I am a father of four kids. Although I make a lot of mistakes parenting my kids, being a dad is definitely the area of my life where I find the most success and it’s probably because it’s the area of my life where I most readily admit my shortcomings.
My eight-year-old daughter Reagan, my only daughter, has had me wrapped around her finger since the day she was born. There is literally nothing I wouldn’t do for her, and at times that has actually been a problem. At times, she has become so dependent on me that she is unable to spread her wings and really grow. I don’t allow her to establish faith, because she is instead often being reinforced to only believe it when she sees it. Nowhere has this been more evident, than with her nightly bedtime routine.
As an infant, I found myself in her room holding her each night until she fell asleep. As a toddler, she would be placed in bed while I sat next to her and held her hand. As a young child, sometimes I would find myself actually climbing into her twin-sized bed or sitting right outside of her doorway so that she could see me, as she drifted off.
Over the course of the last year, as she has grown up, her need to see me, to feel me, to know I am there has actually increased, but the fault is not hers. It was all mine. The truth of the matter is that last year, at around this time, I moved out of my house. I was spiraling, struggling, and desperate. I was destroying every relationship around me because of my own doubts and insecurities and decided that going elsewhere was actually the best thing I could do to support everyone else. I spent three months living in an apartment by myself while I began going to counseling, adjusting to medication, and trying to make sense of my life. While I was working hard on me, my daughter and all of my kids began to really struggle. My absence caused doubts, confusion, and anxiety for them. Luckily, by early spring, I was back in my house and ready to keep growing. As I moved back in, the hugs that I received from each of my kids was a strong reminder of how much they each needed me.
Since that time, however, my daughter has needed me desperately each night. The fear of waking up and finding me gone was oftentimes overwhelming for her, until, this week. This week, on Monday, to be exact, she informed me that she no longer needed me in her room or by her door at night. She let me know that she believed I wasn’t going anywhere and that if she really needed me, she knew I would be available to come help. She didn’t need to see me to know I was there.
How many times in my own life have I felt like my little girl? How many times have I felt like I didn’t have someone to lean on or to support me when I really needed them? How many times did I believe that if I couldn’t see something, I couldn’t feel something, then it wasn’t true? If I didn’t have data or evidence to back up my beliefs, it simply wasn’t real. I was guilty of this at home and at work. Fear would paralyze my decision making. Fear would stunt my progress.
How many times have I handcuffed others by making them doubt because of a lack of evidence? How many times have I forced others to “prove it”?
In my own life, how many times have I doubted friendships, relationships, God, and my family because of my own fears and insecurities? How many people have I rejected by asking so much of them that I actually push them away? How many times have I felt rejected and abandoned and all alone, when in reality others were always available if I simply reached out?
As I write this, for full transparency, I am at another point in my life where I am struggling with loneliness again even in a world where I am surrounded by people. I am struggling to not feel rejected and abandoned. I struggle often, because of what I see and what I perceive, but that’s why I need faith.
Faith and trust at times are synonymous. They both require us to believe with a lack of evidence. I have trust that I will make it through the day. I have trust that others will reach out to me today. I trust that someone out there reading this will be able to feel stronger and more validated simply knowing they are not alone. Where trust can sometimes be shaken, faith is unmoveable. I know that there will be times when others let me down, where I continue to feel alone or rejected, where I no longer believe in a person or a process, but my faith tells me these things are temporary.
As you go through your days, your weeks, and your life, if you ever begin to feel alone, have faith that those feelings are temporary. Trust that there are others out there, ready to come hold your hand, to give you a giant hug, and remind you that you matter. Whether others have walked out on you or you have walked out on them. Whether you feel insecure or overconfident. Whether you fake it or show it. I am here. Just reach out and let’s do life together. Have a little faith and it can change your world. My personal cell is 734-377-3457 My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Just call. Just reach out. We got this. Have a little faith. It can move mountains.