"Come as you are." Words commonly spoken but not always meant. So, afraid that "as we are" is more than others can accept, we keep hiding in the cover of darkness behind our walls of secret shame or sin. And the more we hide, the more hurt and damaged we become because we aren't living in the truth of God's promise of grace.
I lived in that darkness for too long, living as if I was okay but falling apart inside. But finally my walls of pretend came tumbling down. And yes, I scrambled like mad to find somewhere to hide. It was painful to let others see the "me" that was screwed up and broken. But He left me no place to hide, and the ugly truth of who I was was exposed for anyone watching to see. And in the middle of my shame, He sent a fellowship of believers who took me just as I was--broken, ugly, and scarred. There was no longer any need to pretend anymore--I couldn't if I tried! It still takes my breath away when I remember the magnitude of His knowledge. He's always known the best and worst about me.
You have searched me, Lord, and You know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH ALL MY WAYS.
He knows EVERYthing about me. It's frightening and freeing all at the same time. He knows ALL my ways--not just what I do but WHY I do it.
Before a word is on my tongue, You, Lord know it completely
You hem me in behind and before, and You lay Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
When I sought to harm myself, He knew the hurt and anger that came with it. I tried to run, I tried to hide--I thought nobody understood. I was ashamed, but HE KNEW!
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, You are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, You are are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to You;
The night will shine like the day for darkness is as light to You.
For You created my inmost being, You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
So, with no place to run and no place to hide, I finally came to Him just as I was. He didn't push me away or turn His back. He simply loved me and accepted me. I had to accept the truth that, no matter how guilty or shameful I was, HE LOVED ME ANYWAY. He loved my worst just as much as He loved my best--probably even more because it was more true.
Sometimes, I think we keep ourselves in a dungeon and throw away the key simply because we are ashamed and we don't think we deserve a way out. But Grace doesn't look for those who "deserve" it. Grace looks for those unsuspecting flawed and broken REAL people who don't want to live in the dark anymore. Grace only asks that you come just as you are...
Even today, at my worst and at my best, I am still totally blown away by that one simple truth I learned so long ago: HE LOVES ME ANYWAY.
(He loves you anyway, too...)
Scripture is from Psalm 139 NIV.