Jesus asks his disciples “to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick.” This may be a practice of trust that will give us just what we need to walk the path of freedom with God.

St. Ignatius wrote about examining our freedom to choose God by challenging our attachments—objects, habits, activities and even people. Without being aware, we might choose an object of attachment over our search for God’s will and companionship. This erodes our ability to choose freely, to hear and respond to God’s callings.

Sometimes disordered attachments can be easily identified—addictions, obsessions, and self-proclaimed bad habits;  yet even positive character attributes have a shadow side. For those with a strong sense of responsibility, making sure they are seen as dependable can become more important than meeting the needs of others, than responding with generosity in the moment.

We are called prayerfully to see our disorders openly and clearly; to admit the implications they have on our daily lives; to state our desire to move closer to God; and to ask for the grace to move with commitment along God’s path of freedom. A new spirit of generosity emerges without fail.

What attachment is preventing me from living my best life with God? Can I pray honestly and openly with that?

—Charlotte Ahern is a wife and mother of three college-aged children. She is also a spiritual director and retreat leader at Jesuit schools in the Chicago area.