Study Guide: Barriers to Love

Sunday October 27, 2019 | Kevin Callaghan, Shawna Boren

Brief Summary:

In this sermon, Shawna sits down with Kevin as he explains, more in depth, Attachment Theory: How we experience love, and our relationships with God and others, through a pattern of attachment developed in us as a child. Understanding this can help us see both our natural tendencies in relationships, as well as areas in which we need to experience God’s healing.

Extended Summary:

In this conversational sermon between Shawna Boren and Kevin Callaghan, we find an overview of 4D love: About the invitation to love God, self, others and creation. About how this love is an overflow of God’s triune love in our lives, so that God’s love flows out to others, and to the entire world. However, it is not enough to just say that we are called to love; it is helpful to explore how this love works, and this is done through the lens of what psychologists call Attachment Theory.

Attachment Theory is a psychological model that helps us understand how we connect and relate to one another, and therefore how we experience love. This can help us understand how we receive and give love to both God and others. Basically, it helps us to identify how we were loved by parental and/or authority figures at an early age. There are three basic ways that people connect to others as a result of the influence of this parental figure. The first is called Secure Attachment, which means that such people relate to others in trusting, loving relationships where they experience emotional support and protection.

The second is called Anxious Attachment, a way of relating by those who experience some form of anxiety when they are experiencing conflict with another person, which drives them to try and fix the situation. Then, those who tend to practice the third, Avoidant Attachment, refrain from getting close to others. Whatever pattern of attachment one practices, the roots of it were formed as a child.

We all naturally tend toward one of these patterns, and through understanding our natural way of relating, we can better understand how we relate to God, ourselves and others. The goal is to experience love as C.A.R.E., that is, Commitment, Attentiveness, Responsiveness, Empowerment. By seeing our natural tendency to give and receive love, we can better understand how we relate to God, self, others, and creation in C.A.R.E. In other words, our style can help us see and comprehend our heart wounds that influence how we receive and give love.

Heart wounds are where we experience disconnection and brokenness, where we have not experienced the kind of love that we need, one that is the kind of love we were designed to live in. When we are not given the love that we need, this results in pain, causing us to be anxious for relating to others, or to live with a void, as one avoids others.

The good news is that we do not have to remain stuck in the relationship pattern. God can open doors in our hearts to truly receive and know his love. We can know C.A.R.E, and then this C.A.R.E can flow out of our lives toward others.

Reflection Questions: