What was your relationship like with your father?
That’s the first question I ask when dealing with issues of fear. Some immediately squirm. Others frown and cross their arms. Some smile and say that the relationship was great. But very few know the full impact of this relationship to their lives.
Once you understand what you were meant to receive from your father, you can make the connection to how these things affect your life.
A father is meant to provide 3 key foundations in the lives of his children:
This list is by no means exhaustive. However, I’ve found that these 3 foundations come up over and over and are the root of many, if not all our issues relating to fear.
Most of us understand that a good father is also a good provider. The problem is that we typically equate provision with finances. While that part of the equation at times, it definitely not the whole of it.
Provision is much more far-reaching than having food on the table and ensuring that there are gifts on birthdays and Christmas.
Pain comes in our life either when we don’t receive the fullness of provision that was intended for us or when we receive a distorted provision in the form of a transaction.
Fathers are protectors. Unfortunately, this is another one that many don’t fully understand. Due to lack in our own relationships, we misunderstand protection and safety for others. Our interpretation of protection is lived out and perpetuated down to our children and their children.
When we interpret protection as safety at all costs, we succumb to being controlled by fear. Creating a safe environment becomes a life devoid of risk. It is a life lived fearing failure, rejection and disappointment.
Both overly passive and overly aggressive fathers can instill fear. It’s only when there is a right concept of protection, that fathers can provide the covering that God intended.
This is the most important foundation that a father instills in his children. Our identity is formed by what we receive or don’t receive from our father, both by words and actions.
Fathers demonstrate what a man looks like. Fathers demonstrate what a husband looks like. Fathers instill the value of a child in a way that is different from a mother.
What we think about ourselves, how we feel about ourselves and how we value ourselves are all based on our perception of what our father thinks of us.
The Presence of a Father
The only way a father can provide any or all of these 3 foundations is to be present. Unfortunately, there is a rising trend of absentee fathers in our generation.
There are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the US, raising about 26% of children under the age of 21. In other words, over a quarter of the children in our generation don’t have the support of both parents. Mothers make up 82.2% of the parents with primary custody (source). This lack of presence is a telling statistic.
The good news is that even when we lack in one of these areas or even if we never experienced the presence of our biological father, God reveals Himself as a faithful Father.
Once we understand what we were missing and what God intended for us, we can begin to take steps toward releasing forgiveness and finding freedom. At the end of the series, I’ll outline the steps toward real forgiveness and how that opens the door to receive what God intended.
As the series continues, I will go deeper into each of these 3 foundations. The next post will focus on what Godly provision looks like.
Was (is) your father present in your life?