From Orphan Thinking to Fathered Thinking
You’re at an exclusive champagne reception at a world-renowned vineyard.
You’re a guest. You’ve got the right invitation, the right clothes and the right status but you’ve got a very different mentality to this set. Everyone else here looks like they belong and you’re trying hard to fit in.
You see, you never knew who your father was. Or your mother for that matter. You could have brothers and sisters… you’ll never know. You grew up an orphan.
The women who ran the home for abandoned children were nice enough but the other kids were tough, suspicious, broken. Just like you. You learned to eat with your arm around your bowl, keeping your head down and getting it into your mouth as quickly as you could before one of the other bigger kids grabbed it off you.
You learned to hide your stuff so it wouldn’t get pinched. Not that you ever had much stuff. Just the odd biro you nicked off a member of staff when they weren’t looking. But the few things you had, you clung to. If you had something that the others didn’t have they were impressed, they wanted it. It was status.
You learned to hide your feelings even better than you hid your stuff. Weakness wasn’t tolerated by the other kids. If they spotted a weakness in you they’d mine it for weeks, mocking you mercilessly till you learned to hide your needs, then deny your needs till you could function all alone. Your mantra became “I don’t need anyone. I look after myself, I can’t depend on anyone.”
You never knew what it felt like to have parents looking out for you. But your orphan mentality was a great motivation to do well. You learned to read people. You could tell who was out for themselves and who was a soft touch. You understood the value of money very early on in life and you hang on to it still, even though now you’re wealthy and successful. You deserve it, you earned it and you don’t see why you should give it away.
And here you are surrounded by the good and the great at a champagne reception. You’re a million miles away from that kid in an unwanted children’s home, a million dollars better off but still that lonely, closed in, independent orphan.
You want to fit in. You laugh a little too loudly, you dominate the conversation and talk a little too much – always about yourself of course - and a little too loudly. Your eyes constantly search the room to locate the most powerful, the richest and the most attractive. You’re constantly comparing yourself to them and manoeuvring yourself into their sphere for some reflected glory.
You love being served, you love the champagne – you calculate the cost per glass, you note the crystal champagne glasses, you check out the cars in the car park and note with satisfaction that yours is one of the most exclusive.
You’re greeted by the host. He unnerves you. He makes you feel something you don’t want to feel. Need. He’s an older man, comfortable in his own skin, generous, kind and that thing you try to avoid at all costs – a father figure. You watch him with his daughter – why on earth is she helping out the waiting staff? You note the easy way he puts his arm around her as he laughs and talks, quietly mingling between the groups standing around sipping his $50 a glass champagne. How relaxed they look around each other. You hate her. You hate him. You’re drawn to him, you want to be her. They unnerve you. They attract you. They repulse you.
They clearly come from money and have never gone without and you’ve scrapped and fought for every cent of yours.
You keep a close eye on your competitors, McDowell’s here and Ponsonby. You wonder what they’re up to, always suspicious that they’re trying to undermine you. You have a stab of anxiety, that familiar feeling that someone’s out to get you. You make a call, check everything’s ok with the stocks, the profit, the business. Everything’s fine but you can never quite relax. Convinced that everyone’s out to rip you off, to take from you. You don’t trust anyone and you try to buy trust from others with gifts and false compliments.
You have all the hallmarks of someone with an orphan spirit:
- Lacking close relationships
- Seeking status and value through success and possessions
- Valuing possessions over people
- Emotionally walled in
You’re at a champagne reception at a vineyard.
It’s your Dad’s vineyard and you’ve helped out with the family business since you can remember. You’re relaxed and happy, pitching in and helping to serve the champagne as one of the serving staff didn’t turn up for work today. You smile as some of the guests ignore you or bark orders at you. They haven’t twigged who you are yet, but that’s fine, it doesn’t matter.
Your Dad winks at you, he’s in on the joke and you share a moment. You watch him talking to guests and you feel proud. You notice how he pays special attention to those who feel uncomfortable. You think to yourself how it’s always the ones with the flashiest cars and clothes who have the saddest eyes. You reflect compassionately that it looks like hard work always trying to prove and improve yourself.
You work your way through the guests quietly, handing out your Dad’s best champagne – not worrying about the cost. He has more than enough to spare. He likes to be generous anyway. You’re relaxed. You’re enjoying yourself. You’re happy to be a part of what your Dad’s doing whether anyone knows who you are or not. You smile to yourself as a guest rudely dumps his coat on you without saying a word and waves you off. If he knew you were the Managing Director of this vineyard that exports the best champagne around the world. If he knew you could hire or fire on a word. If he knew you had power over the renewal of his distributors contract. He’d be pretty embarrassed right now. But it doesn’t matter. Because you know who you are. You’re the apple of your father’s eye and that’s all you need to be.
You have all the hallmarks of someone with the spirit of sonship (or daughtership):
- Not striving
- Feeling valued
- Not needing recognition or status
- Feeling loved
- Valuing relationship over success
Though most of us start off with that orphan spirit (even if we’re not literal orphans), when we receive the spirit of sonship and start to know in our hearts that we are dearly beloved children, then we can live like the son or daughter we are.
If you’re like me, you probably find you’re a mixture of both these people.
I’ve noticed this. When I feel the orphan in me being triggered, I can override it by focusing on my Father. Then I can choose to respond as a daughter instead.
It feels so much better.
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:15-16 NIV)
Holy Spirit please reveal to our hearts that we are Daddy’s son or daughter and change our orphan mentality of fear into a son or daughter’s mentality of safety.
Thank you that we get to hand out your sparkling champagne to others in our lives rather than compete with them.