May My Posture as a Father Match the Posture of My Father

The word posture is defined like this: “position, condition, or state, as of affairs.”

In a physical sense, your posture is how you generally hold yourself. It’s not a static term, meaning that you always are sitting or standing or bending. All of us do those things a thousand times a day. Your posture, though, is the general position. In fact, it’s your posture that influences the way you hold yourself in all those other movements. It determines just how you stand or sit or bend.

That’s true in a physical sense, but it’s also true in other ways. You have a mental posture. You have an emotional and spiritual one, too. And most likely, you have a specific posture when it comes to the relationships in your life. This is your default condition as it relates to that person or people, and depending on who they are, it might be a posture of welcoming, of joy, of defensiveness, or resentment, or anywhere in between. Often, though, we don’t even realize that we have a posture; we only react in the moment. But our posture is what preconditions the way we respond in those individual moments. You’ve got a posture when it comes to you boss. And your spouse. And your closest friends.

And your children.

Fathers, that posture toward your children is something worth considering.

Once again, I’m not addressing individual responses to individual situations. Those will be wide and varied. What we should concern ourselves with is the bigger issue – the overall posture – that sets the groundwork for all those individual responses. So, dads, what is your posture when it comes to your children?

It’s worth stating that our posture toward our own children is at least influenced by the posture our own fathers had with us. That can go in a couple of ways – if we had great fathers, our posture might emulate his. Or if we had terrible fathers, we might – even to the point of overdoing it – be seeking to have a posture that is the direct opposite. But while we should recognize the influence our own dads had and have on the way we treat our kids, that should not be the determining factor in our posture toward our children.

Rather, our posture as fathers ought to match the posture of our heavenly Father. Which, of course, begs the question:

What is God’s posture toward us?

Once again, remember that we are not talking about the way God responds in specific situations, but His overall countenance and attitude toward us as His children. What is that posture?

You might answer with any number of singular words:

Love.

Grace.

Compassion.

Mercy.

All gloriously true. But another word comes to mind this week as we look toward Father’s Day:

Welcoming:

Welcoming is the stance of generosity, knowing that I have resources and authority that these children to not have. Welcoming is choosing not to hoard those resources and authority, but instead embracing the request coming from one who doesn’t have those things. Of course, one can be welcoming and not say “yes” all the time. But when we welcome our children to come to us, with our words, our eyes, and our tone, then our children will keep on coming even if the answer must be “no” sometimes.

Welcoming is the posture by which our Heavenly Father receives us. When we come to the Lord to present our needs, we thankfully don’t find a Father that is overburdened by such requests. We do not find one who rolls His eyes at yet another ask from His children, or one that wants just a few minutes without someone asking Him for something.

We find a welcoming Father in heaven. As such, we are actually commanded to come to Him with these requests:

“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6).

And again:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

This is where we find our fuel as fathers. It’s not from our own resolve or our worked up gumption to be more welcoming to these requests. Instead, we find our energy to receive the requests again and again through our own experience from our own welcoming Father. So as it is with Him let it be with us.

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