Why You Need to Understand Your Relationship with Your Earthly Father

It doesn’t matter if you are 20 or 60 years old, it’s important to understand how your relationship with your earthly father has influenced your life. There are many good things to be grateful for, but there is also much to learn from the pain, emptiness and brokenness. Those areas are prime real estate for a rejection mindset.

Rejection begins its destructive work in the parent-child relationship. It can work its narrative through wounded moments or painful experiences growing up. Rejection can also lock down on the empty areas of your heart, those places where they should have loved you and equipped you, but did not.

The problem is, you can have an amazing childhood and still battle a rejection mindset. Many parents throw up their hands because they don’t know how to deal with resistance to love they see in their child. They don’t realize that a rejection filter has been built up.

Developing Our Lens

There is no perfect parent, for only God is the perfect Father. But we develop our reference of what “father” is through our earthly parents, especially our fathers.

Many shrug off talking about how their father affected their life. Little do they know that a rejection mindset gains more power when we ignore places of heartache that need the tender embrace of the Father’s love.  

There is no need to hyper-examine, but there does need an awareness of how your relationship with Dad influenced your thinking and decisions. If you are having relationship struggles in marriage, parenting, friendship or every day life, there are probably rejection based issues that go back to your father relationship. Those who ignore this factor often have the biggest struggles being aware of their broken patterns and often wander without clarity on what fruitful living looks like. No one is immune to the broken experiences of life.

Our First Lens of What Love Means

Dad and Mom are usually the first people we meet in life. They have the most influential voice over our entire lives. As children, we receive what our parents say with wide-eyes open. What they say to us, teach us and model is imbedded in our hearts. Their actions or lack of action influence our belief system.

When you are a young child, you don’t have the ability to discern all the dysfunctional patterns taking place. You are just a kid, trying to have fun and go through life. It’s not until much later in life that we start to realize how certain patterns that are rejection based began their work.

At a very young age, children receive what their parents say with a wide open heart.  Their words and actions are “God” to you growing up. If they say something or do something that is toxic or harmful, you can easily be left to believe something is wrong with you. Rejection can enter from what your parents do not do, corrupting the voids that were never properly filled by them.

A Father’s Influence

As a Dad, I am daily reminded of the important role I have in my children’s lives. No matter where they go, my wife and I carry the most influential and important voice to their ears. This begins at infancy and continues on throughout their lives. Parents must learn to steward this responsibility well, as it deeply shapes the future of our children.

Your children initially learn to hear God through how they relate to you. If you are honest, you will see that you have remnants of your parents voices and perspectives echoing in your inner dialogue. How you look at yourself and process life comes from what they established.

Your Relationship with Your Father

I am reminded of when my son Maximus watches me with saucer-sized eyeballs as he walks by or observes me walking across the room. He is and always will be observing me, taking in how I do things and most importantly, how I see him.  

As he examines my movement, he is thinking, “There’s my Dad!” His heart is asking,

  • Is he proud of me?
  • Does he notice me?
  • Does he love me?
  • Do I matter to him?

As he grows, the questions will continue, such as, “Do I have what it takes?” These questions need to be answered by me, or He will not be able to hear them from Father God. In fact, the wounds an earthly father leaves will open us up to hearing from the father of lies.

Unfortunately, for a lot of men growing up, the responses to their questions speak rejection to their hearts.

  • There’s my dad walking across the room. Is he ever going to look at me?
  • There’s my dad leaving for work. Why won’t he look at me?
  • Hey Dad, do you want to go throw the ball? Oh, you’ve got to go to work.
  • Dad, can you come to my game? Oh you’ve got a business meeting that is very important.

Rejection uses negative experiences to disempower his sense of love, identity and relationship confidence. A filter gets developed that keeps him in dysfunctional patterns for how he finds love and fulfillment.

A Daughter’s Need to Feel Loved

My daughter Abigail watches me with a tender and wide open heart. She makes constant eye contact with me, her heart echoing the questions that billions of women carry all over the world. These specific questions can only be answered and fulfilled by me as her father. As she looks at me, her heart is asking,

  • Hi Daddy, do you love me?
  • Do you have time for me?
  • Do you notice me?
  • Am I beautiful?

Almost every day she walks up to me with a new outfit on, checking to see what I think. She’s looking for my approval of her beauty, which began as soon as she could even communicate.

Rejection would want to keep me in constant busyness or preoccupied with my own world, that I do not pay attention to the eternal blessing I can impart to my children.

Your Need for Fathering

The greatest thing my children need is not solely a father who provides financially. Above all, they need a father who is present, giving of time for relationship connection and empowerment. The devil uses a rejection mindset every time a father does not step into his divine responsibility.  

Next to living as a husband to my wife, being a father to my children is the highest level of ministry I could ever have. Yet I need to know that rejection would want to steal this from my life and block the empowerment I can impart to my children.

A Rejection Mindset’s Invasion

It’s important to know that anywhere that love is not present and activated, rejection seeks to invade. Initially, when I discuss what someone’s father was like, I often get reactions of defense. They will say, “I had a great dad. He loved me. He never told me that, but that didn’t affect me.”

Really? How’s that working for you?

Then I will often say, “So how did he equip you for life?”

This is where I get the blank stare.

It is one of the greatest reasons rejection keeps its influence in people’s lives. Growing up, you were not equipped for:

  • Growing in love.
  • Knowing who you are.
  • Living in healthy relationships as overcomers.

There can be the things your father did to you that allowed rejection in. But there are also the things he did NOT offer you that left you empty. This gave rejection room to lead you into empty pursuits of success, performance, addictive patterns and distorted mindsets.

Your relationship with your father sets the initial grid for how you will find love in life, how you see yourself and most importantly, how you interact with God.

A World-Wide Plague

The enemy has used rejection to capture the hearts and minds of people, which stems from a lack of a father’s love and equipping. Rejection from a father can leave a person without a sense of identity, and struggling with self-esteem, self-worth and personal value.

Struggles with drivenness and endless striving for approval will lead many to constantly feel they have to prove themselves in the world. Others will never even step out to walk towards greatness, because they lack the power that father-approval brings. Addiction, promiscuity and rebellious behavior stem from a lack of a father’s presence.

Furthermore, your relationship with your earthly father has an influence on how you get married, have children and pursue your calling in life.

This is why healing the father wound is one of the greatest needs we face today.