“You don't have to be perfect for me to love you. You are special to me, just the way you are”—words we all long to hear from our fathers.
Dads have this magical quality about them. Without even trying, their love and acceptance unlock a whole world for those on the receiving end. Their words and actions shape much of our reality. They seem to be inescapable indicators that we internalize as we determine if we are worthy, accepted and loved.
I’m sure you can think of all the times you did, or didn’t, receive this affirmation. For many, our dads did the best they knew how, but they never learned how to express this kind of acceptance and affirmation because they themselves never received such love. The negative impact they had may have been lasting, but it doesn’t have to permanent.
Whether we received this love from our fathers growing up or are still grappling with the wounds of feeling unloved or unwanted, there is better for us. There has always been and always will be a Father that loves us without limits. And the best part is, He loves us because He loves us, because He loves us, because He loves us… He loves because He is love (1 John 4:16). That means it’s never-ending because it’s His DNA. He is so much better than we could think, ask or imagine (Eph 3:20).
Even if we grasp this in our minds, it can be difficult to believe it in our hearts. If that's you, here are three tips to help you experience the Father’s love this Father’s Day:
1. “Any area that isn’t glistening with hope is tainted with a lie”
Recognize what is stopping you from receiving His love. Steve Backlund is the master and author of this quote. I love it! The enemy can never come as hope—only God can (John 10:10). If you read verses like Matthew 7:10, “How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” and believe that this somehow doesn’t extend to you, you, my friend, need hope in this area. Being able to believe and trust His truth is a powerful way to feel His love.
2. Do something you enjoy
Proverbs 13:12 says, “A desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” God loves to give you abundant life. He loves to love you! One of the ways He does this is by doing things with you that you naturally enjoy doing. He enjoys seeing how it makes you come alive—He created it that way. Feeling the sense of God smiling over you while you allow yourself to do something fun, guiltfree, is an amazing way to feel His love.
3. Just straight up ask Him what He loves about you
God tells us we hear His voice (John 10:27). Give yourself permission to trust this (hint: it’s usually the first thing that comes to mind). Ask Him something like, “What are three words you would use to describe me?” or “What is something I did today that made you proud of me?” You can come up with an open-ended question of your own, of course. To reassure yourself it’s God, simply make sure it’s loving and hopeful (because that's His nature). Hold it up to 1 Corinthians 13 if you have to. Hearing specific things about yourself that He loves and is proud of is extraordinary and a great practice to allow God to love you like He wants to. We’re dying to hear these things. So, take a risk and ask, even if it’s uncomfortable. I promise He has nothing but good things to say about you.
We were created by love, for love. I hope this Father’s Day you get to encounter a Father’s love like you never have before. Fathers play a unique and extremely impactful role in our lives. Whatever that role has looked like in your life, whatever the complications, challenges or celebrations, know there is a love you can trust. It is pure, true and eager to engage with you.