Post by Chuck Frost
What causes us the most anxiety in life is the fear of loss.
We fear losing our loved ones, our job, our money, our stuff, our reputation, or the comfortable routine of life that we have established. We may fear losing something that we’ve become dependent on.
When these become attachments they can bind us and keep us from being truly free and consequently truly happy. This is not to say that it is unreasonable or unwarranted to fear losing what we love, but the key to true happiness is to be detached from our dependence on them. The Church fathers often instructed that anxiety was a problem of attachment. St. John Climacus, who authored one of my favorite spiritual writings, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, says this of attachments: “If you truly love God…then it will not be possible to have an attachment, or anxiety, or concern for money, for possessions, for family relationships, for worldly glory, for love and brotherhood, indeed for anything of earth.“
We become attached to what does not truly fill us. We can become attached to substances like wine, food, drugs. We can become attached to things: toys, gadgets, clothes, cars. We can become attached to ideas: politics, self-love, self-hate, the ideal person, the ideal life, what you think you should be or what the world thinks you should be. We can become attached to gossip, the persistent need to talk about others in an attempt to fill our own emptiness. We can become attached to a person and the notion that we cannot be happy without them. We can become attached to religion or piety – when our religiosity becomes an end in and of itself. Are we religious for reasons other than love of God?
The goal of the Christian life is to become detached from the stuff of earth and to attach ourselves to our Maker who loves us perfectly and who we never have to fear losing. A tall order indeed, but Jesus never said salvation was easy.