“The message delivered with my wound…was simply this: You are on your own, John. There is no one in your corner, no one to show you the way and above all, no one to tell you if you are or are not a man. The core question of your soul has no answer, and can never get one.”---John Eldredge, Wild At Heart
A change in my role at work, from running a department to being an employee in one has escalated my anxiety to significant levels. I needed to lose fifteen Lbs. but not this way. Day after day I make the drive into work. Physiologically I feel it. Each mile and each minute closer to work causes some level of anxiety which I am not used to. This isn’t normal. I know God’s promises; I recite Philippians to myself---“Be anxious for nothing.” I tell my soul, “God is with you.” The feeling does not abate. Where does this come from I ask myself?
Freud was convinced that a father was responsible for the development of principles, rules and values of society within a child, if the father was missing; the child’s view of his position in society was askew. (Lynn, D.B., 1974). God makes it clear that a father is so much more than that. Our earthly fathers impact our view of Father God. Like Eldredges’ dad mine went missing for most of my childhood. I don’t know what its like to have a dad that is accessible, supportive and, yes, huggable. My dad was distant for a chunk of my childhood. An invisible parent for part of my formative years. So when God says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand,” I can’t relate.
There’s much in the mix; Eldredge says part of the yearning of the male heart is the yearning for validation. You can see that in the father picture, right? Validation is in a dads’ job description. When I look at God’s promise in Isaiah 41 I can’t relate. That big protective, passionate papa that I have in God doesn’t square with the father I had. I suspect that’s true for most of us.
I think that is a piece of the puzzle that’s missing. I am having trouble assimilating the truth of who God is as my father. When we are frightened sometime we fall back to early belief and experience. That isn’t always a good thing. Much better to fall into and rest in that which is true. The Father I have now is a perfect father; accessible, supportive—and, yes, someday huggable. Til that day comes I learn to hold tight to who He says He is and let go of that which never was.