By: Jana Greene
Little girls….they are so full of themselves!
I never really got to know my father. He was disinterested in me when I was born. As a very small girl, I remember jumping and dancing and shouting for him, wanting him to pick me up.
Look at me!
I can still see him now, coolly smoking a cigarette looking through me. How do I get my Daddy’s attention? Little girls crave that attention. They feel deficient if they cannot obtain it.
Then, I had a step-father. When he came into my life I was five years old. I was both jealous of his attention for my mother and hopeful that he might show some for me. I became his adopted child, losing my identity as the daughter of one disinterested. But that didn’t really make me a beloved daughter. There are worse things than parental indifference, I would find out. There could be malevolence and maltreatment.
Years after the damage had been done, God healed my heart. He is still healing my heart. I trust Him daily, but it is an ongoing process to give up the hurt.
For years, I tried to fill up instead of give up. Fill up that space with attention from men. Fill up shame with alcohol. Fill up neediness with accolades. Fill up deficiency with a pouring into various meaningless pursuits. It’s a lot harder to give up expectations and surrender wholly. Giving up pain requires a kind of filling up faith…and trust.
It is said that we model our idea of who God is by our experience with our earthly fathers, and that is true, because we have no other measure to go by. But then, what is a father? My maternal grandfather was a loving influence on my life, and my husband shows me what the most noble human fathering looks like in the way he cares for his daughter (and my daughters, too). But for the most accurate picture, I have to go to the Bible instead of looking to personal experience:
A father doesn’t ignore the needs of his child; he provides more than enough for her.
“Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.” – 1 Timothy 6:17
A father isn’t irritated by the presence of his daughter, but delights in her with pride.
“Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.” – 1 Peter 4:3-6
A father doesn’t betray his daughter’s trust, but honors it.
“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG)
A father doesn’t abuse and neglect his girl, but protects her from harm.
“Every promise of God proves true; he protects everyone who runs to him for help.” – Proverbs 30:5-6 (MSG)
A father is not detached, but involved.
“What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.” – Matthew 10:29-30 (MSG)
A Father is not waiting to reject his child, but welcomes her with open arms regardless of her deeds.
“Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish!” – Ephesians 2:8-9 (MSG)
So, how do I get my Father’s attention? That pure adoration that little girls crave from their Fathers? I don’t have to jump and dance and shout Look at me! He is already looking, already getting a kick out me….just because I’m His kid.
In the spiritual realm, he is my Daddy by adoption because His son grafted me into his family. He is my Creator, the one who used love to make me family.
Getting to know God for The Perfect Father is an adventure in loving and being loved. I wish I could say that I don’t ever struggle with abandonment, rejection or trust issues, but that wouldn’t be true. I am learning to accept that My True Father loves me even though sometimes I misbehave. He is teaching me to accept that he forgives me, even when it is difficult for me to forgive myself. And He doesn’t instruct me with the iron fist or shaming ways of the fathers I have known on Earth, but with the gentlest correction reminding me to focus on His grace instead.
Maybe so many of us women are attention-seekers because we’re designed to be. Perhaps we are created that way in order to seek our Father’s love. To give up on being perfect to earn a Father’s love, in order to fill up on the love of a Perfect Father.
To be Daddy’s Girls in the purest sense…not so much “full of ourselves”, but FULL of our Father.