I hope the readers have done their "homework" It's important. Here's where we get to the heart of this topic.
the word pictures of your earthly Father to the word pictures of God.
This entire exercise depends on your being honest about your view of
God. How did it compare?
If you used words for your father like
"Loving" "Kind" "interested in me" you probably used similar words for
God. If you used words like "Distant" "harsh" "selfish" or
"mean"...sadly you probably used them with God as well.
more difficult is that we filter our relationship with Him through those
descriptives we use. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we project
those words that describe our fathers on earth right onto our Heavenly
Father. If our dad was kind and loving we see God that way and we respond to Him that way.
If we saw our dad as interested in our lives, cherishing the chance to
be our father...we can easily understand a God who "comes that they
might have full, abundant life" John 10:10. But if our father was
distant, unconcerned with our lives, if he ignored us or pushed us
away...we see God the same way and it effects us negatively.
own situation has yielded this same same fruit. Between a father I never
even knew existed until I was 21, and my mothers husband who was as
distant and removed from anything resembling a relationship as he could
be, my view of God was and has been distorted. Try as I do, I still see
Him through the eyes of a child who longed deeply for a father-son
relationship but who never received it. I see God as cold, hard,
distant, very annoyed with any request I might have...even requests to
just "hang out". I could approach Him for someone else without
hesitation...but for my own needs I cannot. With my stepfather there was
always a bargain involved. Any favor, any request had to be handled on
the barter system. "If you'll do this with me, this thing that you want
will happen". I got used to just not asking for anything at all. On the
one hand it made me independent at a young age but on the other
hand...it set up a pattern of never coming to God for my needs and for a
fatherly blessing. It's a pattern that continues to this day. I
struggle with praying for myself. I struggle with seeing myself as a
beloved son whom a father can't wait to hang around with.
this with the tremendously turbulent revelation at age 21 that my father
was actually someone else whom I had never met, and whose name had
never even been uttered in my presence since I was maybe 3 years
old...you have a recipe for disaster.
Since the age of 27, when I
first reached out to him hoping for a relationship, my father has
remained staunch in his refusal. I have spoken to him face to face twice
in my life. I have seen the color of his eyes and felt his handshake
just those two times. He wants no relationship whatsoever. None. He
returns no phone calls and broaches no discussion of a meeting. If there
were a way to go back in time and undo me as a human...he would likely
pursue the option. It's as complete and total a rejection as exists. I
have moved from shock, to fear, to longing, to anger and
finally...now...to resolution. This isn't going to happen. He isn't
going to care, to consider me his flesh and blood, to ever take a step
in my direction and begin a relationship of any sort. I have no choice
but to accept this because to wrestle it further would cause even
further damage and I have little left in my soul that isn't already
wounded by this truth.
This is pretty revealing stuff and some may
become uncomfortable with my brutal honesty. I will not name either man
in this blog, and honestly I have no further ill will. To be frank I
have simply become ambivalent about them both. To me, one man abandoned
his son for reasons he has yet to reveal (after this much time I am
inclined to believe the reasons aren't very good...otherwise they'd be
offered) and continues this abandonment today. The other saw a little
boy as a throw-in to what he really wanted and behaved as such. While
insisting that the father was removed from any contact, he never
actually stepped in and became a dad. He created a vacuum and never tried to fill it.
What resulted was an orphan. While growing up with a man in the house...there was not a dad in the house. There is a difference.
past weekend I was reflecting on this quite a bit. It was turbulent and
painful and it was tiring. I came to some conclusions and some of them
weren't very pretty. Some were very sad.
I realized that two things happen when you have a Dad-shaped vacuum.
You don't know what it's like to have a real "Dad". Not a biological
father, but a daddy. A Poppa. You don't know what it feels like or looks
like and you can't relate to any father figure properly because you
don't recognize the paradigm.
Two: (and this is perhaps the saddest by-product) You don't know how to be a son or a daughter.
Not really. A son with a great dad knows what he has and he knows who
he is. He is confident in his dad's love and care and he dares to dream
big dreams because his dad reminds him early on that he will do
everything he can to make those dreams come true. He raises his son or
daughter carefully...like a gardener. He doesn't raise children...he grows adults. He is invested in them and his greatest single joy is their becoming who and what they were meant to become.
I realized this weekend that I have no idea what it means to be a son. Not really.
I need to learn this. That's why I am writing this series.
See you tomorrow...