When we were waiting for my mom to arrive at her surprise party, we got the call just ever so slightly sooner than we anticipated, and had to rush to change our clothes and put the finishing touches on our dishes and drinks, etc. I finished making my guacamole, ran upstairs, and quickly started to change in the same room my almost 5 yr-old nephew, Timmy, happened to be in at that moment.
Timmy, who is quite literally the funniest child I have ever met, said, “You’re changing?! I don’t want to see your booty!”
I laughed, and replied, “You won’t see my booty, silly, I’m all covered up!”
Then, with this look on his little face that screamed, “Even though you are a grownup I am maybe a little bit smarter than you,” he said this:
“Doesn’t matter Megs. I can still see how you are."
Out of the mouths of babes. Now, this was horrifying for a plethora of reasons, but the very first thought that entered my mind was this: I’m not as good at hiding as I think I am.
I haven't been able to shake those words from my slightly obsessive brain. It reminded me of my favorite part of Psalm 139:
Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become dark around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.Even though I was changing very modestly, trying to keep Timmy from seeing my booty, as it were, he was right – I couldn’t hide “how I am.” I go to great lengths to keep my booty from being seen, figuratively speaking, to keep from being vulnerable, to keep anyone from seeing how I truly am. I think we all try to keep from being caught in the buff, at the peak of vulnerability. We don't want to be found out. My friend Kristin and I used to talk about new relationships and how we had to be sure and "hide the crazy" for a while. We were laughing at the time... but were we joking? I pretty much go through life trying to hide the crazy. Timmy’s words freaked me out. I laughed, but I was also shockingly anxious in that moment. I have to wonder if God doesn't look at us, hiding, and say to us the very same thing. I think all the time, "Surely, the darkness (or whatever else) will hide me!" But even the darkness is as light to Him. This is why hiding doesn't work.
I just finished reading a novel with a teenage girl in it who was desperately broken. She was making herself throw up several times per day, she was stealing, and had started regularly cutting her arms with razor blades. Towards the end of the book, she gets caught by her father, and I think its a beautiful picture of this whole thing:
The more my father yelled, the more tightly he held on to me. And here's the weirdest thing of all: now that the worst had happened—now that I'd been found out—it wasn't disastrous. It felt, well, inevitable. My father was furious, but me, I couldn't stop smiling. "You see me," I thought, my eyes closing. "You see me."Even though being seen as we are is a concept that borders on terrifying, I really believe it’s what we all desperately desire: to be seen and loved anyway, maybe even more because of it. When Timmy said, "I can still see how you are," I realize that I was anxious because in hearing those words, I immediately felt shame. It was my biggest fear come true. I was waiting for the rest of the sentence, for the other shoe to drop. What I expect, what I think I deserve, is, "I can see how you are, and it's bad. I can see how you are, and it's wrong. Stupid. Not good enough. Ugly." But in Timmy’s little words there was no judgment or condemnation, he was simply stating fact. Timmy loves me. I saw, in him, a perfect picture of Christ's love for us. I think the sentence does have a second part, but I think it goes like this:
“You're trying to hide, but I can still see how you are. And I love you anyway."
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [Romans 5:6-8]
I don’t have to hide, because Jesus sees how I am, which is less than perfect. And he died for me even though I don't deserve it. He loves me anyway.