I’ve recently learned that up until the age of six months babies believe they are an extension of their mother or main caregiver. They don’t know where their mother stops and where they start. They are shocked to find out about their little hands and feet, and when they do they still rely on yours.
Not only that but their hearts are connected. They are joyous together. They are hurt together. The child senses your anxiety and your joy. They lack a sense of self and see their wins and losses through the eyes of their caregiver. Babies are aware only of their basic needs and this article shares that one of the first ways that babies express themselves as separate is by crying to attract your attention.
Between months four and seven is when we see separation anxiety begin to occur. They lack the concept of object permanence which is what makes peek-a-boo a terrifying yet exciting game for them. When they can’t see or feel their mother near they are unaware if she will return. This heartbreaking step in the development of a child is the first sign we see that confirms they are developing a sense of themselves. A taste of independence. The first glimpse at not needing mom for every instance.
For new moms between that four and seven month mark, this feels exciting, you can go shower independently and know your baby is happy playing alone. But there is a piece of you that hurts. You marvel at their achievements but long for those hours of them being in your arms. For me it’s even been grieving the days my daughter was safe in my womb, which was a time that I admittedly didn’t love, but I long for it again as I see her finding her own footing in our world.
I’m left to wonder. Will she continue to stay connected to me? How will our hearts and love for each other shift? I know I will be proud to see her grow but I will miss these days where she couldn’t tell where I ended and she began.
As I stand on this precipice of childhood independence, with my newfound knowledge of it, I look directly onto the Lord's face. His face that often can seem so distant and unfamiliar, and I wonder, does He feel the same for me as I feel for my child?
Truth is He feels it even more.
One of my favorite scriptures is Ephesians 2:10, it shares, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
He created us, knit us in our mothers wombs, then watched us gain our independence as we chose free will on this earth. As someone who has been riddled with anxiety and depression I think of my knowledge in child development. When the child develops their own sense of self is when separation anxiety occurs.
I have to ask, does our desire for free will and control, exactly what separates us from Christ, cause the anxiety that makes us need to call him back. Are we placing our hands in front of our faces playing a spiritual game of peek-a-boo?
My child will cry and call out for me when she needs something, why aren’t we exercising the same need with Christ? My baby monitor is on and I respond to her as soon as I can, with an answer to what she needs. God has provided us with prayer and the Holy Spirit for the same purpose.
I refuse to let separation be the cause of anxiety. Let’s long to not fall into the trap of object permanence with God, but have the childlike faith in knowing that we are one with Him.
In reflection, I want to live with Jesus as my daughter has lived with me over the last six months. I don’t want to see the end of God and the beginning of me, but instead, I desire to see myself as an extension of Him.
Are you willing to challenge yourself to do the same?
Hey friend, my prayer is that today's post is calling you to action. That it leaves you with a desire to know God differently and release your anxiety. You may be at the bottom, feeling lonely and broken down. It may be time for a breakthrough.
I want to personally invite you to join us March 10th-12th at the Fearless Breakthrough Retreat. Spend 3 days with our team in beautiful Branson as we share with you how to stop wasting time living in fear, and instead live in freedom. Apply for the retreat here.