How does God feel about you? (We’re using human words to talk about God; that’s troublesome. But stick with me.) What picture of you does He hold in His mind? Is He proud of you? Or perhaps He would prefer to disown or forget about you if He had the choice. Is God disappointed in you?
You may have had that experience; there was a teacher or coach you looked up to, a parent you tried to please, a boss who trusted you with some responsibility. Perhaps you tried really hard. But you didn’t measure up to what you believed they expected of you. You failed. And you got the clear message – verbally or nonverbally – that they were disappointed in you.
That feeling cuts deep into a young person’s soul. You don’t have what it takes. You’re not enough. Or you’re too much, or too needy. Or you’re not smart enough, pretty enough, interesting enough, talented enough, good enough. You didn’t try hard enough. Your self-image becomes, “I’m a disappointment.”
Is that how God feels about you too?
What about your father?
How did your earthly father feel about you? Be honest; did he care? Was he involved? Was he vindictive, harsh? Did he let you know he was disappointed in you?
Controlling, absent, harsh, or unpredictable – your picture of God is likely to look a lot like your earthly father. You may believe intellectually that God is good, and that He loves you. But at a deep emotional level your feelings about God, the expression you imagine on His face when He thinks of you, is likely to be a lot like what you experienced from your earthly father.
Even the best of earthly fathers falls short. And if you had/have a troubled relationship with your earthly father it will take even more effort – and healing – to develop a positive healthy relationship with God.
You may have forgiven your father, or even have a largely healed relationship with him now. But have you addressed the “father in your head,” and how that colors your experience with God?
“My Beloved Son”
When Jesus was here on earth He knew that God was His Father from at least age 12. When His earthly parents found Him speaking with the teachers in the temple He said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (or “about my Father’s business?”) (Luke 2:49)
Yet the man Jesus still needed to know how His Father felt about Him. At His baptism God spoke from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22)
Sure, Jesus as God knew this. And this word from God was also for the benefit of those who stood nearby. But we often forget how truly human Jesus was, with all the vulnerabilities, needs, and feelings we as humans have. He needed to hear from His Father.
And remember that God said this before Jesus had done one thing in His ministry – before preaching one sermon, healing one person, performing one miracle, calling one disciple, casting out one demon. God was pleased with Him not because of what He did, but because of who He was.
How does God Feel about You?
It may be easy for you to say, Well, that was Jesus. God doesn’t feel that way about ME.
But what does Scripture say? “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
Can you imagine God singing over you? He does! Think of God dancing to celebrate you, calling His friends to rejoice over you, throwing a party in your honor. (See Luke 15:22-24) You are the apple of His eye. (Zechariah 2:8) Yes, we’re using human words. But they are words God uses of Himself in Scripture!
I hear from people regularly who feel like a failure because they are still struggling with an enormous sin or problem that they can’t seem to break free from, or seem stalled in finding or fulfilling any purpose in life. And that sense of failure fuels a sense that God is disappointed in them.
But that’s not the picture of God Scripture paints. He delights in you!
God feels the way He does about you not because of anything you have done or not done, how clean or dirty you’ve managed to become, or any effort on your part. Just like with Jesus before He had done one thing in ministry, He delights in you because of who you are – His child.
And getting that reality into your system changes everything.
Hearing God’s Delight in You
If this is something you struggle with, here are a few suggestions.
- Unlock your story. If you’ve never done so, review your earthly family of origin – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Examine especially the “father in your head.” Journal about it.
- Write a letter. Imagine writing to your earthly father all you would like to say. But don’t send it! Instead, read the letter to Jesus, out loud.
- Invite God to Father you. Read the story of Jesus’ baptism in Matthew 3:13-17. Read it daily for a while. And ask God to speak these words to you; “This is my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.”
Experiencing God’s delight in you can unlock so much! God is not disappointed in you. And hearing His voice in this way will give you the security you need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in changing the things in your soul that need to be changed.
But it starts with hearing from your Father that you are His child, and He delights in you.
Your Turn: What has been your emotional sense of how God feels about you? Can you hear Him say, “This is my beloved child”? Leave a comment below.
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- A sense that God is disappointed in you keeps you stuck. But God delights in you! You are His beloved child, and He is pleased with you. (Matthew 3:17). Tweet that.
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