My daughter, Emerson, was sitting in her carseat in the back row of the van as we drove home from dinner one evening. She was four at the time. Discipline was not her strong suit that day, and as evening came she got more and more out of control. She was angry with me because I I had corrected her pretty sternly at dinner.
She was scrunched down in her carseat, arms tightly crossed quietly fuming at me. Then I heard her tiny voice, speaking with great energy. “I don’t like you, daddy.” Then she went quiet. Even though she was four, it still stung a bit. It was a little slap at my identity and purpose as her father. A moment later she spoke again, almost like she was rethinking her position.
“Well… I like your beard… I just don’t like you.” That was so much better! My beard is magnificent. And since my beard hadn’t been a part of disciplining her, I can understand where she was coming from.
Watching my daughter work out her emotions toward me was fun, but her words stuck a chord. I thought about how many relationships I’ve had in my life with people who truly didn’t like me for me. They liked something about me: my performance, my loyalty, how I could support and encourage them. But their love didn’t extend to all of who I am.
I also realized that for a long time that’s how I saw God. There were certain things about me that God loved–my good behavior, my worship, my dedication. But there were just so many thing that didn’t line up with God’s wishes; God couldn’t really love all of me!