When People Call God “Daddy”

Limitless Life Photo CoverFrom Orphan to Adopted.

As I started this chapter, in the back of my mind I was already assuming “this won’t really apply much to me”. Then I came across the story Pastor Gray shares of a person who left him an anonymous comment that he shouldn’t call God “daddy” because it hurts people.

Pausing for a moment, I must share I have often felt my insides tighten when I hear people refer to God as their “daddy”. I know God is my “Father”, and I have no hesitations calling Him my “Father” – but daddy? It bothers me. I find myself on guard. I think it must be disrespectful. It must be unworthy of who He truly is. How can we take our God who is Holy and Sacred and then dare to bring him down to a level of “daddy”?

Part of Pastor Gray’s response to this anonymous person was the following;

In the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) as well as in the apostle Paul’s letters, Jesus and Paul both use the Aramaic word Abba to describe God the Father. The Word Abba is equivalent to the English word daddy or papaAbba is a term that paints a picture of the intimacy that God the Father desires with His children. Abba paints the picture of a tenderhearted, love-filled father reaching down to pick up and hug his child.

I was prickled. Prickled because according to this response, to call God “Abba” or “daddy” is an extremely intimate moment between He as the Father and I as His child. I was prickled because I don’t call God “daddy”.
Then I cried.
I cried because I wondered why don’t I call Him “daddy”? What was I missing here?

So – no offense to Pastor Gray – I needed to look into this a bit deeper.

I discovered the number of times God is called Father far outweighs the number of times He is called “Abba”.
There are only three places in the New Testament where God is specifically called Abba: Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, and Galatians 4:6.
The rest of the time the word Father is used, and often is used as Father in heaven: Matthew 5:45 (and throughout Matthew), Mark 11:25, and Luke 11:13.

Then I learned when Jesus is praying, many believe that when we read Father in heaven Jesus prays this with the implication of Abba.

I pulled out a Scofield Referenced Edition Bible (ironically loaned to me by my wonderful Father-in-law) and  looked up God (His Names) in the Subject Index.  Under “Father” all the scriptures mentioned above are listed together.
In other words, it doesn’t differentiate between Father in heaven and Abba, both point back to God as Father.

Then I came across this:

Is God ever addressed as “Friend” in Scripture? I wondered when I recalled the line of the song “As the Deer” by Martin Nystrom that goes, “You’re my Friend and you are my Brother, even though you are a King….” Several times Abraham is called “the friend of God” (2 Chronicles 20:7; James 2:23). Jesus calls the disciples “friends” (John 15:14-15). In mutual human friendships, at least, each party is free to call the other “friend.” It stands to reason, then, that God is our Friend, in the sense that a person might be said to be a “friend of the king” or a “friend of the president.” Certainly the metaphor is used in Scripture, but only one way, of us being God’s friends. No where is God addressed as “Friend” (except with heavy irony in Jeremiah 3:4). Perhaps that’s just accidental. But perhaps it is this way so that we might not presume on God’s friendship as a relationship between equals.

Perhaps this is the reason that Jesus taught us the friendship and love of God in a metaphor of a greater to a lesser, of a dear Father to a beloved son or daughter. Perhaps this is why Jesus taught us to call God “Abba.” ~Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

So what does this all mean?

To me, it means that I am a friend of God, and He is my Father. Why do I not call Him daddy sometimes when I pray to Him? Because instead of realizing that God IS the standard for “daddy” and is the perfect Holy daddy, I thought to call him daddy would be to bring Him down to a human standard of daddy. I know there are some adults in the world who still call their Father’s “daddy”, I’m not one of those adults. Earthly fathers and their children don’t always have intimate relationships. Many can have relationships, and even pretty good ones, just not intimate.

God is not an Earthly father. He is a Heavenly Father and He wants an intimate relationship with me.
Jesus wants me to have that intimate relationship with His Abba, through Him.

I remember the first time my son called my husband “dad”. He used the word tentatively, watching my husband out of the corner of his eye to see if he would be corrected or rebuked. His heart was not coming from a place of disrespect or mocking. He genuinely wanted to call this man “dad”. My husband smiled and answered his question. My husband never forced my son to call him dad, and never corrected him during those months when my son went back and forth between “dad” and “Jim”.
Now I can’t remember the last time my son called my husband “Jim”. My husband did adopt my son, and my son calls him “dad” without second guessing it or waiting for rebuke for using the word. He trusts that this man is his dad.

So I guess that is my big ah-ha moment. We are adopted children of God through the blood of His son Jesus Christ. Maybe for some of us, it just takes us a little longer to trust that we can, when we need to, humbly come before our Father and call Him “daddy”. He is our Father in Heaven. He is our Abba. Our Daddy.

And I am no longer prickly. 🙂

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Ready to Write Chapter 20 and Beyond

P31 OBS Blog HopI would love to tell you this study was “the answer” for me. I’ve reached my goal weight, I’ve left behind bad habits, and I’m totally soaking in the full and abundant life of Christ.

I haven’t and I’m not.

This week, this final week in a study that has been so encouraging and fantastic, has also been the hardest. This weekend I fell flat on my face. I won’t go into the details of how many calories I consumed (think LOTS). Instead of falling into a cycle of prolonged bad choices, last night I called it out for what it was.

Father,
Forgive me for turning to food to satisfy my emotions instead of turning to you. It was wrong. There are no other gods before You Lord, and I was wrong to try and place food on your throne for even a second. Teach me Lord how to be an overcomer with this struggle. Show me where I still need to change, and make it hurt Father so I will fall before you and seek you to change it in me. I ask for your Holy Spirit to convict and to heal. To reveal and to lift up. To admonish and encourage. I thank you for your words of Truth. Help me to focus on them and write them on my heart. To run to you and not away from you. All glory to you Father, for You are my God, my Savior, and Hope. Amen.

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I admitted to God my need for lasting, sustainable discipline. My need to make one wise choice after another. I do believe this is possible because my Father tells me it’s possible. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me“. (Philippians 4:13) That’s the key to sustainable discipline – it’s not my strength, it’s His. I can’t do it alone. I need Him.

What does this look like for me?

First – I am going to continue with the Made To Crave Action Plan with Proverbs31. I want to take advantage of finding additional tools for the “how to” part of my journey.

Second – I am going to continue with my Forgiveness journey. This study, which I thought would be just about food, opened up a calloused part of my heart I didn’t realize existed. It’s time to deal with that.

Thirdly – Going back to tracking my meals on MyFitnessPal for the month of March beginning today. The thought of giving up some foods forever made me indignant. I had absorbed the “everything in moderation” message. The realty is, not everything will I have in moderation because this has been an area of struggle for me for a very long time. To think it will only take a short time to truly deal with is something else I’ve bought into – and it isn’t true.
I tried to quit smoking cigarettes for years. A decade of quitting and starting back, quitting and starting back. The starting back always started with just one. One little occasion. One little reason. It always ended with being a full time smoker again. It wasn’t until I realized I could not quit with a bunch of little “occasions” waiting around the corner that I was able to really seek His strength and quit.
And guess what – it’s still a struggle. I have had one break down since my “true” quit date. My attitude about it is different however, so even in the face of a break down, it was quickly realized “no, I can’t do that again”.
The truth of “this is not OK for me to do” is hard and heavy and also freeing. It, in and of itself, is a victory that has lead to more victories with not giving in and not asking for a cigarette – even when I felt parts of my insides screaming “just one!!!!!”.
Once those little parts fade away, the victory afterwards is worth so much more than what I would have gained from any cigarette.

Realizing this leads to the reality there may be something I’m holding onto food wise I must let go. Completely. I’m not sure what it is yet, because with a binge eater like me, I feel like it could be everything except vegetables. Which brings me to my fourth step – praying about what I may need to walk away from. This means tracking my food, continuing to write in my study journal, praying over it, asking (and therefore expecting) the Lord to reveal to me what I need to give up entirely, and then giving it up. (This is also a part of the journey I am praying the Lord gives me excitement about, because right now I can already feel the tug of war between the part of me ready to make intentional sacrifices pulling against the part that wants what I want when I want it.)

Lastly, I plan on sharing this continued journey, my chapter 20 and beyond, on Wednesdays as I pick back up my Weigh-In Wednesday posts.

How is this intentional sacrifice on my part?  It’s going to mean going from I want what I want when I want it to “I want to please God, and I want what He wants, even when it comes to what I’m about to eat for lunch.”

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I remember the pastor who counseled my husband and I once talking about 1 Corinthians 10:31 – So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the Glory of God – and I internally rolled my eyes because I couldn’t make the connection between my morning coffee and God’s glory.

Blog Versus-0032That has changed. That’s what this is really about. It’s not the number on the scale. It’s not the number of push-ups I can do. It’s about living life to the Glory of God, overcoming struggles with victory in Christ, pointing to His Glory in every aspect of our lives. 

For me – my health has been a struggle in my life. It’s about overcoming this struggle through victory in Christ Jesus, pointing back to His Glory.

I’m ready to take the pen. I’m ready to start writing Chapter 20 and beyond of My Made to Crave, with the Holy Spirit providing the pen, Jesus providing the ink, and God providing the paper. 

In Love and Faith,
RaZella

The Emotional Emptiness of Un-forgiveness

Emo-eat. It’s the word I’ve used to describe those moments when my emotions are done and I want to stuff them away with food.

Greasy foods. Sweet foods.
Never vegetables or baked fish.
It’s always something that weighs heavy on calories and low on nutritional benefits.

It’s not something new. It’s not that I’ve only struggled with this for a little while. Or even since adulthood.

It’s been a lifetime of struggle. It started with the best intentions of others as a child, then was fueled by the thoughtlessness of others.
I’ve known for a long time its a problem. I came to the realization last year food easily becomes an idol for me.
This week the bold conviction that over-indulgence is a sin has further hit home my struggle with food. It’s more than just an outward appearance.

It’s a heart matter.

Chapter 14 MTC

This week, the Lord laid a heavy message on my heart. Through Made To Crave along with The Power of a Praying Woman, He revealed to me a hurting heart still clinging to past offenses and pain instead of letting go to embrace trust and forgiveness. Specifically, trusting Him to be the God He says He is, the good and righteous God of justice, and trusting His word that I am called to forgive others because He has forgiven me.

There are painful memories I have held onto with tight fists. Memories that on many occasion have flooded my mind at night, causing me to cry with a broken heart even after a wonderful day spent with my family or friends. The more I give into keeping these painful memories, replaying them over and over, the angrier I become at the person(s) who committed the offenses.  It’s a broken process. It doesn’t change, yet just ingrains itself deeper, inflecting more hurt, more anger, and more pain.

This week I realized something. For a long time now, there have been one or two people whom I know I need to forgive. Forgiveness I’ve learned, isn’t an emotion. It doesn’t just happen because one day I’ll wake up and the sun will be shining and I’ll “feel” like today is the day I was meant to forgive. Forgiving someone is a choice. Choices involve taking action. It’s an active process, not a passive one. As I was sitting and thinking about a particular person, I closed my eyes and prayed to the Lord to show me how to start this path of forgiveness. What He showed me shocked me.

I have a much longer list than just one or two people.

I’ve been placing all of my hurt on one or two people, however, they are not the ones responsible for all of the hurt. There is a list. There is a list I’ve been denying to myself because “I’m a good person” and there is no way I would be that unforgiving to that many people. I don’t hold grudges. I know what Matthew 6:14-15, Luke 6:37, Colossians 3:13, and so many other versus say. I know that I am commanded to forgive others, not suggested, not implied, outright commanded to do it. Somewhere in my mere humanness I’ve thought, “If I’m only struggling to forgive one or two people, then I’m doing pretty good. So this isn’t a heart issue I REALLY need to focus on too much.”

Over-indulgence is a sin. Un-forgiveness is a sin. It is a heart issue, one that requires repentance.

As my prayer began to uncover all of this that morning, the Lord let His light break through to touch the list of people I have not forgiven. It revealed the bitterness and anger towards them I’ve held onto. It brought forth the link between that pain and my weak stance against the temptation to emo-eat. The number of ways I am triggered to emo-eat, caused ultimately by a cycle of hurt and un-forgiveness, followed by the raking emptiness un-forgiveness leaves inside my heart, and then the failed attempt to stuff that emptiness with food.

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So. I cried.

I sat on my living room couch and cried big fat painful tears of dirty band-aids ripping off of still infected wounds. After the stinging pain of that process was over, I blew my nose, took a breath, and sat down and prayed over my plan. Forgiveness is a choice, and I choose to forgive. It’s probably not going to be easy. I’m sure the Lord will shine light on other dark places I’m not yet aware of, and when He does, He and I will go through the crying-band-aid-ripping process again. It’s only when I get these dirty rags off of my wounds, can He and I start the process of His true healing instead of my insufficient covering.
So I came up with a plan through the resources He has laid before me. Then I told one my best friends my plan, and asked her to keep me accountable this year to work through it. She has my full permission to randomly ask me if I am doing it, and if I say no, to ask me “Why not?”

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Un-forgiveness is a place of emotional emptiness for me.
By the Lord’s strength and love I am no longer going to settle for trying to fill it with food.

In Love & Faith,
RaZella

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