I’m about 2/3 of the way through Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Not only do her words make me wish I could travel through Italy, India, and Indonesia; she continues to offer up occasional paragraphs that let me pause, consider, and tab some pages for later-reflection (or blog posting).

My latest tabbed page was #192:

God dwells within you as you yourself, exactly the way you are. God isn’t interested in watching you enact some performance of personality in order to comply with some crackpot notion you have about how a spiritual person looks or behaves. We all seem to get this idea that, in order to be sacred, we have to make some massive, dramatic change of character, that we have to renounce our individuality…To know God, you need only to renounce one thing – your sense of division from God. Otherwise, just stay as you were made, within your natural character.

She goes on to say that she likes to imagine herself this peaceful, ethereal, super-spiritual, and quiet woman. But in reality she is erratic, fast-moving, earthy, talkative, and even loud!

She wonders about finding God in the very person she most truly is vs. striving toward the more perfect self she’s daydreamed or convinced herself she ought to be.

Brilliant! We all ought to wonder the same.

Just stay as you were made. There’s a statement that flies in the face of how most of us live each and every day! It’s also a statement that eloquently and powerfully invites us to embrace that we are, indeed, made in the Divine’s image – just as we now are, not as we’ll one day be. It invites us to stop our striving and struggling to be perfect, more of something, anything, everything! It invites us to take inventory on who we most truly are and wonder how we might just find God dwelling right there – in us – now.

Just stay as you were made.

Oh, how I long for that to be true. It lets me breathe easier. It lets me think that perhaps I can be kinder to myself (and others, as well). It lets me consider that maybe, just maybe, God is closer than I think and that I don’t have to strive nearly so hard to know God’s presence, God’s compassion, God’s love.

Just stay as you were made.

Could it be? May it be!

For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well…(Psalm 139:13-14)

Just stay as you were made.

May it be so.