“How am I doing?” I can almost feel myself giving this kind of response to my mother. Having a “people pleasing” personality and a mother who was rather domineering,” how I was doing,” was very important to me, as I wanted to please my mother. I never knew how to please my father, because he was mostly emotional absent in my formative years. “How am I doing?” has been a kind of mantra in my life in an unhealthy way. I have come a long ways in being God’s man rather than being overly influenced by others. But I still am working on my desire to please when it come to my heavenly Father. I have to watch that it is not performance, rather than a relationship.
We can easily think of God like a parent who want to see us on our best behavior. So we can tend to go to God in pray when we have nothing to hide, feeling pretty good about our journey. Richard Rolheiser has observed, “Because we don’t understand what prayer is, we treat God as an authority figure or a visiting dignitary – as someone to whom we don’t tell the real truth. We don’t tell God what is really going on in our lives. We tell God what we think God wants to hear…What’s important is that we pray what’s inside us and not what we think God would like to see inside of us.” Wow!! This sure has been my story for longer than I care to acknowledge.
Remember men, God is your loving heavenly Father, who love you as you are not as you think you should be. Along with the Psalmist we should, therefore, rejoice in God intimate awareness of who we are, and not hide from intimacy with him. “You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too – your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful – I can’t take it all in.” (Ps 139:3-6 – The Message).
If prayer, which is the expression of our personal relationship to God, is to be meaningful we need to accept that every feeling and every thought we have is valid. We can stay away from prayer just when we need it the most. So be honest and real. Listen to Jesus’ words, “This world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.” (Matt 6: 7-8 – The Message) So men, don’t get caught up in those performance traps or spiritual improvement projects. Just come to your heavenly Father as you are – in desperate need of his grace and mercy.