I had lunch with a dear friend recently and she recounted to me two different "beach day" experiences with her boys. I know I won't get all of the details right, but come with me and see if you find yourself in this story...
It's been a while since I've taken a baby (or two for that matter) to the beach. But as my friend was telling me about this excursion the memories came flooding back. She had planned an afternoon at the beach with her two young sons and put together all the necessities for the outing. While I'm not sure of everything she packed, I'm sure it included a beach blanket, swimsuits (and extras just in case), sun hats (and an extra just in case), diapers (and extras just in case), wet wipes (and extras just in case), snacks (and extras just in case), bottles (and extras just in case), pacifiers (and extras just in case), towels (and extras just in case), sunglasses (and extras just in case), sunscreen (and extra just in case), water (and extra just in case), a dry change of clothes (and extras just in case), beach toys, and a beach umbrella. Whew! I'm quite sure I've left out some very important beach baby gear, but you get the picture. Off she went loaded down, toddler in hand and baby on hip. Now, that is one courageous mommy if you ask me!
What seemed to be perfectly planned quickly turned horribly wrong. Crying unhappy boys, and a frustrated harried mom adequately describe that trip. My friend did not tell me all the gory details but suffice it to say that all the well meaning preparation had little effect compared to the nature and the wills of two little boys! She could have prepared for days and brought even more baby paraphernalia, to no avail!
Come As You Are
As I contrasted these two outings in my mind I could not help notice the similarities to the way I approach God. Maybe you do this - If I am ready, I come. If I have been reading my Bible and having my devotions and if I have been obedient to what God has called me to do, I feel prepared or ready to approach God. I need to have all the right stuff in place first. Is my Bible next to me? Have I organized my thoughts? Did I go to church this week and have I been nice to my family? Is there anything else I should "pack" to be prepared to meet with God? Even as I'm writing this I am thinking of all the ways I put off my time with the Lord because deep down I don't think I'm ready. I don't think I've done everything I should do to come before him. I deep down believe that my time with him will be so much better if I am prepared! I have believed that God will be more pleased with me if I have organized my prayers and come with an intentional thought out plan!
he just says...
All those things I bring to God "just in case" are unnecessary. All the ways I focus on what I need to do in this relationship actually keep me further away from the intimacy with God I long for! Jesus reminds me once again "My child, it's not up to you. I have made all the preparations. You only need to come." You can stop obsessing about what I might think of you. I have already made up my mind about you. You are my bride, my beloved, the one I died for and the one I live for. There is nothing more you have to do. Just come."