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If early caretakers were malevolent, it might be difficult to develop an accurate view of God later in life. We tend to associate our caretakers and God to be similar in nature. This was the case for myself and it might be the case for you too.
When I became a Christian, many of my beliefs and views of my parents naturally transferred to my view of God.
Intellectually, I knew God was a loving father but it wasn’t something I personally experienced. Similarly, I never felt close to my parents and doubted their love for me. I didn’t fully trust God and His plans for me. I thought God had good plans for other people, but not for me.
My relationship with God was very rocky at first. In fact, I got so angry and desperate that I thought God was going to (or already did) abandon me, just like my parents. There were a few things I had to do to develop an accurate understanding of God.
1. Commit to praying and reading scripture
I called myself a Christian but I wasn’t being consistent with reading my Bible. I decided I was going to go “all-in” and see if God would be able to prove me wrong. I read my scripture daily for three months without noticing much of a difference. However, one day, as I was reading the gospels for a couple of hours, I felt a warmth within me. I finally began to feel that God was with me. Looking back, I think this “warmth” was the Holy Spirit comforting me and assuring me that God does have good plans for me, does love me, and will never abandon me. It was a life-changing moment.
2. Experience God
I realize not everyone has these moments but I do believe that God will reveal Himself to us if we ask. It won’t necessarily be automatic either. It took three months of me seeking and asking God. He answered my prayer, but I had to remain patient. Experiencing God can really change the trajectory of our lives and how we view Him and ourselves. I have a healthier and more accurate view of God (it’s not perfect) and healthier self-esteem.
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you,” (James 4:8 ESV).
3. Seeing a Biblical counselor
I didn’t see a counselor during this time in my life, but I believe it can help. A Biblical counselor comes alongside you on their journey and helps you discover why you hold these false beliefs and how to eradicate them. It helps a person stay accountable and be encouraged as they work through their feelings and views. Another option is to find an accountability partner to “do life” with.
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety,” (Proverbs 11:14 ESV).
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