“I don’t need to engage emotionally with the Father.”

Recently, I had a conversation with someone about being authentic with our Heavenly Father, our Abba. She told me how she “just isn’t an emotional person,” and how emotional connection with the Father “sounds great for people who have that need.”

We hear this quite often.

It is an awkward thing to consider coming into our Father’s presence barefooted, hair disheveled, and clothes unkempt. After all, isn’t that what emotional honesty is: Messy? I tried for years to clean myself up and pull myself together for His sake. I’m not even talking about asking forgiveness of sin-I understood the elementary concept of grace. I’m talking more so about “getting my house in order.” Performance.

I remember, once as a child, playing over at a friend’s house. His dad was very austere, and didn’t seem to like children. As I was in the back yard, pretending to be on some adventure and wearing a snorkeling mask and flippers, I heard the man call for me. I was afraid of him being upset with me if I responded too slowly, so I ran as fast as I could to him. At the same time, however, I was more afraid that he would be displeased with me showing up in a mask and flippers, so I tore them off my body as I sprinted around the corner toward him.

I still tend to do that with my Abba in Heaven. I still have moments of fear that He will look down on me for running up to Him in my play things, sweaty and out of breath. And yet, that is how He loves me; He wants me to be with Him, and express to Him the exuberance and elation of the good times, and the pain and loneliness of the sad times. He wants me, and all of us, to come to Him as little children-as His little children.

As I spoke with this woman about how she just doesn’t relate with the Father emotionally, I asked her a final question. “I know you have recently lost a dear, old friend in a car accident. I know that you mourned and wept. Did you, at any point-at several points, call out to your Father in Heaven, and pour out your heart to Him, with all its hurt and sadness?” Of course she had. We all do. And as she poured herself out to her Heavenly Father, she was emotionally honest with Him. She connected with Him. He hurt with her. He ministered to her. She experienced oneness with her Abba who loves her dearly.

This is where we often miss the reality of our connection with our Father. We tend to be emotionally honest with Him on our terms, perhaps only with the emotions we feel safe expressing. Perhaps with the only emotions we are engaged with ourselves. May we always look to join with our Abba in our happiness, in our gratitude, in our fear, in our anger, and in any other emotion He has blessed us with.

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