Thoughts From Toby

Just As I Am

“True belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world.”
- Brene Brown

I remember sitting in a ministry class some years ago, and a question was posed about how change occurs in people. My professor said something that has always stuck with me, which has informed my own philosophy of ministry, and how I relate to others. He simply said, “Let people be people.” The encouragement here was that it is not our role to change other people; that is God’s role. It reminds me of the quote from Billy Graham, who famously said, “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.” There is deep wisdom found in this simple, yet profound, idea. God is the one who brings about change in the lives of others. We are called to love people, as imperfect as they are.

There is also something to be said about coming to terms with our own selves, and allowing God to work in us to bring about change in our own lives. We live in a world where it is easier than ever to put on a facade of perfection to those around us. There is no shortage of highly staged, filtered, brushed up Instagram photos out there. The truth is that sometimes we try to pull one over on God (and others), seeking to hide our imperfections. Yet it’s when we present our authentic selves, with all our imperfections, to God that true transformation can begin to take place. In the words of the old hymn, “Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me…” That’s where true belonging is to be found.