A Father's Heart: Approval

God approves of you. This is so huge if you have a broken relationship with your earthly father. I think the first thing we figure out as kids is that we want our father's approval. We crave mom's approval too, but there is something about hearing our dad tell us that they are proud, that they love us and that they approve that seals identity in our hearts. When we don't get that from dad, it translates into the rest of our life. I once was desperate, I mean desperate, for approval. The poor example I had of a father left me assuming that God was the same.

How could God approve of me when my own father didn't? 

Now, there are so many layers involved in this one that it's hard to write one post that covers it all. In my childhood, I was hearing things like "I love you," but then the actions did not match up. The words actually became more of a "cover" for the reality behind closed doors. Some of you never even heard the words. It is so obvious to me that so many people are making choices, some life changing, stemming from the root of this pain. Girls in high school, even younger, are seeking approval from boys, giving them whatever they want just to hear those words of love and acceptance. Boys growing up with low self esteem or being egotistical to try and cover the pain of rejection. This wound is so deep and it doesn't just go away over time. 

I thought it would. 

No. This wound stays with you, feeding you lies and guiding your heart, until you decide to open it up, clean it out, and let it heal. It's not bad to want approval. Why wouldn't you? You were created by God and anything that is created wants to know it's creator is pleased. Why wouldn't you want your earthly father to approve of you? You are his offspring. He is the one that helped bring you into the world. His blood runs through your veins. Of course you want to know he loves you and accepts you. In our hurt and anger we might tell ourselves we don't need or want their approval...but it's not the truth. I avoided this wound for so long because I had no idea how I would cope with the truth. The truth was I didn't get the approval and acceptance from my father that God had called him to give me. Everything was always on his terms, and there was always a selfish motive behind every action, every word. 

So, when I was ready to open up this wound and dig into it, the first thing I had to do was make some pretty harsh statements of reality...to admit the truth. Admittance is the hardest part, but once you've faced it, you can move on to the next step. What happened in my life as I started facing the truth of this pain and rejection I felt, is that I started learning how to separate my father's actions from God's actions. 

My father did not represent God, and I had to accept that. 

Once I really began believing that God really wasn't like my dad, I was able to start talking to him about my hurt. I felt like a baby girl again, learning how to have a relationship with my father...except this father was not going to let me down. In fact, as I opened my heart up to God and began listening for his voice, I began hearing things I had craved for so long. Things like,

"I delight in you." 

When I first began hearing these things from God, my natural reaction was to reject it. Isn't that funny that I would use the very thing that caused me such pain against God? I hurt because of the rejection, but when God spoke acceptance, I tried to reject it. Oh, the human heart! I would say things like, "How can you delight in me when my own dad.." and he would so clearly respond...

"I am not like him."

He said it enough that I actually started believing it. He even went as far as to prove it, and still does! Our wounds will give us a distorted view and ear for God. We will see him and hear him through our own experiences. Sometimes, that is great...sometimes it's not. In my case, I realized I needed to learn all over again what a real father does and doesn't do. A real father offers complete and selfless acceptance. He will not always approve of my choices, but he will always approve of me. There is nothing greater than the hand of a father on a child's shoulder, guiding him down the right path. God's hand rests on my shoulder now, always, and he guides me down the right path out of selfless love and devotion. I have learned to separate his actions from my dad's actions. I have found healing in that truth. 

Do you need to face some truth? Do you need to separate who God is from who your dad is or was? God wants to tell you the same thing he tells me...

"I delight in you." 

God approves of you. He does not look on you with disdain, he is not looking for ways to manipulate you into doing his will. He approves of you because he delights in his creation. He sings and dances over you. I pray you find healing in this truth. There is no need to change anything about yourself to receive what you crave. God has already accepted you, he is just waiting for you to walk into his embrace. You will not find rejection in his voice...only love and acceptance....always. 

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