Robert & Roberta Adair

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“I can believe the promises of the Bible for others but not for me.”

More specifically, “I can believe that God totally, unconditionally loves others, but I have trouble believing this for myself.”

Perhaps blogging is a strange way to process this one. But I’ve heard these phrases several times over the last month from friends – people with very different experiences but the exact same statement. I’ve also said this myself.  R and I went to a great training on an evangelism/discipleship tool in Tokyo last week, and I kept thinking that I don’t want to communicate something to others that I’m struggling to believe for myself.

When I was in Kosovo, there was an older male leader who I really wanted to approve of me. I got kind of nervous around him, though, and I think I babbled, reacted to stuff without thinking (instead of “responding intelligently”), and said and did even more than usual silly things around him. Then I would feel so stupid; later analyzing how I acted around him and guessing what he must’ve thought of me.

Now I’m 31, married, and have a kid. There are two older missionary gents in my region, and my interactions with and reactions to them are similar. I find myself babbling more than usual, critiquing stuff more than usual (in an effort to appear smart?), and blanking more than usual in front of them. Then I think, “I’m a grown woman! What is wrong with me? …and why do I want them to approve of me so much?”

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Maybe this is psychobabble and yet another thing I blame on my dad. That said, I can’t help but wonder if it’s connected. When I’m around older men who I view similarly to dad – gents who are smart, wise, and good, I often think they probably think I’m silly. Am I afraid my dad would’ve seen me this way? It’s easy to believe my dad loved me as a baby and young girl. But would he still? If he were to know me now, would he think of ways I disappoint him – that I don’t apply myself as much as I should, that I can be pretty annoying, that I am not a likable person? (in an effort not to sound too pathetic, I kept that last list pretty short

Do I think God views me this way?

And what does this say about me as a parent? (and a wife, sister, daughter, friend?) Of course it’s easy to love J now. He poops, sleeps, plays, giggles, cries, and makes fun faces as he explores the world.  He is so, so adorable. But what about when he’s a teenager? What about when he disappoints, hurts, or annoys me? Golly, I hope my love isn’t as weak as I functionally believe God’s love to be.

[as an aside: I’m lousy at hiding what I feel. If I feel disappointment, annoyance, hurt, or anger…or anticipation, gratitude, excitement, or joy…despite my best efforts (“Straight face. Don’t react. Keep it in.”), apparently everyone around me knows.  Or so R tells me.]

It’s easy to believe God loved me when I was a baby.  I think I can even believe that God can love me now like I’m still a silly little girl (just like I believe dad did). But does he (can he?) love/like me as an adult? I can believe this for others, but it’s so hard to believe for myself.

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