I wish I could truly understand this. My mind gets it but not my heart. I seem to be stuck in my childhood narrative of "shoulds" -and "have to's" otherwise I would've been punished. That mindset has destroyed much in my life. The concept of having a choice to love, and without fear seems so freeing but unattainable. I keep reading everything on the topic hoping it clicks.
Sometimes I feel the same way, but then I have to remind myself that the Word of God says, "Of ourselves WE can do NOTHING." Even Jesus said, "Of my own self, I can do nothing, but it is the Father IN ME who does the works," (I may have missed a word or two there, but that is basically what it says). So I have found soooo many times in my life when I just COULD NOT FEEL my love going back towards Him, many times because of horrific circumstances I found myself in, but as soon as I realized that I was fighting a LOSING battle with MYSELF, I would say this to the Lord, "Lord, I have tried and failed so many times, and I know I should know better, but right now I am at the point where I have no other choice but to say, "IF YOU DON'T DO IT, IT WON'T GET DONE, BECAUSE EVEN YOU SAID THAT WITHOUT YOUR FATHER, EVEN YOU COULD DO NOTHING OF YOURSELF, SO LORD, I KNOW YOU ARE IN ME, SO PLEASE DO THIS THROUGH ME, AND LET ME KNOW THAT YOU RECEIVE MY INTENT AT LEAST TO TRY TO SHOW YOU THAT I DO LOVE YOU, EVEN THOUGH SOMETIMES I CAN'T FEEL IT." Then many times, before I have even finished saying that to the Lord, it's as if HE ALREADY knows the intents of my heart, and He allows me to feel that assurance that He does hear me, and He does know the intent of my heart - to love him, and sometimes with this assurance I feel something wonderful, and sometimes I don't really FEEL anything, but I still get an assurance that He does hear me, and that my prayer is answered. I don't know if that makes any sense to you, but that has been my own experience, and hopefully it can maybe help you in some small way, but in the end ... it is ALWAYS the Lord who has to do the work, because of ourselves, we can do NOTHING. And I KNOW that HE already knows the intent of your heart, but sometimes, for reasons not known to us, we have to wait on Him a while before we receive an answer, (faith for the substance of things hoped for), but He always answers, sometimes yes, sometimes no, and sometimes.... wait a while - it's not quite My, (HIS), time yet. Oh, and remember (you mentioned your childhood), try not to get your Heavenly Father mixed up with your earthly father, who was born into sin just like we were, and certainly does not have the same wisdom as your Heavenly Father - try not to compare the two, or you could set yourself back. God Bless you.