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Live: Remain Alive, be Alive at a Specified Time, Have an Exciting Or Fulfilling Life
by Sadie Robertson
Learn More | Meet Sadie Robertson
I LOVE WORDS, AND I LIKE TO UNDERSTAND THEM BETTER through their definitions. The ability to use words is something that makes us humans different from any other part of God’s creation. In John, Jesus is referred to as “the Word.” John 1:1–5 says this:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Even if your world feels dark right now, the darkness has not and never will overcome the light! Words—the ones we speak over ourselves and over others—are powerful. In this book I want to equip you with some of those words of life.
Let’s take a minute and talk about the word live and some more definitions of this powerful verb. In addition to “remaining alive,” another definition is to “make one’s home in a particular place or with a particular person.” A synonym for this is reside. For our purposes, let’s keep it simple by combining those two and saying that to live is “to remain and to reside.” What does that look like, remaining and residing?
To remain means to “continue to exist, especially after other similar or related people or things have ceased to exist.” Maybe you have been trying to remain in things that will not last instead of things that are eternal. Maybe the job you thought would last forever let you go, you had to move, your parents got divorced, your friends left, you broke up, the season changed. The thing you put your security in has crumbled, and now you do not know what your life is. It can be tough to remain when it seems like everything else is falling apart around you. So we need to look at what we are remaining and residing in.
There’s an “even when” quality to both definitions, right? To remain alive, we have to continue even when things change and circumstances fall apart. Now isn’t that something? How do we do that? By remaining in the One who never changes. James 1:17 tells us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Does it feel like the circumstances of your life are constantly changing? Of course it does, because we live in a world of seasons! The things of this life change, so I want to remind you or lead you to remain in God—He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. This is what I have found to be the path of life.
The other part of our definition of live is “to reside.” Because of Jesus, you have a place where you belong. You get to reside in God’s house forever. Ephesians 2:19–22 (MSG) paints a powerful picture of this:
You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together.
SAY YES TO LIFE.
Jesus paid it all; He invites you into His Father’s house, a safe place to reside.
Maybe you are thinking, Okay, I got it. I need to remain in God and reside in His house, but how do I really live?
Because life just happened for us and death will happen to us, we sometimes forget that we have a part to play in the act of living. There’s this whole spiritual realm happening, but how do we live right here, right now, with all the problems of today?
It’s hard to understand when our hearts are weighed down with the things that drain life away. The world tells us we’ll find life in other people’s approval, in achievement, in exercising more or eating better, or by changing our makeup or hairstyle. It says we’ll find life in all sorts of things that don’t last or have any eternal value. It’s understandable that when people base their lives on these things, which aren’t God Himself, they feel like death is breathing in their faces. I know the feeling. It’s something that happens to all of us, no matter who you are, how old you are, or where you are in faith or life.
I will encourage you throughout this book to live in your solid identity in Jesus and to say no to lies that your identity is in anything less. Live with purposeful direction and say no to cheap copies or temporary fixes. Live in the community of people around you and find a way to live fully and joyfully with them and in your God-given place among them. Say yes to life and find out how it can be so much more than remaining alive. Keep reading—because it’s time for you to truly live.
Where Life Is Found
WHEN I STARTED WRITING THIS BOOK, I KNEW THERE WAS one Bible story I wanted to begin with. Before I jump into it, let me tell you a story about the story.
I told it to a group of women in prison. Most of them had never heard it before. The room was silent as I shared, and the women were captivated by the truth they were hearing. As I spoke, they began to weep. They were so deeply touched by the message of this story, and it gave them so much hope that, after I left the prison that day, I knew I had to go back to it personally, seeking to understand why it had such an impact on those women.
Now I’d like to reimagine this Bible story with you (and I’ve taken a lot of creative liberties!).
There was a father with two daughters. The girls were at that teenager stage, right before becoming young adults—about the time to prepare for where they would go after school. The funny thing about these two girls was that they were as different as they could possibly be—so different that people wondered if they were actually related. Sometimes people in families are like that. Can I get an amen?
When the sisters were young, the father told them that he would invest in their lives when they became adults by giving each of them a share of his wealth. The oldest sister thought her father’s offer was extremely kind and appreciated the financial provision he made for her. She always had a mature way of preparing for her future. She was definitely the saver in the family. She was content with her life as it was, so she saved her money, stayed close to her family, and planned to work in the family business.
The younger sister did not have the same reaction to her father’s generous offer. She had always been the spender in the family—always wanting the next best thing. She saw it as her “ticket to Hollywood,” so to speak. The day she turned eighteen, she set out to live the life she had craved for years. She was living large and wild as she blew her father’s money left and right. Every morning she woke up blasting hype music, thinking, I’m young and rich. These are the best years of my life. I can—and should—do anything and everything I want to do. With that mind-set guiding her, as you can imagine, she recklessly wasted money on the next best trend to stay relevant. Her life was filled with alcohol, drugs, and partying all night until the sun came up the next morning—just to make sure she didn’t miss out on anything and no one forgot about her.
After some time of this unsustainable lifestyle, she eventually ran out of money and did not have any sort of education or career path to fall back on. She quickly realized that her so-called friends liked her only because she bought their meals, planned fun trips, and gave them expensive gifts. She found herself alone. When she ran out of money for even the basics like food and rent, she was faced with the reality that if she did not go home, she didn’t know how she would survive. She had no one to call and nowhere to go.
Her shame could not let her linger on the thought of home for long, so she searched for a job anywhere she could find one. She was so desperate, she found herself in situations that just a year earlier she would have said she would rather die than live through. She was doing things she never thought she would do for money, but she felt she had no other choice. She lost her identity and her home. She had lost everything but her very breath. She even contemplated suicide because she was so exhausted, lonely, and filled with shame over wasting everything her father had given her. She did not want to continue down the road she was on, but she couldn’t see a way out.
The weaker and more tired she became, the more she began to think about her family. She thought about the heartbreak she must have caused her father and mother. She wondered what her sister must have thought of her. She began having bitter thoughts, comparing herself to her sister, thinking, Why could I not have been more like her? She knew she had broken her mom’s heart.
She got lost in painful thoughts of her family sitting comfortably at home, criticizing her for the way she had chosen to live. Do they even think of me at all? she pondered. She thought about all the people who worked for her father as she was growing up. They were a wealthy family, so they had people who cooked for them and cleaned for them. She thought about her dad’s assistant, who would answer his calls, drive her and her sister to school, and run to the store for him when he needed. “Even they were better off!” she cried as her thoughts became so loud that these words burst out of her mouth. The back-and-forth in her mind was growing intense.
As she reminded herself of her stupidity and stubbornness, she began to weep. Look at me, she thought to herself. I am no longer worthy to be my father’s daughter. I am not even fit to be a member of my family, because of all the bad choices I have made. But I have to go home, or I am not going to live. I will go back and ask Dad if I can work for him. At this point, I would be glad just to scrub the floor of what used to be my home.
As she made her way back home on foot, like the people she used to pass in her nice car, she rehearsed what she would say when she saw her family—and wondered what they would think of her when they saw her. She grew more and more anxious. Her heart was pounding. She even considered heading back to her terrible job to take another night shift, but the thought of residing in that old place one more night kept her going.
When she got back to her hometown, before going to her family’s neighborhood, she decided to sit at the coffee shop where she would often go when she felt lost on what she used to consider a hard day. She felt she needed a little more time to muster up the courage to press past the weight of her guilt.
She was almost to her regular spot when she looked up and, to her absolute shock, saw her dad. Her heart felt as though it had dropped to her gut. She knew she was too close to turn around. Her dad saw her, and in the most beautiful, heartwarming tone and with tear-filled eyes, he simply said, “My daughter, you came back home!”
Before she knew it, she was wrapped in her dad’s arms with his tears falling on her. She asked with a shaky, anxious voice, “Why are you here?” He replied, “Do you remember when you were young and I told you girls that if you ever got lost, you should stay right where I saw you last, and I would come back and find you? Whenever I would see you here, I would pray that you would know you are not alone in whatever heartache you were feeling. I’ve come here every day since you’ve left. I’ve been waiting here for you to come back to where I saw you last. Now you are here. Let’s go home.”
As overwhelmed as she was by this, she said, “No, Dad. Stop. You don’t know what I have done. I’ve messed up. I have sinned against you, and I’ve sinned against God. I am not pure. I am not clean. I am not even sure who I am anymore. I have no place here. I don’t deserve to be your daughter or to be in this perfect family or belong to this home. I came back to work. I am no longer worthy of this kind of love.”
The father stopped for a moment and pulled out his phone. He called his wife and excitedly told her their daughter was found. She was surprised to hear him tell her mom to cook her favorite meal—chicken quesadillas with chips and guacamole. He called his assistant to get some new clothes for his girl and have them laid out on the bed, ready for her when they arrived. He sent a text out to the family to come over quickly. He was throwing a party to celebrate—his daughter was home!
She stood there in shock at his response despite all she had told him. She stopped him and said, “But you’re not mad?” He then looked at his daughter and said, “Daughter, you were dead, but now you are alive. You were lost, but now you are found. You are my daughter. Nothing you could ever do can change that. I am so sorry for all that has happened to you and all that has been done to you. You are safe now. You are forgiven, and you are altogether beautiful. This has always been your home, to remain and reside in forever.”
Here are lyrics to a song I wrote one day when I was finding my way back home.
Every promise that You made
Is still the same for me today
I don’t have to hold on to fear
I know I can trust what I hear
When You say family and forever
You mean every word You say
I know You won’t change the locks on me
I can trust Your loyalty
In Your open house
There’s not a sense to strive for love
I can rest and know
That every single word is true
In Your open house
Everything I lost was found
I can call this home
It’s so free to know I’m known
You saw every little thing
And still came running after me
I didn’t have to do a thing
You always wanted me for me
Then You spoke over me
The life for me that I could not see
You gave me love I can’t deny
I never have to run and hide
You are everything
You are everything
You are everything that I need
You are everything that I need
And I am sorry for anything in between
You’re everything I need
I can call this home
I feel so free to know I’m known
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