There’s a song that we sing at church that has really resonated with our people over the past year. It’s called “Come As You Are” by David Crowder. I believe it connects with us so much because we are a church body that truly strives to be a place where “it’s ok not to be ok”. Each of us has junk that we are dealing with and have found a place we feel safe to let it out. There’s a line in the song that I just love. “Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal.” If I’ve ever found a song lyric to be true in my life, this is definitely one. I have experienced it in my own life and I have witnessed others experience it in theirs. What I have discovered that makes this lyric true is found in the power of the Gospel. If we would allow God to have control and allow Him to heal the wounds within our souls, we would experience life like never before.
It’s scary to let God into the depths of our souls. Believe me I know. Nobody wants to confront the mess inside, so we toss it in the dark parts of our hearts and walk away. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Nothing could be further from the truth. When we refuse to acknowledge how jacked up we are and that we are powerless to do anything about it, we deprive ourselves the opportunity to be whole and live in freedom. And what’s worse, we operate out of a continually worsening state of “jacked up-ness” which negatively impacts every relationship we have.
So how do we get to a place of letting God in? Is there a guide to follow? From my personal experience, I absorbed a lot of information from friends that have worked the 12 steps from Alcoholics Anonymous and was able to apply them to my own situation. Mine wasn’t one of substance abuse. But I found the principles of the steps to aide me in giving God free access to the depths of my soul. Steps 1 – 3 speak directly about this.
Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable. It’s easy to see the word “addiction” and think the Steps don’t apply to your life. If you don’t have an issue with substance abuse, then addiction is a word that’s only in your vocabulary to talk about other people’s issues. But think about this. We are all addicted to sin, and sin is what destroys us inside and out. I equate my addiction to sin to that of a person trying to recover from a meth addiction. The only difference is that the meth addict is reminded every minute of every day that their addiction is real, while I’m often oblivious to my addiction to sin. It’s when I come to grips with the reality that sin has made my life unmanageable that I realize how much I need the principles found in the 12 Steps.
Step 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. After running up against the same issues time after time after time, I came to the point that I realized I am incapable of fixing myself. Trying to fix myself just makes me go crazy because, just when I think I’ve conquered something, my issue rears its ugly head again. The past few months, I’ve been running up against something that’s been going on for the many years more frequently and I have gotten so frustrated because I feel like I should be over it now. It just makes me realize that I CANNOT FIX MYSELF. I have to surrender it to God.
Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God. That last part, “as we understood God”, is huge. The more I learn about Him and experience His faithfulness and care in handling my heart, the more I trust him. Understanding takes time and the decision to trust based on that understanding can take even more time. The proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes. I’m always curious to observe a person’s character over time. If I see consistency over the long haul, the more likely I will be to open up and trust. Trust is more easily lost than earned. And I think it’s easy to be slow to trust God with our mess because of how religion has misrepresented Him through hypocritical, judgmental church people. Oh that we would remember that church is filled with imperfect people who love a perfect God. It’s also full of people that are spiritually seeking and aren’t sure what they think of God yet. That’s why I love the idea of a church culture where it’s ok not be ok.
To close this rambling out, I want to share the chorus of “Come As You Are” with you. As you read it, imagine God is speaking it to you…
Lay down your burdens, lay down your shame
All who are broken, lift up your face
O wanderer, come home, you’re not too far
So lay down your hurt, lay down your heart
Come as you are