I never had a strong relationship with my dad. He was a pastor and kept himself super busy “visiting” members and prospects of our church when I was a child. But when he was home, we didn’t interact much there either. He just didn’t seem to know how to interact with others, especially loved ones, on anything more than a surface level. I don’t blame him for that. I also don’t ignore it. I accept it as the way things were.
As I grew into adulthood, I tried to reach out to him more. He was much older when I was born, so the generation gap was wide. But this age difference gave me even more incentive and urgency to get to know this mystery man in my life on up to his death in 2007. I am so glad that I made that effort. I had no regrets after his death. I felt content that I had done all that I could to bridge the gap.
Here’s where my story is going, though,… I feel like I’ve applied some of those same awkward and distant feelings to God, my heavenly Father. I’ve viewed Him at times as detached. I’ve viewed Him as someone who doesn’t truly care for me or have affection for me. I’ve tried for years to work on my perspective toward my heavenly Father, and I think I’ve made progress. But there is much more work to be done in my heart and mind.
In fact, just recently I’m challenging myself to refer to God in my prayers as “Father,” rather than “Lord” as I’ve done all of my life. This little adjustment has been slowly moving my heart to a warmer, closer place with my Father.
Rather than focusing solely on His heavenly and holy attributes, like some ethereal, majestic Spirit on a gleaming bright throne (which tends to make me feel removed and unworthy of Him), I’ve begun to give attention to His Fatherly attributes. I’ve pictured Him still as King, but also as my Father, who’s welcoming me into His presence. And I’m not just being asked to come and bow at His feet, but to climb up into His lap and feel Him wrap His loving arms around me!
This new perspective shift is changing my relationship with God. And it’s changing me too! It’s making it so much easier to trust Him. It’s bringing a lightness to my step. It’s healing the old wounds that were left by an earthly father who didn’t really know how to love. This new perspective is giving me a hope and joy like I’ve never known before!
I hope that you are experiencing an intimate view of God our loving Father. And if you aren’t, tell me about your struggles, so that others won’t feel alone in their struggle, and best of all, so that we can pray for each other!
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1a (NIV)