Reading the Psalms: Part 2, Being in Love with God

When I describe the psalms as love songs my mind naturally goes to attachment theory.

In psychology, attachment theory is one of the main ways we describe the experience of "love," love between parents and children, love between romantic partners, love between friends.

Psychologists typically describe four features of this "attachment bond":
1. Proximity Maintenance: We wish to be near or close to those we love.

2. Separation Anxiety: We experience distress when separated from those we love.

3. Secure Base of Exploration: We are at "home" with those we love, and they give us the courage to take risks and face challenges

4. Haven of Safety: When hurt, fearful or distressed our loved ones give us protection, healing, and comfort.
All of these aspects of love show up in the Psalms:
1. Proximity Maintenance: "But for me it is good to be near God." (Ps. 73.28)

2. Separation Anxiety: "Do not be far from me." (Ps. 22.11)

3. Secure Base of Exploration: "By you I can crush a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall." (Ps. 18.29)

4. Haven of Safety: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (Ps. 46.1)
In encouraging my class on the Psalms to "stay romantic" I was pointing to the emotional topography of the Psalms, how over and over these poems describe all the features of what it feels like to be in love.

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