Last year, my friend told me how she loved my ‘come as you are’ way of being with others. The phrase made me stop and think about what she meant. I knew she was saying something significant.
In Matthew 11 Jesus talks about how he receives us. Here is the Message version:
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burnt out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Here, Jesus is saying something very important about how we come to him.
If we aren’t coming to him as we are–with all of our mess, with dirty faces and hands and feet–we’ll become tired, worn out, burnt out trying to live something we aren’t. In turn, others won’t taste the grace-giving waters which flow from His hand as we come freely to him.
As I have thought about it further, I realize my friend gave me a huge compliment. I am entirely unsure if I live it even part of the time. But I have come to think of it as my true north.
All of this reminds me of a conversation with my friend who is many years ahead of me in ministry and life. She commented on what it was for her to receive Hungarian women into her home. She said she bought the same pastries they would at the corner store. She put down her recipes and specialty drinks and she made herself one of them. It was all in the hopes they would be empowered to know they could give and receive just as they were.
‘Come as you are’ is a posture. It is the heart of hospitality. It is laying down the perfect hair, outfit, aroma of freshly baked goods and picked-up home. It loves people enough to give grace and our real selves, so they learn to do the same.
As a woman, I have spent most of my marriage and all of my motherhood crucifying myself between two thieves. The one is perfection and the other is failure. The one takes all of me and the other tells me I have nothing to give. They each battle to have full say in my mind, ramping up their efforts at just the right time.
Come As You Are.
It’s a holy whisper in the dark night of the soul. It’s an oasis in this wilderness I have roamed too often. It’s the words spoken to me and the ones I want to live. It’s the life I want and the one I want others to have.
Let it be our mantra during this Advent season. There is so much potential to receive and be received by others. Yet, there is so much opportunity for the Thief to come and steal. And so, there are many reasons to learn just this:
Come as You Are.