Accepting My Worth
I was asked to write a post expressing my views on what being a son of God is and all it includes, and this will be my attempt. There will be many things that I may not touch on because in my walk with Dad I have yet to reach them. The first thing I will say about being a child of God is that it is an ongoing event and lasts for the rest of eternity. There is no end game or goal to achieve to be able to say “I’ve made it.” Just to introduce myself briefly, my name is Nick Dowdy. I am 22 years old and have lived in the Galax-Carroll County-Fancy Gap areas my entire life. I accepted Christ my freshman year of high school and have been trying to figure life out ever since. I was introduced to the idea of being a son of God when Ronnie Webster came to live in Fancy Gap in the summer of 2015. I had been following Christ for four years at this point in my life, but under Ronnie’s teaching and leadership I was introduced to a side of Dad I had never seen before. Ronnie introduced me to the concept of what it means to be a son of God and how much deeper this relationship I have with God could go. I was under the naive impression that I knew all and had this following Jesus thing under wraps before I met Ronnie, but oh how far from the truth I was when I had this mindset.
If there was one word that I could use to sum up the entirety of being a son of God it would be identity. As I continue to grow in my sonship I learn more and more about myself. I become aware of the negative traits that developed from my childhood and become aware of the things God says about me in contrast. Both of these identities collide and cause an internal battle that results in me choosing to draw closer to who Dad created me to be. This process includes Holy Spirit pointing out things that I’ve chosen to believe that do not line up with what the Father says about me, and once it’s been brought back to the surface, replacing it with the truth. In this post I will go into some details and open up to you readers about what this process has looked like in my own walk. It’s time to get messy and vulnerable with it.
To walk as a child of God is to walk securely in who Dad says you are. This is something that takes a daily effort and intentionality to achieve, but is impossible to do when we are holding on to the past or choose to ignore the trauma we experienced as a child. Some may be able to say they grew up in a household that had both parents in the home, were loved well by their parents, and had little to complain about, but the fact remains no parents are perfect besides our Father in heaven. One of my friends puts it this way, “Hurt… real or imagined is still hurt.” We all have some kind of hurt at the hands of our parents, rather our parents hurt us intentionally or not. We cannot possibly walk in the freedom of our identity if we never deal with these hurts specifically. This process takes time and you may be dealing with things for years. I have personally been on the road of the Holy Spirit bringing up things from my past that need forgiveness for the past two years. Every moment where I see growth in myself I hold dear. I’d encourage you to do the same considering how long this process will be. Baby steps are good and they are cute, so do not be ashamed of them.
There have been many specific things that Holy Spirit has brought to my attention that I have needed to revisit from my childhood. These things up to this point have had to do with my parents, more specifically my mom. Before I go any further, my parents did the best they could with what they knew and had. They could only give what they had. My mother and father both love me very much and are people who have had their own problems to deal with in life, but did their best to raise me correctly. The point of putting these issues out for the public to read is to not put them in a bad light, but to practice vulnerability and to show the practicality in this process.
The first example I wish to share with you all has to do with my mother and the relationship I have with her. My mother and father divorced when I was very young, and my brother and I lived with our mom full time. It broke my heart when my parents split up, and my world felt like it had been shattered into pieces. My mother was a very loving parent, but had so much hurt and bitterness toward my father that it caused her to be emotionally abusive toward my brother and I with no other outlets. My brother and I both wanted nothing more than to get away from the emotional abuse we experienced with our mother, so at the age of fourteen, I moved in with my father, who at this time was newly alcohol/drug free. After this decision, something caused a divide in the relationship between my mother and I. This relationship has yet to heal completely even though its been eight years. Once I began this process of specific forgiveness, the Holy Spirit would bring memories back that I had buried down deep inside myself hoping I’d never revisit again. My mother’s absence from my life wounded me deeply and has affected me in many different ways. This absence taught me to put up walls to keep everyone out, because I would do everything in my power to avoid feeling abandoned again. This is not okay. This affects my relationship with God, people, and myself. These walls cause a lack of intimacy that I so desire to have in my life, but I would be baffled when that intimacy I desired was not there. This is no way for any person to live. This is not what Dad God has in mind for His kids, but so many of His children accept this lesser reality compared to the freedom He has promised us as His children. We choose to live as orphans with broken hearts rather than learning what it means to connect with our Father.
To be reconciled back to the truth of my sonship and push out my orphaned attitude, the Holy Spirit has helped me work through the hurt that my mother caused me as a young child. How He has done this, as I’ve mentioned, is brought up past hurts that need forgiveness during prayer time. More times than I can count, I was praying about a situation in my life at the time, just chilling with Dad, and then this really horrible memory will come out of nowhere, leaving me asking myself, “What the heck, man? I just want to be happy and enjoy my time with You.” I would then hear and feel the prompting to forgive my mother for whatever situation may have been brought back to mind. This forgiveness looks like me speaking it outloud rather than just inside my head. Power can be found in the things we speak out so I would encourage you to do the same. There have been certain situations that have been brought back to my attention more than once because I needed to go through forgiving her again. Forgiveness is like stepping in dog poop. You can clean off the majority of the poop from the bottom of your shoe, but you’ll end up having to take the time to get the poop in the hard to reach places out to rid of it fully. Forgiving those who have hurt us in the past does not have to be for that person’s benefit, but for ours. We forgive so that we may move forward from the things holding us back. Forgiving someone does not mean you are required to seek reconciliation. Remaining bitter toward someone is like drinking poison yourself and hoping the other person dies. In this way you are doing nothing but hurting yourself.
The other way Dad God has helped me to work through these past hurts is by giving me dreams. Emotions have always been a second thought in my life due to the way I dealt with problems. I thought to myself, “If I do not feel them they aren’t there,” so I would stuff them away. This being the case, it would be very difficult for me to remember what I had actually felt during my childhood traumas. Through dreams, that seemed to be as real as my love for Star Wars, Dad God has brought those feelings back to the surface so I can work through them. Feelings that I thought were buried down at the bottom of the deepest abyss surfaced because my God will stop at nothing to bring me to freedom. These dreams have also included promises from God of how I will break generational curses that have been in my family line for too long. These dreams have given me insight to how to mend my relationship with my mother. One dream put me in a place to recall the shock, hurt, and confusion I experienced as a child when I received the news my parents would no longer be married. I can tell you that one was extremely hard to work through because the dream had made those emotions so real it was as if I was five again. The reason dealing with the past is so important is so that we may live a life in the present free from it. If we never revisit the past, it will control areas in our life in ways we have no awareness of. Our relationships, emotions, life decisions, and view of ourselves and others will simply be a product of our past rather than the greater reality God has called us to as His children.
The final example I wish to share with you from my life that has contributed to my identity as a son is a moment on intimacy I shared with my Father during worship. Throughout my life I have felt the need to fight to simply earn my place with my family, friends, and basically anyone I’ve come in contact with. “If I have nothing of value to offer to people, they have no need for me and will not give me the time of day.” This mindset I walked around with could be described as an orphan’s mindset. All of my value and worth was twisted up inside this idea that I must prove myself to be an asset. If I could not be an asset or felt that my usefulness had run its course, then there would be no need for me and people would walk out of my life.
This type of thinking carried over into my relationship with my heavenly Father as well, which has kept me from connecting with Him in a healthy emotional manner. Our relationship/faith with/in our Dad in heaven should not be solely based on emotion, but to ignore the importance of emotion is foolishness. To try to only have an intellectual relationship with your Father is to cheat yourself out of true emotional security and understanding.
For the first five years of my Christian walk, I made my relationship with God purely about sound theology and doing all the “right” Christian things with the “right” Christian people. This was my attempt yet again to earn my place in the Father’s heart as I have in all my other relationships. It is important to note that I knew I was not earning my salvation as this is impossible for us to achieve, but I was trying to earn Dad God’s love because that’s all I had known in life to do. A way I’ve been working through this is during worship sessions I pray that Dad will connect with me emotionally in these moments and break down the walls I’ve put up. Every time He has come in just like a wrecking ball and tore it all down to get to my heart and these have been the most beautiful experiences ever.
Once at a worship session I prayed these same things and I found myself weeping at Jesus feet. I wanted to give my all to Dad in this moment, and that is exactly what I was going to do. It was an extremely small group of guys, so if you were singing others were hearing it, and I did not let that stop me. I gave my all in this moment of worship, and it was as if it were just Dad and I in His majestic throne room. I was singing my heart out to Him telling Him how worthy He was as this was the lyrics of the song we were singing. Then, it was as if He got my attention as He was sitting on His throne letting me know He had something important to say, so as anyone in the presence of a King would do, I became quiet, gave Him my undivided attention, and listened intently. The words He spoke to my spirit were, “Thank you for calling Me worthy, but you must know you are worthy too.” Since I have always struggled with accepting I have worth to people outside of the things I can do for them, hearing this from my Father in heaven broke me. Better to say, it broke my walls of protection. I began to sob uncontrollably. My Father took the time to stop me from doing anything at all to speak and tell me that I am worthy. This was not another bit of head knowledge to add to my collection, but a tangible moment with my Dad that has impacted my heart. These types of moments are what it takes to transfer the information we have learned of our Heavenly Father from our head to our heart.How can we sum up what it means to be a child of God? Being a child of God is messy and hard due to satan being a butthead, but the only thing worth our all in this life. My sonship at this point has been learning to love myself for being me. Not so that I can love others better in the future or have a successful ministry, but because I am worthy of love. You are worthy too. Do you believe that? I am determined to walk in my identity and become the child of God I was meant to be. I encourage you to do the same. Do not settle for any reality that is lesser than the one Dad has for you as His beloved son or daughter. We have a promise found in 1 John 4:17 that I will leave you with. It tells us exactly how God feels about us in the here and now. This verse tells us as Jesus is in heaven right now, so are we in this world. Every quality that Jesus has as a child of the Father applies to us no matter our current situation or how we may view ourselves. It is time we plant our flag in the ground and fight for ourselves because God says we are worth it.
If you’d like to read more of Nick’s thoughts you can check out his blog here: