliens—created in me, by me, (and, yes, for me, to a certain extent—I know, the analogy breaks down here, but just hang with me)—their identity as my own creations demands my love.

And to a more perfect degree than my limited word picture here can describe, so it is with me and God my Father. I’m his little alien, daily making a mess of his world, needing his attention, his help, his intervention, his ability to redeem and order my chaos. Yet in Him I live and move and have my being. Because he made me, he loves me. I can’t do much without that unconditional acceptance—it’s what drives me into each moment with hope and peace.

But sometimes, because I’ve learned to do things on my own, I forget how much I need him. I start thinking I’m in charge, that I don’t need help. And that’s when lessons from motherhood need to kick in.

Case in point: my infant is a seven-month-old sleeping, eating, teething, laughing, grinning, eating, pooping, wiggling machine. He is doubtless the cutest kid in the church nursery this fall. And I am the focal point of his life right now. Why? Because I breastfeed him! I’ve got the goods and he knows it. So he cherishes me like none other.

To be serious, he truly does depend on me for nourishment, care, affection, cleanliness, comfort, and pretty much every need he has right now. There are times when no one’s arms but mine will calm his crying. Separation anxiety is becoming a real factor right now. But when he’s finally back snuggled up close to me, he rests.

Spiritually speaking, I wish I suffered from a perennial case of separation anxiety. I don’t want to rely on anyone else to meet my deepest needs. I pray that I will always remember my babies’ need for me at this most basic level, so that I’ll be reminded that I need my Father just as desperately. I really can’t provide for myself, order my chaos, protect my life, succeed on my own. I have to rest in Him.

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in hm, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

Where are you resting?

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