Friendship without Fear

I heard this question asked recently.   “Do you maintain deep affections without the fear of abandonment?”  The question caught me completely off guard and I stumbled a bit as I attempted to conjure up an answer.   My first reaction was to slough it off, of course I don’t fear abandonment.  I was afraid of touching that word and what it meant, afraid that the process of working through it would devour me.   To this day I am not quite sure what nudged me into the dark corners of my soul to seek truth but I am so glad I did.
The truth is, I do hold back in my relationships because I do fear abandonment.  In my mind I can picture that I am standing by a vast body of water, the sun is sparkling and the waves are gently lapping around my ankles as my toes find purchase in the soft and loamy sand.  I put my hand over my eyes to shade the brightness of the sun and in the distance I can see my friends, my family, my loved ones.  They are neck deep in the water and they are playing, splashing, laughing and basking in the sun and the company that comes with relationship.   I am afraid to move past the shoreline.  What if I fall?  What if I fail?  What if I make it neck deep and I am not  acknowledged or loved?  What if my head goes under the water and there is no one there to save me?
I would like to think that I have developed a sense of security and self-awareness that allows me to be confident in the fact that others accept me as I am.  This inability to move beyond the shallow waters is an example of how I let my past dictate my future – an example where old circumstances and old unhealthy relationships creep back into my existence. 
The concept of maintaining deep affections without the fear of abandonment is a reminder that my first priority is to be motivated by developing affection and nothing more.  In this way the flexibility of friendships, relationships and companionship will undoubtedly exist because God has ordained it and not from any selfish or self-depreciating interference from me.
Jesus came to mind almost immediately when I heard this question.  In His short time in ministry of 3 ½ years, Jesus was not afraid to engage in deep and lasting relationships.  His disciples, his mother Mary, Mary Magdalene and those whom He considered His closest followers had the distinct advantage of knowing Jesus in His darkest, most depressing hours.  Some would abandon Him, one would betray Him, and after His resurrection they would not recognize Him.  Yet, despite this abandonment He still sought them out before His ascension to ensure they understood the impact of their time together.  And that He was connected to them, all of them, with a deep and binding affection.
My prayer is that I will engage in my relationships without fear of abandonment and that God will grant me opportunities to demonstrate His desire for the same while in relationship with me.  
There is a different picture in my mind now.   One where I am making my way through the water and with each and every step my confidence is bolstered and my insecurities are drowning. As I approach my friends and loved ones I take one last glance at the disappearing shore line.  I see  God with His head thrown back. He is laughing, shouting and jumping up and down with abject excitement because… I have finally relinquished my fear.

2 Comments

  1. Great post on abandonment, which is a topic I’m very passionate about. Mine stemmed from not knowing in my heart that God would never leave me. When I started to figure out who I was in Him, the pressure was off on the earthly relationships. I easily default to the fear of abandonment, but then I must turn back to worshiping the one who will never leave.

    • Thanks Audra – My journey to trusting and resting in the shadow of God’s grace has been full of mystery and wonder – and I love that He has been with me every step of the way!

Leave a Reply