A blog is an autobiography written as you're reading it.

Abba

Daddy…it’s not a word I’m used to using. Even when I was little, I quickly started calling my father ‘dad’ – it sounded more grown up. I remember when I must have been six or seven, scolding my little brother for always praying ‘Dear Jesus,’ and I instead prayed with the far more grown-up ‘Dear Lord.’

And Lord it’s been for the rest of my life. As I grew up, God stretched me. I learned to trust God with my life, and to love him for how he’s changed me. God planted in me a great desire to be ever more and more like Christ. Over the past few years, he’s challenged me to surrender my life fully to Him. I grew in my prayer life, and lately God has been growing my self-discipline.

God has been ever putting himself closer and deeper into the center of my life.
I thank him for the work he did in my life while I was growing up. But as I’m starting to take my steps into adulthood, God threw another puzzle piece at me. Because after all, life is complicated. Turns out there are some unexpected plot twists in my strand of the tapestry.

I’m good with the big picture. I see God clearly in the big strokes of marriage, career, education, and things like that. He’s been teaching me to trust him with the life-changing, life-shaping decisions like that. But where I fall flat is in the details of life. I’m a big picture person, not a nitty-gritty person. And adulthood is all about the details.

As if going into adulthood wasn’t enough, God pulled away the few people who had been constants in my life as I’d moved and traveled up until then: my family, and the woman I want to marry. It’s been extremely difficult to face life without them near me. When I most needed the support of the people I love, God took them away from me.

I was overwhelmed. Completely overwhelmed. Still am, to tell the truth. The past few weeks have been very, very hard.

This is where I found my missing puzzle piece. God has always been intimate with me, but at the same time he’s often somewhat distant. When I pray I ask him for lists of things to work on. I see him working in my life but it’s often through how he’s guided me to do certain things. I’m a doing person.

There’s nothing wrong with that. But doing doesn’t cut it in adulthood. There’s too much to do, I can’t do it all. And I’ve known this, as God has called me to surrender, and yet I’ve still attacked adulthood by doing things (I’m a stubborn person, and very motivated). So, over the past few days God has revealed another facet of himself to me.

God is my Abba.
He’s my daddy. He protects me and holds me tightly, no matter what. That’s a very vulnerable place to be in, and I’ve shied away from it a lot in the past. I’ve prayed succinctly, if repetitively, and have asked him for guidance as I live my life. I’ve worshipped passionately, and been overwhelmed by his glory and what he has done for me. But very rarely have I simply sat in God’s presence. He’s been showing me that I can just crawl into his lap and sit. I don’t need to ask for anything to do or tell him anything. I can just…sit.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. ~Matthew 11:28

Jesus himself did this. As he faced the most challenging situation of any human being: death on the cross – he prayed to God. In Mark 14:36 he calls God “Abba, Father.” This is a very close address. It’s a new way to come before my God that I had never even thought of before.

In my daddy I am learning peace and calm: I am learning for the first time in my life to just meditate on God himself and to be in his presence without saying or doing much. In my daddy I find the grace that is there no matter what I do. The people that God took from my side during this chapter can’t ultimately give me the support I was looking for. Only God can support me and hold me up, no matter how weak and worn out I am.

And I know he will give me those people back. I know that when I get married I will have my wife for support. I will have people for support. That’s not wrong. But what God is teaching me in this chapter is that my ultimate support must be Him. Only He can fulfill and satisfy that need.

My girlfriend and I have faced a lot of frustration being apart from each other. There are things in our lives that we can’t do anything about. I can’t hold her and protect her and keep her safe. That’s extremely difficult for me. I can’t lean on her for support. So, God is showing me that He is the only one who can satisfy my need fully (At the same time, he’s been showing me that only he can truly keep my girlfriend safe, even if I’m right there next to her).

And my God as Abba and my God as Lord do not contradict. Instead, they come together gloriously and I find a deeper, better picture of my God because of it. I need them both. When I look at God as my daddy I find a deep, abiding peace: grace that I often haven’t accepted. When I look at God as my Lord I find a humbling awe, and I am given concrete answers that guide me as I seek to live life and glorify my God.
And in both, as in everything, I find a continual pulling into the amazing truth of the Gospel that is anchoring my life.

It’s all of the sovereignty of God that I’ve treasured in my view of him as Lord, expressed in a much closer, rawer, and more intimate way. It’s God as my daddy, who loves me no matter what, and will hold me up even when I feel completely alone. And just as my majestic Lord is spinning the tapestry in all of its roaring thunder, so my loving daddy is watching over my thread gently and carefully, pulling it where it needs to go and keeping me safe as my story is written.

That is very freeing. Even though there is still a lot of hard work in adulthood, my salvation is not tied to working hard and living my life well. He will always support me, no matter how weak and worn out I am. He will protect me. He will handle the details. And I know that he’s writing my story no matter what happens.
In the last chapter, God began to teach me about living life to the fullest, and striving hard after God’s plan for my life. In this chapter, He’s beginning to remind me of how limited I really am, and push me to often rest and be secure in his presence and role as my daddy. And that’s the best place in the world to be.

I will always work hard to live life well. It’s who I am. But now, I am learning to rest in my God: to totally give everything up to him when I am weak and drained.
I am learning to rest in the arms of my daddy.

Who knows? Maybe he is calling you to the same place.

(Photo Credit John Carey)