Over the years I have enjoyed reading. During my early twenties I started reading a lot of different types of non-fiction. I have always loved a good story, but as I was becoming an adult true life stories to over my fascination. I was in a time of my life when I was trying to discover the definition of self. I remember one particular book asked the question if you rated your life from one to a hundred ‘How deserving are you?’. What shocked me was my honest answer was not one hundred percent, no I would have loved to say in all certainty that I believed in myself. Instead I started with an answer of 85%, but then a small voice filled my head and said ‘no its lower’. Was it 75%? The voice didn’t agree, instead I believed that I was only 65% deserving of my life. At first I didn’t understand how I could believe such a thing about myself. I knew that self-confidence was important. It wasn’t like I completely hated myself. Although I don’t think a percent who doubts their own worth has true love for themselves. Instead I questioned my worth not because I didn’t have people who loved me and supported me. I like so many people often do, I could not trust that this frail small person traveling along her way could ever find favor in life. I lived in a word where no matter what I did, I would never be good enough.
I had grown up in the church. I was a christian from the young age of five, which is the first time I asked Jesus to come into my heart. I knew even then that no matter where I went in life I would always have him by my side if I only asked. I did not really understand this fully, but I felt like it was something I must do. Not because it was expected, but because it was what I needed. I took many turns in my life. I went out into the world, and even though my faith never fully left me. After all once you ask Christ in, his promise is to stay with you. I did however stop going to church, stopped reading the bible, stopped praying unless I really needed something. I am sure a lot of people pray like that. The pray only comes when something tragic happens and you have nothing left to do but pray. Or maybe you only pray to ask for things like a good job, or new car. Well, that’s what I did for a while. I became wrapped up in my own struggles and world.
Today I was reading Luke 15, the parable of the lost son. To paraphrase the story the son takes his inheritance and goes out into the world and basically blows all of his money. Then he has nothing. For a while he is too afraid to return home, but eventually he does. He thought surely his father would at least give him a job among the servants. To the son’s surprise the father rejoices in his return.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Letʼs have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
In many ways I can relate to how he must have felt. The son still loved his father as he went into the world. He just wanted to make his own way, have a bit of fun. He did things the father would not approve of. It wasn’t until after graduating undergraduate school that I walked away. As I look back at taking my inheritance, it became about trying to decide what I believed. I was no longer certain that I believed in Jesus because it was something I wanted or something my family and friends wanted. It was a time when I had to discover the truth for myself. I was not a bad person even though I was questioning my faith. I look at this time in my life as great growth. I spent all my inheritance in the world and had ups and downs.
Then as I looked around and had nothing left. Like the prodigal son, I turned to my father. I walked into a church that changed my life. The very first sunday God sent me a messenger, to remind me how much he loved me. At the end of the service as we sang one last song, a stranger came up to me and asked to pray for me. As she started praying, the words she spoke poured into my brokenness with love. She shared an image of a little girl wrapped in her father’s arms. She spoke truth about how Jesus had never left me. I was the prodigal daughter who had come back to my father’s house and he was sending his servant to bring me a robe of love. Over the last two years he has been there every step, as I healed, as I became whole, and as I said yes. I discovered my worth. I can now answer the question ‘How deserving are you?’ and answer 100%. My heart is full with his love. I am sure that there will be times I stubble like a small child he will always be there to scoop me up. To wrap his arms around me, and sing a song of celebration. I know it is because of him. I know with every breath I posses, that I am worthy of his love. Not because I am perfect , but because I am his child. Just as you are his child, have faith that you are 100% deserving. Run to the father’s arms knowing he too will scoop you up and carry you through.
Romans 8:14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.