As I entered my preteen years, my younger sister landed the role of one of the orphans in the musical Annie. I remember belting out the tunes with her while listening to the record player of songs about life in an orphanage . . “It’s a hard knock life for us! It’s a hard knock life for us! Instead of kisses we get kicked. . .”. I loved watching the performance on stage, taking in the sounds and images of the orphaned children singing and dancing while declaring their “hard knock life.” I felt so relieved and happy for Annie when she was adopted by Daddy Warbucks.
I was far from an orphaned as child – I had a safe place to sleep and meals prepared, new clothes to wear, and parents who wanted good things for me and my brothers and sisters. Although I did not face the physical challenges of an orphaned child, some of the mindsets and experiences I encountered with while growing up left me feeling insecure, abandoned, and fearful. What are examples of an “orphaned” mentality?
- It’s not okay to have a need so I have no right to desire or ask
- Uncertainty of whether I am wanted
- I deserve the “leftovers” in life
- Nobody is looking out for me so I must protect myself
- I am stuck with my pain and life will never be different
When I came to know Jesus Christ while in college, I was adopted into the family of God as a beloved daughter. Ephesians 1:4-5 puts it this way, “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.” This verse affirms a “beloved daughter mentality”:
- I am always treasured and loved by my Heavenly Father and received into His embrace
In John 14:16,18 Jesus declares truth about what will happen when He leaves the earth, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. . . No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.”
- I am never left to live life on my own but instead have an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who gives me the strength to experience an abundant and meaningful life
Jesus addresses the security of knowing a Father who is able, capable, and powerful to meet every need. In Matthew 6:32, He provides this perspective, “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.”
- I have freedom to express my desires and needs because my Heavenly Father who has unlimited knowledge and resources anticipates and meets them as He filters through His wisdom what will be for my benefit and His glory
Romans 8:15 continues the theme of the benefits of belonging to God the Father by reassuring those who know Him of the following, “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
- I do not need to fear being stuck in my pain or in the patterns of thinking which harm me and others because I am united with God’s Spirit who transforms me into Christlikeness
To a certain degree we all experience an “orphan” mentality due to the nature of sin which separates us from God, ourselves, and others. We all can feel like we are unwanted, abandoned, and stuck. Yet God is calling me and you to live out our stories as beloved daughters who belong to an all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful Heavenly Father.
Sister, do you see an orphan mentality in yourself or others?