There is a scene in the British romantic comedy Bridget Jones’s Diary where the following conversation takes place:
Mr. Darcy: I like you, very much.
Bridget: Ah, apart from the smoking and the drinking, the vulgar mother and…ah, the verbal diarrhea.
Mr. Darcy: No, I like you very much. Just as you are.
Oh, those magic little words…I like you, just as you are. Later, after she has repeated the conversations to a few of her closest friends, one asks, “Just as you are? Not thinner? Not cleverer? Not with slightly bigger breasts or a slightly smaller nose?” No. He likes me, just the way I am.
I’m not sure whether it is evident to those around me, but I often struggle with self-confidence. I am a perfectionist and a people-pleaser, and so I strive very hard to at least maintain an image of someone who has it together. Sometimes this is true; most of the time I’m just trying not to lose it. It seems that I have a general inability to accept that who I am isn’t a mistake or the consequences of past sins. As a result, I have a very hard time believing that others accept me as I am, and I have an even harder time believing that a perfect God might accept such a flawed me.
Today I came across this clip of Brennan Manning preaching in 2007. This is the last few minutes of a sermon he gave at Woodcrest Church:
Wow. Take a minute to read through his last few thoughts.
“…And honest, the god of so many Christians I meet is a god who is too small for me. Because he is not the God of the Word, he is not the God revealed by it in Jesus Christ who this moment comes right to your seat and says, “I have a word for you. I know your whole life story. I know every skeleton in your closet. I know every moment of sin, shame, dishonesty and degraded love that has darkened your past. Right now I know your shallow faith, your feeble prayer life, your inconsistent discipleship. And my word is this: I dare you to trust that I love you just as you are, and not as you should be. Because you’re never going to be as you should be.”
“I dare you to trust that I love you just as you are.” Hearing that was one of those ‘hello, rake‘ moments for me….straight smack to the forehead. Coincidentally (or not so much), in a conversation with a mentor of mine this weekend, she told me that her most regular prayer for me is that I would know, really and truly know, the depth of God’s love for me.
I’m not sure that I do. I’m not sure I believe He loves me just the way that I am.
But I want to.