I’ve mentioned before that this summer I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work at the YMCA of the Rockies in the Janitorial Department. This isn’t an extraordinarily difficult job, but it definitely has its peaks and valleys— and I don’t say that because I’m working in the Rockies.
All joking aside; I love my job. I’m a raging introvert, so I can find a deep appreciation in the aloneness of vacuuming a long, extensive hallway. However, the 17% of me that finds rest/recharge in people really enjoys the moments of my day in which I get to interact with the guests or even be around them during a quick check in the admin building.
Today, God showed me something really cool during my job through a guest, and I don’t think I was entirely prepared for how much it would Wreck me.
I was pulling the trash in the admin building’s dining area— The Rustic Cafe, when I overheard a tender conversation between a father and his daughter. I assume the father was ordering some food at The Rustic before he returned to their table and sat next to his daughter who appeared to be about seven or eight years old.
The man, after sitting down beside his daughter, looks at her, a deep affection in his eyes and a gentleness in his voice.
He says, “mi hija, you seem very distant today, what’s bothering you?” and the little girl looks up at her dad and shrugs, saying, “I don’t know, papa, I just feel sad today.”
The father gives his daughter a sad smile and places his hand on her shoulder tenderly, and then begins to cheer her up by telling her a story and giving her something to be excited about.
I didn’t think much of the encounter until God spoke to me only moments afterward. I’d been having a long day at work and my emotions and I were not associating with each other. Lately, I just haven’t been loving work as much as I did throughout the first couple of months of summer. Somewhere in the last couple of weeks, I just became apathetic to my childish side and let her go for awhile so I could deal with big kid things in big kid ways, and unfortunately, that’s come between me and my work.
I guess that I forgot He told us to make ourselves like little children.
At that moment, as I was placing a new bag into the trashcan, I thought I could just cry and cry, and not stop crying for at least six months. Over the course of four weeks, I participated in an LT workshop called Daddy’s Home and it was all about how God is our Father, or to be even more intimate, our Dad(dy). We learned about God as a Father who provides for His children, who disciplines His children, who has a tender and merciful heart, and God as a Father who wants to give His children good things. I absolutely loved the workshop; though it was emotionally difficult, God revealed to me several aspects of His character to me in those four weeks.
I’ve had a lot on my chest lately. I have a constantly anxious mind, and I get overwhelmed easier than I’m comfortable admitting. To be quite plain with you, friend, I haven’t been bringing that to God a lot lately. To be even clearer: I’ve been distant.
I think God was speaking to me through the encounter between the father and daughter. I think it was Him saying, “my daughter (or mi hija, in Spanish), you seem very distant today, what’s bothering you?”
I have such a hard time seeing God as a loving Dad who wants the Best for us. I have no trouble seeing Him as a Friend or a Pal, but when I think of Him as a Father or even a Dad, I feel like I suddenly become nervous, anxious almost that He won’t be what I need Him to be in that moment.
Oh, how wrong I can be sometimes.
Unfortunately, there are times that we give God qualities that don’t belong to Him. In other words, we make God the bad Guy because we’ve had experiences with bad guys (our biological fathers, step-fathers, grandfathers, uncles, boyfriends and ex-boyfriends), and because of those experiences, it feels like God might hurt us in those ways too.
Don’t worry, He won’t. I know He won’t. He hasn’t failed me yet. Even on the days that I have to remind myself of that Truth 88,590,305,845,933,058,675 times, I know in my head that He’s got me, even if I don’t feel that way in my heart.
I know it still feels like He won’t help you; like He won’t comfort you. He will, He promises to help you in some form. (You gotta be okay with that form too).
Romans 8:15 reads:
“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him, we cry, “Abba, Father.”
There’s something intimate about calling God Dad, or Abba (the Aramaic word for daddy). I don’t really know what it is, but it draws me close to Him when I call Him Abba as I pray to Him. There’s trust in that word. And trust can mean vulnerability. And vulnerability (and trust) can be hard with a capital H.
We’re God’s children, His sons, and daughters, and He wants to provide for us, He wants to comfort us. I’m learning to get in touch with my inner kid again so I can meet Him like that little girl and her dad.
He wants us to cry out to Him and tell Him why we’ve been so distant, just like the father and daughter. I can be that little girl sometimes and not have anything wrong in particular, but still feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders and I only have fifteen minutes to fix it all before it falls apart. For me and you, let’s just remind ourselves right now how that’s His responsibility, not ours. We get to have pieces of the cake, not the whole thing— the whole cake is unhealthy and will make you sick. It’s the same way with the little bits of save-the-world we have in us.
I have to believe it was God telling me, “mi hija, you seem very distant today, what’s bothering you?”
This is some devotional application for both of us: when He does that, when He asks you that, don’t shy away, don’t be afraid He won’t have you. Be like that little girl, so trusting in her papa that she could be honest with Him about how she was feeling at that moment. Cry out to Him. Just call Him Abba.
“I love that.” – God