Strength of the Fatherless

I have a ton of insecurities. I may be the most insecure person you will ever meet. There, I said it. I feel a lot better…kind of, unless you think less of me, which then I take it all back. But, I can’t take it back. I hope I don’t disappoint you. What are you thinking of me? Does one conversation change how you feel about me? And so, my mind plays tricks on me and these questions are just the tip of the iceberg.

There are seasons that I feel like I am on top of the world. Everything I am striving for, every conversation I have, and every relationship I am in is catapulting towards bliss. In those moments, I feel so strong, so secure. I feel like I have finally overcome the insecurities that weigh me down. It feels like I’ve gone ten rounds, and come out on top against my biggest opponent, my inner voice.

No I am not schizophrenic, at least that’s what the voice tells me. I’m kidding. My inner voice, thanks to cartoons back in the 80’s I picture an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the opposite, is that part of my conscience that speaks one of two things, life or death. In those seasons, I feel on top of the world, my inner voice is whispering life into my heart and spirit and it is so sustaining. One feels invincible in this season, like he has armor on that nothing can penetrate.

On the flip-side of all of this life-giving strength, there are seasons where it seems as though, because I am not at war, I take my armor off and every little thing that could crush me, does. In these moments, I can’t reign in my thoughts. It seems as though my thoughts are going a million miles a minute and I am repeating every conversation I have had with people over in my head to find out if there is any encouragement that our relationship isn’t on the brink of disaster.

My insecurities push me into a perpetual need to feel others approval. As these seasons get darker and darker, my inner voice, or as Steven Furtick calls it, the Chatterbox, screams darkness as well.

The darkness even over shadows the rays of light to which Alissa, or anyone else, is trying to shine into my heart and spirit. Insecurity is selfish because it takes even the encouraging words and twists them to make you feel less and less human. It is hard to let someone in because it doesn’t feel like they will understand. And if I do let them in, what will they think of me? Will there thoughts be, “Just get over it Sammy. Everybody has these thoughts. Stop wallowing in self-pity and doubt. You are just being too weak.”

Studies show that fatherless people are more apt to be plagued with insecurities than those whom have a father, or father figure in their life. For far too long, fathers have failed to realize the impact they have on the lives of their children. You can also be fatherless and have spent your entire life raised with your dad in the home. If your dad was at home, but not present with you, it’s as if you grew up without him.

I am in no way saying that fatherless people have life any worse than those that grow up with both parents, or that people whom grew up with a father can’t have insecurities. I’m just saying, as a fatherless person, I am more apt to have insecurities. Fathers provide security for their family. This security also leads to him being able to give his kids identity and approval. The confidence in who we are comes from the security, identity, and approval our fathers give us.

Does that give me an excuse to allow my seasons of darkness to control me? Do these studies give me leverage to not overcome and to wallow in self-pity and doubt? What do I do? How do I find strength again?

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, when praying about his weakness and asking God to take it away,

“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works

best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about

my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work though me.

That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults,

hardships, persecutions, and trouble that I suffer for Christ.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

What a paradox! When I am weak, then I am strong. Our weakness brings meekness. It keeps us humble and in a state of desperation for God to do something better in our lives. Our weakness causes us to depend on God more, because when we feel strong, we tend to lack that need for Him to intervene.

Where this paradox gets me is if God is strong in our weakness, and God’s weakness is stronger than our strength, then my weakness, when submitted to God, is no longer a weakness, but a strength. Let that one soak in. If God is strong in my weakness, my weakness then ultimately becomes my strength.

My weakness isn’t solely found in my insecurities, but stems from my lack of a father in my life. This realization that my weakness is now made strong in Jesus helps me overcome my need for approval, my insecurities. But, I also see how it has made me strong in a couple of other areas of my life.

First, I am more present with my children. My father missed out on the best moments of my life; my wedding, the birth of my children, and graduating college, to name a few. Even when he was still living with us, my dad gave up opportunities to go to my baseball games just because he didn’t want to go. All of these missed opportunities of my father, drive me to want to be there for my kids. I am constantly reassuring them of my love and building on the security, identity, and approval they deserve.

Second, growing up with my mom as the leader of my house, I am sensitive towards other people’s felt needs. I care deeply for those around me and am more nurturing than I would have been had I grown up with my dad. Nurturing wasn’t his strong suit.

As Papa Roach so eloquently put it in their song, “Scars”, from 2004, “My weakness is that I care too much.” HA! Everything reminds me of a song.

I still struggle with insecurities. Most of the time it comes in waves. And the hardest times is when those waves crash into me so rapid, I can’t catch my breath. But, when the waves slow up and I’m able to stand, I have to remind myself of where my security lies (God is my Heavenly Father), where my true identity is found (I’m a child of God), and that God approves of me (He made me). And when I do this, He is made strong.

What about you? What weakness do you have, when submitted to God, you can see how it has become a strength? Leave your story in the comments below or sign up for my email list and let’s chat.

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