Sunday, May 27, 2007

I'm feeling...

The past week has been pretty emotional for me. I consider myself to be a pretty level guy, emotionally. However, this past week has been a rollercoaster ride. I don't want to get into much self-disclosure here, rather I want to share with you some of my introspections for your edificaiton and consideration.

Self-worth: One of my emotional rides this week concerns my relationship with my father. Basically, I've been pretty angry with him for the past year or so and I've struggled with that anger. Scripture tells me that a spirit-led person will not dwell in anger. Anger, bitterness, malice... these are all things that are ways for Satan to have a foothold in my life (Ephesians 4). I have spent the past year carefully considering the words I speak to my father, measuring the outcome of my talks with him. I have tried to be open to his hurt and considerate of the anger, hurt, and bitterness that has driven him. But I haven't seen him as a person. He's my father. He's the one who knows what to do. He is my example... but I feel so disappointed in him for failing in all these roles for me. I yelled at him this week, which is not typical of me. I felt bad about it later, but not much. It wasn't until I read the following that my heart broke and convicted me. This passage was actually directed at wives toward their husbands, but I read it in my situation: (from Capture His Heart by Lysa TerKeurst)

God loves you deeply and understands the pain in your heart. God loves your [father]. He loves him for who he is, regardless of mistakes or sins. Our God is the loving father who everyday scans the horizon searching for the prodigal son to appear so He can rush to him and embrace him and carry him home.

While it may sound a bit judgemental to compare my dad to a prodigal son, I really believe that he is living in rebellion to God right now, so I believe it fits. Regardless, my problem in remaining angry with him is that it is simply not my job. I want to hold him accountable, I want him to understand the hurt I feel. I want him not to just say words to me, but back it up with different behavior. In short, I want him to be the way I want him to be.... and that just isn't going to happen. I need to learn to let go of Dad and give him to God. I believe God will answer my prayer to either change Dad or change me, or a bit of both. But I can't change Dad.

What does all that have to do with self-worth? Basically, I was feeling a bit like a failure. A failure as a son, a failure as a Christian brother... even a failure as a Christian because it was all about me. I put myself in the role of having to bring about change that I am utterly incapable of affecting, both in my Dad and in myself. I await to see what happens when I let God change my own heart and hopefully let him work on Dad, too. (It is beyond my control)

Appreciation: Connected to my turmoil over my relationship with my Dad is my sense of appreciate for how God has blessed, is blessing and continues to bless me and my family. Dad wrote to me the day after I yelled at him:

I know life hasn’t been easy for you. I know about the frustrations you’ve experienced over lost jobs. I know Ethan’s diabetes is a challenge for all of you. I also know that all is not always rosey at the Heard household. I won’t even guess at the feelings that float around the house with two families living together. And believe me when I tell you I know married life isn’t always peaches and cream . . . I see that you always want to do good and you strive to make it easy for people to be happy. I know you sacrifice yourself in many ways to help others. . .

In his letter, Dad projected that my hurt was related to all the other stressors in my life. He listed some of those that he knew about, and I'm sure he is partially right. Life isn't easy, even for those people that make it look easy. I had a former youth group member chat with me the other day and I told her that I wasn't very happy with some things and she commented, "Really? I thought your life was pretty good." Coming from her, I can certianly understand what she meant. She's had abundant challenges in her own short life and she looks at me and thinks I've got it all together. How often do we do this to others? Conversely, we have what my Dad did: look at all the challenges other people face and assume that those things make life really tough for that person. I'm sure that the truth lies somewhere in between those extremes. I'll be the first to admit that this is a difficult, transitional time in my life. I'm not living in my ideal circumstances, but by and large, I am abundantly blessed. I can agree with the Psalmist, "God is my guide, I lack for nothing in my life." (Psalms 23)

Anyhow, I've spent a while composing this post and while this is not everything that I want to convey right now, I'm out of time for typing. I hope I can get back to it. Meanwhile, I wish God's greatest blessings on you as you seek to honor Him.


1 comment:

Phylemon said...

Hey, I love the new design.

Anyway, I want you to know that Jennifer and I will be praying along side you for reconcilliation between you and your father, as well as reconcilliation between your father and God. Hang on and know that you are not alone.