About Elisabeth Corduan

Liz is from Chicago, IL and currently lives in Taitung City, Taiwan as an English teacher volunteer. She attended VOICE '16 as a V2 intern and her favorite memory involves a very late night, starry skies and good conversations. She is excited to see God's faithfulness continue in her life.

Come As You Are

I don’t know about you, but spring is always a tough time of year for me. I’m a full-time student and teacher, so my days are extremely busy. Hardly a day goes by without experiencing some mini-crisis that revolves around school, work or relationships.

When life gets busy, it’s so easy to let my relationship with God sit on the back-burner. In the past, I would let things slip and slide until I realized that I hadn’t touched my Bible or prayed in weeks/months, and then I would feel consumed with guilt and shame. What an awful Christian I was! I would beat myself up about my failings, and think that there wasn’t any point in working on my relationship with God if I couldn’t do it “right”. So I would just stop trying.

Even now that I’ve learned how to be more consistent in my walk with the Lord, I still go through bouts where I feel like a terrible Christian. I let fear, worry and anxiety consume my life, and don’t trust in God’s grace and provision. Every day is a struggle where I try to hold onto things that God never intended me to have. I feel like I have to “fix” my issues myself before God will be happy with me.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about a song by Crowder called “Come As You Are”. The chorus goes like this:

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
Lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

It reminds me that no matter how many times I’ve failed to be the kind of Christian I want to be, God isn’t asking for my perfection. He knows that we’re full of problems, mistakes and exhaustion, and He doesn’t demand that we fix ourselves before He’ll accept us. No, He just wants us to come.

A wise friend once reminded me that we tend to have the wrong perspective of God. We view him as someone who looks at us and says, “Ugh, you are the worst. I never met such a lazy Christian in my whole life. Come back once you get your act together!”. But actually, it’s not like that at all. It’s more like God says, “Hey! I like you! Actually, I love you! I really just want to be a part of your life, if you’ll let me.”

Instead of letting my discouragement about my mistakes and forgetfulness drive me away from God, like I did for so long, I’m learning how to take those feelings of inadequacy and failure and bring them to Christ. I still have so much to learn, but I think the key is using those feelings to remind me of how much I need God, and that I’m nothing without Him in my life.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (ESV).

In my weakness, He is my strength. In my failures, He is my Redeemer. In my troubles, He is my rock. He’s not pushing me away; He’s asking me to come.

worthy.

When I was pretty young, I came across a play that had a quote that I’ve always really liked. In that play, one of the characters commented on how a friend would sign her mail with her address and then add “United States of America; Continent of North America; Western Hemisphere; the Earth; the Solar System; the Universe; the Mind of God“. I thought it was so fascinating how you could simultaneously be the most insignificant thing in the universe and yet still reside in the thoughts of God, which is the most significant place you can ever be.

This summer when I was at VOICE, one thing I was really wrestling with was understanding my state of worthiness. On one hand, I could see all the sin and shortcomings of my life, and I would feel the conviction of my sin and failings. It chipped away at my pride and showed me just how much the sin of my flesh made me unworthy. I was a sinner, and worthless. But on the other hand, I would read my Bible and hear God talking to me, and I felt like God was telling me that I was precious, loved, and utterly and totally significant and important in His eyes. That I was worthy.

At Northwoods, I would go out almost every night and look at the stars, and this is one of my favorite things to do. But even as I would be filled with awe and wonder, I could also feel the weight of my insignificance. My God made that universe with His words. All of that was right in front of me, and here I was, just one tiny human lying on an airplane tarmac. Who was I to demand anything of that God? Who was I to ask Him for His love and forgiveness? I truly was deserving of nothing.

Slowly I began to understand that I *was* both worthless and worthy at the same time, and that paradox is what makes Christ’s work on the cross so powerful. Yes, *I* am worthless. But when Christ died for me, and came into my heart and took up residence, He transformed me. I did not transform myself or become better, but became changed by the pure being living inside of me. When God looks at me, He doesn’t see my worthless, sinful self…all He sees is the holiness and worthiness of His Son. And He declares me worthy.

The God of the universe not only spoke the world into existence but also sent His son to die so humanity could be redeemed and made worthy, and calls me by name and says I am His beloved daughter. And that, to me, is more beautiful than any star in the sky. ❤️

Photos: Tracy Chang