Get this if you don't get anything else. The spiritual life begins with accepting God's wholehearted love for our wounded, broken, surly, frightened, sorry selves. There is no other starting point.
God calls us every one to come out of hiding. God calls us back back from wherever we went running for our lives, calls us back home. God is the love-crazed father at the window, waiting for a lost boy to come to his senses, gazing down the road for a sign of his return, now running to meet and embrace and more-than-half-carry his kid the last mile so they can start all over, as if nothing bad ever happened between them, as if the party he intends to throw that very night is the celebration of his child's birth.
It's always been this way. Adam and Eve were ashamed when they disobeyed God, so they hid themselves. And one way or another, they've been role models ever since. Why? Because we hate being seen for what we truly are, which has almost nothing to do with being as bad as we could possibly be and almost everything to do with failing to be all we could be and should be -- what we aspire and maybe even pretend to be.
We know the truth -- or at least much of the truth -- about ourselves, and it's not all that pretty. Our way of dealing with the ugliness is mainly misdirection: Hey, look how ugly that guy is! Look at all the things I don't do! Our solution is faking it, taking cover when we lose our nerve -- hiding out. Which is no solution at all.
Simon Tugwell wrote:
We hide what we know or feel ourselves to be (which we assume to be unacceptable and unloveable) behind some kind of appearance which we hope will be more pleasing. We hide behind pretty faces which we put on for the benefit of our public. And in time we may even come to forget that we are hiding, and think that our assumed pretty face is what we really look like.
--from Brennan Manning's book, "Posers, Fakers, and Wannabes (Unmasking the Real You)"