I can remember being invited to a friend’s house for a dinner party. While she was discussing the menu, all the people that agreed to attend, and how excited she was about seeing friends she hadn’t seen for years, I was privately agonizing about what to wear. See, I had gained some weight and it felt like nothing in my closet ‘fit’ right anymore. Certain things didn’t fit anymore or the things that did fit were ‘snug’ and uncomfortable.
As she was talking, I was preparing a good enough excuse to not attend. But, I knew she wouldn’t believe me. Knowing my girlfriend, she would eventually ask the right questions and figure out what my real reason was for not showing up. So, I just came out and said it:
“Girl, I don’t have anything to wear and I’ve gained so much weight since the last time you saw me. I’m not coming because I don’t like the way anything fits and I don’t have anything all fancy to wear because, knowing you, you’re going to have people at your house dressed up!”
She didn’t miss a beat; as soon as I finished talking she said, “Uh, no ma’am! I don’t care what you wear, you do not need to stress about wearing anything fancy, just come as you are! I don’t require a certain attire and, quite frankly, people come the way they want to come. I’m more excited about their willingness to accept the invitation rather than what they will have on.”
The Season for Come As You Are
When I think about this story and how so many people would use that excuse when it came to going to church, I laugh about it now. Currently, we are in a global pandemic with coronavirus, which has affected every component of life including attending worship services.
Most churches have had to get creative in how they conduct worship services, including online services or outside services where people stay in their cars to honor the social distancing mandate.
For the first time in history, we’re experiencing a pandemic in the US that causes us to focus on our health and the safety of ourselves and our loved ones. We have had to come as we are with no care or concern on what to wear to church, and also our jobs if we’re fortunate to work from home. I am currently working from home and I exchanged my skirts, heels, and slacks for work out pants, shorts, and tank tops!
God Requires No Special Preparation to Come to Him
During this time, God has been able to get the attention of so many people by eliminating the normalcy of life and bringing the focus back to what’s important. What has sustained so many of us during this time? Our Faith, not excuses.
We don’t have an excuse to avoid certain invitations due to not having anything to wear because of finances or weight gain. We show up in life’s new normal with more emphasis on just being present.
And that’s all God has ever wanted from us – to be present in His presence. God doesn’t check to see if your hair is done or if you have on the appropriate attire to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Neither does God require that we come sinless or have it all together in our spiritual life. He has always desired for us to come as we are because once we are in His presence, nothing else would matter once we experience His peace and love.
This global pandemic has been a blessing in disguise that no one could ever imagine. It didn’t catch God by surprise at all. He knew this was going to happen before the foundations of the world, and He knew if His people would continue to seek Him by any means, we would make it through.
So, What’s the Play Call?
Here are 3 scriptures that have served as reminders to me on how our God loves and cares for us:
- “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV)
- “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 4:4 (NIV)
- “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
So, the next time you feel an excuse about to cause you to miss out on a moment with God, remember: He is not concerned about any external or internal excuses we tell ourselves. He desires a private time of worship with us. God is only concerned that we show up! Remember to always come as you are.