If the other day I wrote of love being more than they have to give, today I’d like to address the other side of that coin. Namely, how growing up with a marked lack of intimacy creates questions, and puts burdens on others they were not meant to bear. For you see, nature (and here I mean human nature) abhors a vacuum. If we don’t get the mother love and/or the father love we need in our formative years, we look to other people, to tbings, to substances to fill that void.
We put burdens on spouses, and friends, that were simply not meant to bear.
If the questions:
“Daddy, do you love me?” and
“Do have what it takes?”
“Am I pretty?” (in the case of a little girl)
Are met with stony silence, or outright hostility, we naturally question our worth. The inference is that we don’t have what it takes, and we will do what we can to find it. They are all questions asking the same thing:
Am I valuable to you?
If the message is that we’re not, then we’ll go looking. And it’s often a fruitless, and heartbreaking, search for identity. As a husband, and as a man, say that I go to my wife: I’m not going to get the affirmation of I’m looking for. Because she is a woman, and masculinity is something which is imparted. Besides which, having coming from a broken home, who is role model? My dad, with his philandering? Is that how a woman is to be treated? He took his question to the woman–and still hasn’t found what he’s looking for. Just a string of affairs, and two divorces.
And several disappointed kids.
The cycle of dysfunction set him up to fail, and that is the legacy he has handed down. I have learned I can’t look to him. Yes, looking to God is the answer.
Other than His Word, the Bible, God is largely silent in today’s world. It’s not like we can sit down with Him and have a face-to-face conversation. Oh, sure, we can have a heart-to-heart via prayer. And we know He loves us–the cross proves it. But sometimes we want arms, we need our daddy’s love. Let’s face it our hearts are fickle: when we don’t get what we think we need from:
We turn to people
And when people likewise let us down
We turn to things
But the things never satisfy
Leaving us longing for more.
It’s a recursive loop, like a serpent devouring its own tail. It’s nuts to be so needy, but growing up without those loves needs met leaves one very vulnerable to getting on this affirmation treadmill.
Because enough just never is enough.
And I know Jesus is the answer. I just don’t know how. My heart is fickle, and wants to go full on Children of Israel:
At least I knew Egypt, but like song by Sara Groves says, “Those places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I’ve learned. And those roads were closed off to me while my back was turned.”
Maybe it’s a trust issue, you know? Maybe you and I know that God loves us. But maybe we’re just not to sure about his people? Or we view Him like we view our earthly fathers? I just wish He would show up more often and help me make sense of my messy heart.
Is that too much to ask?
What do you think?