At times in my life when I feel really connected to God, I think I will never lose or sever that connection. How could I? Everything is so great! Then there are times when God seems so far away, I’ve forgotten what a close connection to Him even looks like.
In theory, I always desire a close connection to God and I know He always wants a close connection with me, but why does it seem so hard sometimes? What keeps me from keeping that connection constant?
In the story of the prodigal son, the son who leaves and spends all his inheritance in “riotous living” eventually “[comes] to himself” and wants to return to his father, but he is afraid and feels unworthy to do so. When he eventually does come back, some of his first words are “I … am no [longer] worthy to be called thy son.” (See Luke 15:11–21.)
This line sheds an interesting light on why at times we barricade ourselves from a connection with God. We mess up and we no longer feel worthy of that intimate relationship.
I think the biggest barrier to our connection to God is feeling unworthy of that connection.
I’d like to propose three ways we can keep our connection to God good and strong even when we make mistakes: (1) believing we are worthy of love and connection, (2) understanding the difference between guilt and shame, and (3) realizing our innate worth.
Believing We Are Worthy of Love and Connection
In order to have a strong sense of love and belonging with God, we have to believe we are worthy of love and belonging!
Brené Brown, a social science researcher who has dedicated her career to studying human connection, has interviewed thousands of people wanting to know why some people are able to forge strong, deep, and long-lasting connections with others while some people struggle with this their entire lives. She said:
“There was only one variable that separated the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging and the people who really struggle for it. And that was, the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they’re worthy of love and belonging. That’s it. They believe they’re worthy” (“The Power of Vulnerability” [TED Talk, June 2010], www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability).
While this research deals with human relationships, I have found it applies very well to our heavenly relationships.