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Don’t Be a Stranger

December 5, 2013

One of grandparents greatest fears – a grandchild whom we love unconditionally will develop stranger anxiety. The time has been so long since the last visit, grandpa is now a stranger!

ImageI experienced this over the Thanksgiving holiday. The face I love to make smile suddenly developed a quivering lower lip at the mere sight of me. The last place she wanted to be is in my arms. She clung fearfully to her parents where she felt familiar and safe.

How could I communicate to her that I want nothing more than for her to know how much I love her? Her limited knowledge and experience lead her to conclude I am not a safe person. She would rather keep me at arm’s length. With my limited knowledge and experience, I’m convinced that time and patience are my allies. If I am slow and gentle, I am confident that the anxiety will disappear and I’ll be back on the safe list.

Many of us have a phase of stranger anxiety with our heavenly Father. Whether we have never had a relationship with him or have been away too long, it feels safe where we are and surrendering to Him or getting close to Him creates a sense of fear. We fear he will find a well hidden sin or uncover a character flaw. We conclude that this will result in the pain of guilt and rejection.

However, His goal is not to judge us but to be with us. He wants to communicate nothing more than for us to know His unconditional love. And so He sent Jesus, Emmanuel – God with Us, so we would know the depth of His love. He is patient and He knows that a gentle, but relentless pursuit will result in the discovery of the safest relationship we could ever experience.

How can we overcome stranger anxiety? Trust Him to hold us close whatever may come our way. And never stay away so long we don’t recognize Him.

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