404 Daddy Issues: Provision

Daddy Issues: Provision

The first foundation a father provides is provision. The ability to provide for his family is what brings life to a father and in turn brings life to his family. But provision is more than just bringing home the bacon. Daddy Issues: Provision I recently read a great article in Psychology Today that succinctly illustrates the perils of associating provision solely with money. Here’s an excerpt:

If all father’s functions were economic, if all his status was measured by how well he provided, the rich and economically powerful father became a potential tyrant; but the father who wasn’t rich and famous was an inescapable failure, a disappointment, a buffoon. The father’s position in the family was no longer determined by how well he functioned as a father, but was scored by his status in the eyes of the world, in a set of economic contests in which there were few men winning by being the richest of them all, and most men losing.

There is a danger in restricting provision to it’s financial aspect. To set provision in the right context, I’ve identified three key elements of provision based on the various definitions of the word “provide“:

1. Provision is food and shelter

pro·vide To furnish; supply: provide food and shelter for a family

The primary way a father provides for his family is supplying his family with what they need to live. The immediate interpretation is by means of working for a living. That’s definitely a part of it. But there’s more. It’s not just about bringing home a paycheck and collapsing on the couch at the end of the day. There are many ways to provide the basic necessities for living:

  • Providing food can look like cooking.
  • Providing food can look like shopping.
  • Providing shelter can look like building.
  • Providing shelter can look like maintaining.

When provision is relegated to a successful career, a father’s identity comes from his work. This is why so many men go through an identity crisis when they lose their jobs. This is misplaced identity is often passed along to his children, while still never passing down true provision.

2. Provision is opportunity

pro·vide To make available; afford: a room that provides ample sunlight through French windows

A good father will make available as many opportunities as possible. This is a healthy and vital part of a child’s inheritance. A loving father will know the heart of his children and encourage them to discover their gifts. He will not force them into activities and attempt to live vicariously through them. A good father will provide direction and as his children come of age, give them freedom to make their own choices and face consequences.

3. Provision is drawing boundaries

pro·vide To set down as a stipulation: an agreement that provides deadlines for completion of the work

A good father knows that healthy boundaries are vital for a child to thrive. He teaches his children that freedom and creativity can be achieved inside of these boundaries. He doesn’t use a complex system of rules to control behavior. A father’s boundaries clarify expectations for his children. They explain why to do things rather than simply what to do. Boundaries provide his children with a canvas and enable freedom to create within those constraints. A good father knows that neither a system of rules nor complete free reign are healthy for his child. He knows that by providing boundaries, he is establishing a healthy environment for his child to thrive.

God Our Provider

When we don’t receive these elements of provision from our earthly father, it becomes extremely difficult to believe that we would receive these things from our Heavenly Father. One of the most commonly referred to of the many names of God is, Jehovah-Jireh which is can be translated “The Lord will provide” (see Genesis 22:14). Provision is a characteristic of God. In his sovereignty he chooses fathers to put hands and feet on this concept. However because of hurt and pain, this concept of provision is often distorted. Some of us have experienced dads who refused to work or lift a finger in the house. Others have had fathers that made life difficult at every turn and created no opportunities to thrive. Still others have had long lists of rules which needed to be followed in order to earn approval or conversely had so much freedom that they didn’t know what to do with themselves. Regardless of what you’ve experienced with your father, God is faithful to show Himself as a provider. If we are able to step back and understand what God desired for our provision, we can face what we received or what we lacked in an honest way. We can forgive our earthly fathers for their shortcomings and receive what was intended to come to us directly from God. How has God provided for you in these areas when you were lacking? ***


  1. I think I was meant to find this…

  2. I love this article. I can say that I am lucky because my father is a good provider.
    Frank recently posted..Learn More About How to Get an FFL License

  3. Father must provide everything for his wife and kids most especially good living and right education for his kids. As a father, you must do your responsibilities as the leading guide to the family. Father who is responsible is really awe-inspiring.
    Nera Fuss recently posted..Male Extra Review

  4. As I’ve gotten older the roles between my parents and I have shifted.

    Due to my Dad’s unemployment which is not something I talk about or discuss, my Mom and I are the sole providers in the household. She covers bills and I buy food and other household items for about two years now.

    I will admit we have experienced some very difficult and intense moments due to his unemployment. My Mom and I feel that it his responsibility as a man to provide for his family.

    However, as time has passed and he is still unemployed we have both come to the agreement that it’s not his fault. While he could be doing better, He still deserves grace and I know God’s hand is in all of this.

    I empathize with my Dad a lot. He has always been a hard worker which is where I get my work ethic from and so is my Mom. At the end of the day, He needs us both. Because without us, we wouldn’t survive.

    From this experience I have learned the importance of family and while there have been times where I have been frustrated, angry, and hateful, I choose love and grace instead.

    Because at the end of the day, we all deserve it regardless of our circumstances.

    If I could ask, prayers are greatly appreciated.

    God bless you, Tony. 🙂

  5. AWESOME. Being independent missionaries means we live strictly on donations. The enemy consistently tries to snag me on the provider-is-financial thing. I have to remember there is a lot more to fathering than a full belly and good clothes. Great observation, Tony.
    Ken Hagerman(The Barba) recently posted..Stuff the Barba Likes

    • Thanks Ken. It’s been a cool lessons that God has taught me in this area. I’m definitely learning about it in this season of working part-time in ministry!

  6. Tony, one area I can improve in is providing opportunity. I do a decent job, but I want to do a great job. I don’t want to be sp protective that it stifles creativity in my children. God Bless.
    Juan Cruz Jr recently posted..Three traits of a leader

    • Ah yes, I’ll be talking about protection (and over-protection) in the next post! And I know that God is faithful to help you be the best father that you can. When we learn to be sons, we can be like our Father.

  7. God provides me with clarity – in my role as a Dad, as husband, employee, friend. When I’m lacking in a given area, He reveals to me how I’m falling short – but not with a dose of shame, with love and guidance. That’s how I know it’s Him – the world throws guilt and shame my way, and He does not.
    Justin recently posted..The Night Is Far Gone

    • That’s awesome man. I think the biggest misconception I’ve had of God was that he held shame over me. That’s the biggest lie I’ve exposed as I’ve learned to see Him as a Father.

  8. Great post, Tony. I’m really lucky that I had such a great dad. He worked a lot…and I mean A LOT, sometimes 2-3 jobs to provide us with necessities, but he always made time for us. And while he was strict with his rules – he always gave us plenty of room to grow 🙂

    • I love it, Cam. You are so blessed. I know WAY too many people that didn’t have a father present or didn’t receive very much if anything from him while he was around.

  9. Your dad is strong so he can do everything for his success. He worked hard just to provide the necessity of his wife and kids. That is an awesome father and hardworking one.
    Kimmy Morse recently posted..Nexus Pheromones Review

  10. I have seen God provide for me in some incredible ways the past three years. I’ve been praying for a full time job (and still looking for one – or at least a part time job that pays better), but God has provided in other ways – bills being less than they should be, money lasting longer than it should, surprise gifts coming in from people I never would have expected money from, gift cards coming in, friends cooking dinner for me, etc. In some way or other, God has provided.

    Now, I’m learning to trust him at a new level, as this year I have for the first time in my life, racked up credit card debt (had some car and home issues I couldn’t pay for). Looking at my finances right now, it won’t get paid off. With God, it will.
    Jason Vana recently posted..Finding Value in our Rest

    • It’s awesome to see how good God is when we pull back from our narrow view of what we think provision “should” look like. I love how you’ve been able to see the different ways He’s come through for you.

  11. I wrote a post just today on my Dad!

    God has provided in numerous ways, I can’t even begin to describe them, but I tried in my post.

    Great post, God deserves so much glory!
    TC Avey recently posted..My Dad…You Really Should Meet Him!

  12. Good post bro’ (you know I love posts on fathering!) Good Dads provide so much more than food, shelter, etc (all important)Look at the word closely…PRO-VISION…we show our kids a vision that is pro-them…for them! This is what God imparts through us and I’m so glad He does!
    Jay Cookingham recently posted..Tribute to My Father – Guest Post

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