The source of the majority of our struggles in this life is a mistaken identity. We’ve forgotten who we really are, and taken on the identity of someone we were never intended to be. We were never made to be lazy. Never made to be overwhelmed. Never made to be so worried. We were never made to be negative, distracted, unhealthy and unbalanced. And when we show up day after day to drag ourselves through life as a person we were never created to be, we lose our way. My sister, have you forgotten who you truly are? Have the voices of others drown out the voice of your creator? Is one of the voices your own?
The story of the Prodigal Son is one of my favorites. Every time I study it, I learn something new. It’s the story Jesus used to teach us the love of a Father for his child who forgot who they are, and their journey back to their true selves.
Luke 15: 11-24:
Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
Have you ever messed up? Have you ever gone down the wrong path, been irresponsible, focused on the wrong thing and did it the wrong way? Every single one of us have, and guess what, we will likely mess up again in our future. Probably today. But the Prodigal Son reminds us failure is not fatal. You have a loving heavenly father who is just waiting for you to realize who you really are, and start acting like it.
Who are you? Really, who are you? You are the blood bought, battle fought daughter of the King. You are a walking talking miracle, a one of a kind masterpiece of the master artist. You are prized, loved, chosen, redeemed, … that’s who you are … have you forgotten?
The son had gotten all wrapped up in what he had, and forgotten who he was. And once it was all gone, he hit rock bottom. I’ve been there. I was once focused on all I had and my goal every morning when I woke up was to make money to get more. I bought the big house, then I needed to fill the big house. I had the new car with a $1200 monthly payment, so I needed the new clothes to match the car. It was an endless cycle and it was never enough. And then it was all gone. Rock bottom was my new address. And it was here at rock bottom I remembered WHO I was.
Is what you HAVE causing you to lose WHO you ARE? I promise you this, if your “things” are getting in the way, God has zero problem removing the things. He is way more concerned about your character than your comfort. Your rock bottom is exactly where he will take you so that you can rebuild your life on that solid rock.
The Prodigal Son found himself out of money, working for a farmer feeding his pigs. It was here in the pigpen where he was so hungry he was eyeballing the pig’s food that he had a life changing moment. Luke 15, verse 17 says ” And when he came to himself.” He came to himself. He saw who he really was and how he was currently living and the wide gap between the two.
He was the beloved son of a wealthy man. That’s who he was. But he was living a life far below his potential. Imagine the humility it required for him to pick himself up out of that pigpen and start the long walk back home. Back to who he was. His father was waiting there for him, having hoped every day it would be the day his son would return. And finally the son had came to himself, realizing he was so much better than how he had been living, and started his journey back.
I remember starting my journey back to who I really was. Having hit rock bottom, no longer able to pay the minimum on one credit card with another credit card. No longer able to hide behind the fancy clothes and the fancy car that looked so good on the outside. Having face planted in the middle of what everyone else thought was success. I was knocked to my knees because darn it, I refused to drop to my knees on my own. God had to allow life to hit me hard to get me there. And because he loves me so much, he allowed everything I had worked for to fall apart so He could begin putting me back together the right way.
Could this be why life has hit you hard? Could it be because you’ve lost who you really are somewhere along the way? Are you living in a way that doesn’t align with your true identity? Do you even know who you are anymore? Will you start your journey back?
Have you been lazy? Have you been negative? Have you been spending more than you make? Have you been talking more than you should and smack dab in the middle of the problem? Have you been piling up the bad choices, burning bridges, hurting others, hurting you? Have you been running from those who can help you, hiding in your shame? Has it all only been getting worse instead of better? Hey listen to me … You’re better than that!
God created you with tremendous intention. He had a vision of what your life could be and he put that potential inside of you. Maybe you’re living up to that potential … awesome! Don’t lose your way now. Success is hard to handle. I’ve seen far more people lose themselves in success than in failure. Few people can handle success and this is why God allows the path there to be hard. You must first grow to be able to handle the prosperity without losing yourself. You must be grounded in knowing exactly WHO you are or you will get lost along the way.
Maybe you’re listening today and you know the gap between who you were created to be and how you’re currently living is deep and wide. Well, there’s a cross that will stretch between that gap. The cross and what Jesus did for you personally will redeem you. No matter how bad you’ve messed up, no matter how high the debt, or how low you’ve fallen, the cross is for you.
Return to who you were created to be. Step into the life you were created for. Come back to who you really are. Just as the Prodigal Son started his journey back home, you can begin your journey back too. The father will be waiting. You don’t have to clean yourself up first. You don’t have to have a 10 step plan of how you’re going to fix this mess. You just have to come back to yourself, back to who you were created to be, and let your Creator start showing you the next step.
Today, ask God what he had in mind when he created you. Ask him what great plans he envisioned when he made you. Ask him to help you live up to your potential. Ask him to help you start the journey today.