So first maybe just a word on the experience of detachment and what that means. It really is going to be different for each person. Each person probably means something a little bit different when they say that they experience detachment. For some it's a numbing out or even a losing touch with their body. For others, it's a difficulty opening up, maybe sharing emotion. And then for others, detachment can simply be the absence of having preferences or knowing what you like. So you can see here it can exist on a spectrum. And so just like the experience of detachment can exist on a spectrum, there's also a multitude of reasons why detachment takes place. For some, it's just more of a personality style that they're up against. Some it's a health condition or a disability. And then for others it's a side effect of medication. But far and away the most common reason detachment is present is that it operates as a bit of a self-protective strategy. And this is usually the result of things like trauma and distress and some insecurity.

So if this is the background of detachment, that it looks different for each person and there's a variety of reasons why detachment exists for somebody, you still are left with a question: Well, what do we do with it? The best place to start there is because detachment almost certainly has a flavor of self-protection, it really means that the best way forward, the universal way forward is by choosing to be vulnerable, choosing vulnerability. So trying on and practicing vulnerability and taking risks is again, probably the best way to address this and go forward. So taking the risk of being present in your body; taking the risk of feeling uncomfortable emotions that could be good or bad, pleasurable or uncomfortable; and also taking the risk of allowing yourself to maybe have hope or to find preferences in life. At the end of the day, with the problem of detachment, vulnerability is going to be its antidote.

Another important thing to recognize is that this arrangement does present a problem or a conundrum. And nicely, this conundrum is actually a perfect setup for why the Scriptures are an essential part of the work of soul care and counseling. So here's the conundrum. How does a person choose vulnerability when they've done everything in their power to not be vulnerable? How do they risk feeling or having preferences or choosing to live fully in their body when it's these very things that have been the vehicle of hurt and disappointment and failure? So how does a person choose between vulnerability and safety? And how do you convince someone to take the step? There needs to be a compelling reason. This person needs to have a compelling reason to go headlong, voluntarily into vulnerability and risk. And this is what Scripture provides. It provides the convincing answer, and we see it presented to us in something like Psalm 121.

“God is a refuge.” He is their refuge in the midst of detachment and having to choose to give up perceived safety to move towards vulnerability. They need a refuge. So let me just read a bit of Psalm 121: “I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved. He who keeps you will not slumber.” And the psalm goes on and it just continues to exemplify this refuge that we have in Christ. So we can choose vulnerability and risk. Someone else can choose vulnerability and risk in the midst of this conundrum, because there is one who will not fail us, there is one who will not leave us, who will not forget us, and who will ultimately keep us safe.

So if the opposite of detachment is reattachment, reattachment to life and emotions and body and people, then we can confidently say this: this reattachment to our emotions, our body, our life, it is a vulnerable and a risky work, and it's also a lengthy and a slow work. We can also say that this reattachment process to body, to life, to people, to emotions is also a work of unlearning patterns of self-protection, and instead learning patterns of trust and vulnerability towards God and his people. But ultimately, this reattachment process to body, to life, to emotions—it's a work of leaning into the God of Psalm 121, the God who is our refuge.