Dear Lord, I Have Issues

The title of this entry is tongue-in-cheek yet serious. God has been patiently circling me about to face some of the deficiencies in my character; it’s those things I’ve built walls around to protect myself from being hurt further. Ultimately these things have been hurting me as they’ve caused me to keep myself from trusting God as my Heavenly Father.

My wife and I have been reading the book of Acts, and I’ve noticed how the early church would confess to one another their sins and struggles. Somehow there was a divine release of their burdens to God once all was brought to light, allowing healing to then take place. In the spirit of the early church, I will be making confessions over my long held strongholds.

Much but not my entire struggle against God has been in my identity: as a man, as a husband, and as a father. All three of these things tie into what it means to be a man, and yet I’ve been injured in each area separately. Almost all of the injuries have come from the various father figures directly connected in my life, each one imprinting their warped, frustrated views of manhood. As a man myself, I can readily identify the broken pieces in my father figures.

But until recently I have only just begun to identify them in myself. And it hurts.

I need to speak out in authority over my struggles, to let them be revealed in the light. Here is my confession of those painful things long held within the chambers of my heart:

Trust: Ultimately I don’t trust God as a Father because he is a father. I’ve been let down or injured by the “fathers” in my life and I pretend that I don’t want or need them, so I pretend I don’t need to Trust God.

Vulnerability: I don’t like being vulnerable with God. It’s too trusting. In the past I’ve tried to be vulnerable with people I considered “safe” but this never ends well and has caused me to build up walls I don’t know how to take down.

Reward: Everything I’ve ever been taught has been through punishment and reward. I’m supposed to expect reward for doing things right. Good pay for a job well done and blessings for obedience. I’m supposed to expect punishment for failure and consequences for doing the wrong thing. Yet when I’m not rewarded for doing well, I’m disappointed. Consequently when others aren’t punished for their wrongs, I’m hurt and confused. Mistrust then ensues.

Appreciation: I’ve always needed and expected “the nod” of approval, to receive the recognition for doing well, working hard, or being steadfast through a storm. When I don’t get that, I worry that what I’m doing is worthless, which translates into “I am worthless.”

Courage: I struggle with exercising courage to put forward the things I’ve been called to do. I do this due to a fear of failure. I can’t count how many times I’ve created something special, but when it comes to taking a risk and getting it out, I worry. In those rare moments of bravado when I set aside my concerns and I do push something out, any momentum is lackluster. I then tend to pull back, lick my wounds, and it becomes harder the next time to create something special and try to share it out.

I’m learning that where I struggle indicates there is some need I have to be met. I don’t know how to meet it on my own. So I respond in struggle with God and myself.

***

I’ve been struggling with all of these things for years, but it has just now come to my attention that the stories I’ve been writing in my spare time are fused with these themes of struggle.

I can’t outrun God, nor should I hide from man.

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Categories: On Faith, On Life | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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