Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Gospel and Daddy Issues


I've always thought the phrase "daddy issues" was one of those labels people are quick to throw at a woman who sleeps around with older men with hopes of filling a heart shaped hole her biological father was never able to fill, at least that was how the movies explained it. While there is often some type of fallacy in the conclusion drawn from such premises, I'll thread carefully as I dabble into the phrase itself.  There is undoubtedly some type of correlation between a girl's relationship with her father and the type of  men she gets attracted to or even ends up with long term but the connotation shouldn't always come with a  negative tone. I make this hypothesis not from a statistical/scientific standpoint but rather from my personal experiences and observations from my immediate environment.

We All Have Daddy Syndrome

More often than not , The father-daughter relationship triggers an expectation in the little girl's subconscious and she may not realize this until a couple of years down the road. He is her first encounter with mature masculinity (at least on a personal level)  and whatever definition he gives to that becomes her reality until proven otherwise. He influences a lot of her views on family by the way he takes leadership in theirs and her views on the dynamics of marriage will most likely head in the same direction as her parents'. For example, a woman's confidence may be traced back to her father's affirmations or the lack of it can be the opposite. So we can say, for the purpose of this article, that we all have daddy issues on varying levels and not necessarily in the negative connotation assumed in the first paragraph. To wrap it all together, we should all be able to agree that our way of thinking can be potentially influenced by many things and our immediate environment, often the families we grew up in, is a major one. Hence, "daddy syndrome". 

Choice versus Fate 

I began to see a pattern in my own relationships a few years into me becoming a teenager and it really didn't seem like one until a couple of years after that. Growing up, I didn't have a close relationship with my dad and I had very twisted views of the role of a father based on what I saw exhibited through mine. Love displayed through sacrificial and selfless service was often practiced by my mom and I simply accepted that a woman is the only one built" that way and should carry that cross with a smile on her face. I found myself in relationships driven by emotional trauma as my insecurities slowly gained momentum. The moment I realized there was a problem, I had two options: resign to fate and use this as an excuse to condone irresponsibility from male counterparts or reject the false identity that seemed to have been stamped on me from birth. 
Aren't these the options often presented to us in many other situations like this ? Our past experiences, our upbringing and backgrounds are things we do not have control over. We don't get to choose what family we are born into and what genetic traits are passed on to us. However, we have full control over the choices we make in the midst of all of these variables and praise be to God who affords us the option of free will. And by the way, I wallowed in option one for the longest time before the gospel began its work in my life..
"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works."- Titus 2:11-14
Now, the gospel presents us with an opportunity to make a choice that sets us free from all these things beyond our control. The acceptance of this message brings radical change that is independent of background, color, race, prior experiences or even "syndromes" (Gal. 3:28). This is an opportunity to become newborns (2 Cor. 2:15), subjected to a new fate of restored fellowship with the perfect father as we continue to lay aside every form of label that weighs us down (Heb. 12:1)

We Cry, Abba Father

The best earthly father is only a shadow, a very imperfect representation , of what it looks like to be loved by the God of the universe. Our human fathers, at their worst or best, will always fall short of being the perfect example of a father to us. This is not to undermine some horrible experiences anyone may have had growing up with a less than perfect father or to dismiss the efforts of those who try to be the best they can but to altogether point us all to the exact representation of the perfect father (Heb.1:3). Our thinking may have been shaped by one experience or the other but when we come to Christ, we get a heart transplant ( Ezek. 11:19) which then leads to a renewed thinking ( Rom. 12:2) Even when we've never experienced love through an earthly father-daughter relationship, Christ gives us new lenses to view marriage and family dynamics through. So whether our "daddy issues" have led us to make terrible mistakes, left us with gaping holes or even caused us to set unrealistic expectations for the men in our lives, Abba Father wants to fill all of those gaps with the perfect love our hearts truly yearn for and he can even enable us to share that love with others, including our earthly fathers.

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