Pride vs. Relationship

Practically my whole life, I have attempted in different ways to get my biological father's attention and to make him proud. When I was still in school, I tried my best to always get the highest grades and achieve at the top of my class since he was a schoolteacher.

As an adult, I tried to become the young woman a parent would be proud of--a strong woman of faith, a mother of character and love. When I returned to school, I sought to make the dean's list.

Time and time again, I failed to get the attention that I desired. I never heard the words, "I'm proud of you."

I believed all these years that what I really wanted from my father was to hear those words.

And then it happened.

Last Sunday, I saw my father for the first time in over eighteen years. Obviously, much of the conversation was casual in nature. But several times things turned to matters of a more serious nature. Not once, but several times during our lunch, my father looked me in the eyes and told me that he was very proud of the person I had become, the mother that I am, the way that I have turned out.

But those words didn't touch or affect me the way that I believed all these years that they would. It wasn't that they were spoken casually or insincerely. It's that what I need isn't his pride; I need a relationship.

This afternoon, I realized how this is true about our lives regardless of whether we know our parents or not. We want people to be proud of us, but pride without relationship is empty. We seek acceptance and approval, yet even if the whole world gives it to us we find ourselves feeling as though something is still missing and lacking.

The Bible is filled with typecasts of God compared to an earthly father. Always, it is used to compare the goodness of an earthly father as being so nominal in comparison to the love of our Heavenly Father. But love is about relationship. We cannot love that which we do not know. In fact, love is at its core being known and knowing someone else regardless of our mistakes or theirs.

Pride is hollow without relationship and love. Acceptance without being known intimately is fake. This is, no doubt, why we have a God-shaped whole in our hearts; we long for love, relationship, and approval. Only God can give us all of those things.

Last weekend was a positive experience in my relationship with my father although it fell short of what I thought it might be when I heard those words. But better than that, it allowed me to learn new things about myself and my needs.

Thank you, Father, for protecting me, holding me, loving me, and accepting me as journey through this life. Continue to guide me, teach me, and counsel me as I grow in your love. In Jesus' name, AMEN.


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