My book, Attainable Perfection, is so close to being ready for publication. As we are putting the finishing touches on the editing and formatting process, I feel compelled to share something from one of the final chapters. I know there are so many of us who have found ourselves at a place where we have all but given up.
Do you sometimes feel like God can’t use you because you have run so far from him? I have absolutely found myself at that point, and I lived full of guilt and shame and immense darkness.
If this resonates with you at any capacity, I pray the following reaches you. This is from Chapter 8 of Attainable Perfection.
So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.”
Luke 15:20-21 NLT
Have you ever gotten to the point where you feel like you can’t turn back? You may have thoughts like God doesn’t want to have anything to do with me because I’ve messed up so badly. That’s what is amazing about our Jesus. He loves us unconditionally. That means there is nothing that will make him not love us. His desire is for us to make sound decisions, but he doesn’t turn his back on us when we don’t.
It reminds me of the story of the lost son – the prodigal son. This is a story I love, and although I’ve known it by heart for years, I had not really stopped to think about anything other than the fact the son left his family, but he eventually came back and was accepted by his father. That was always the story as I knew it, but there is so much more.
If you haven’t heard it, I recommend you read Luke 15:11-32. A brief summary is that there was a man who had two sons. The younger one decided he wanted all of his inheritance early so he could leave and do what he wanted with it. He no longer wanted to live by his father’s rules.
Does that sound familiar? Does that sound like something you may have done at some point?
The father went ahead and gave him his money, and the son went wild with it. You name it, he probably did it. The bible says he “wasted all his money in wild living.” Eventually, his money ran out, and he had nothing left of the inheritance. He found a farmer who hired him to work with the pigs. Things were so bad for him, at one point he even considered eating the food the pigs were eating! He was starving, and no one gave him anything. He lived like this until he realized the servants working for his dad always had plenty of food, so he decided to go back and ask for a job from him.
On his way home, he practiced what he was going to say to his dad, but he didn’t even get a chance to say it. His father saw him coming from far away and ran to meet his son! He was so excited to see him. He didn’t care what the son had done. He was just happy that he was okay and had returned home. Rather than hire him as a servant, his father hosted a celebration with the best of the best foods and clothed him in his finest clothes.
Let’s take a closer look at what happened. The son took his half of the inheritance, and then he left. In our time, it would probably be the equivalent of going to Vegas and spending money on anything that one could spend money on: drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, gambling. He wasted all of his money, and he probably felt completely empty inside because he still didn’t have what he already had at home. He turned his back on his family, and he basically told his father that he wished he was dead.
My guess is he was surrounded by people – people he thought were his friends. I’m willing to bet as soon as the money ran out, his friends did as well. There was no one to turn to for help. He found himself starving and even thought the pigs’ food looked good enough for him to eat.
Don’t you think he felt stupid, for lack of a better word, when he realized what he was doing and what he had done with his life? He realized that his father’s servants were taken care of better than he was at that time and decided to go back, not as a son, but as a servant for his family. He probably didn’t even consider being forgiven by his dad for what he had done. As a matter-of-fact, he wasn’t even sure his father would allow him to be a hired servant.
What do you think his thoughts were when he was alone, in his head, while traveling back in the ultimate walk of shame? Scripture says he was so nervous that he practiced what he was going to say the whole way home.
How many times have you found yourself doing that very thing – practicing an apology you are so shameful of even having to give?
What do you think he felt when his father RAN to him and embraced him with such joy? Wow! What a feeling that must have been!
How can this relate to you in any way?
Oh, sweet friend, I know it might seem like it’s just a story and that it doesn’t affect you in any way, but it absolutely does. Is there an area in your life where you have completely messed up? I mean, have you messed up so badly that you honestly feel like you’re doomed? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard girls who want so desperately to make a change but feel like God will never accept them because of their mistakes. I remember feeling those same feelings myself. It’s simply not true, though. Those feelings and thoughts are lies the enemy is telling you in order to keep you at your lowest.
God loves you so much. Do you know he died for you while seeing you at your very worst moment? That moment where you hit rock bottom; that’s when he died for you.
Stop right now and think about that. What do you consider your lowest point? Picture yourself right at that moment – what you were doing, who you were with, what you might have looked like to someone who just walked in. That’s what Jesus saw when he died for you.
And you know what is even more amazing? He STILL chose to die for you!!
You don’t have to pretend to be someone else around him because he’s just so incredibly thrilled that you’ve come back to him. He doesn’t even wait on you to get completely there. He RUNS to you with open arms because he is so ready to hold you tightly and love on you with a love no one else can give.
You are his daughter ~ his princess. Please don’t ever feel like it’s too late to come back home.