I’m long past the days of crossing my arms like a punk and declaring I’m nothing like my parents. I’m just gonna say it–I am a lot like my parents!
During my last visit home, I recognized myself in my father’s tenderheartedness as his eyes brimmed with emotion while talking about his joy for Ben and my happiness.
(Of course, looking at this picture, I’m also reminded of how cool we both are.)
I saw myself in my mother’s gift of hospitality as she had the house perfect for Ben and my arrival and, like always, had the fridge stocked with our favorite foods and drinks.
Like my dad, I’m a crier.
Like my mom, I’m a gift-giver.
There’s no way I could be a product of my particular parents and also not end up a people-person.
People. To God, they’re just a smidge lower than the heavenly beings.
People. Of all His great handiwork, people are what He chose to save.
People. The unique creation formed in God’s very image. And as I’ve grappled with, “K….what does it mean to be made in God’s image?” something weird has started happening.
I see God in people.
Now, it’s not very often I converse with myself in the mirror and say, “Man you’re lookin’ like God today.” (Although I do seem to converse with myself a lot in mirrors….and then take pictures of it. Anyways…..) More commonly, I notice and dwell on the parts of me that still need so much work–and I scoff.
(Clearly this is how we all look scoffing, right? Or perhaps this is just an already-taken picture I thought might sort of work right here even though what I’m actually doing is lovin’ on my new dress and baby bump. Can’t say for sure.)
So there’s two extremes, right? On one end, we’ve got people acting like they are God incarnate and demanding they be treated like royalty. On the other end, we’ve got Christians who are so focused on their shortcomings and constant sinfulness that they are completely blinded to the good attributes God has borrowed from His own image and gifted to them.
The beautiful, sobering truth applies to both parties. It’s beautiful that God calls us loved, hand-crafted, and his very own children. Sobering because we are not capable of obtaining any of those characteristics on our own.
Any good thing in us, and there are many in each of us, exists because the Lord shared part of His image with us. Intelligence. Compassion. Perseverance. Loyalty. Any good attribute a person can have, does God not also fully encompass in his character? A person’s gift or bend may not be perfectly honed, but the goodness exists because God shared part of himself in the human design.
Let me be clear: my encouragement is not that I think humankind is mostly good, but that God helps individuals like you and I learn to radiate His good qualities. He made us in His image. We are capable of great acts of love.
In my friend Stephanie, I see how God has shared a heaping portion of his wisdom. She is so good at listening to people’s stories and offering insightful, spot-on advice. She reminds me God is a listener, a coach, and a counselor.
My friend Gloria recently shared that she is passionate about being an awesome mom. She said, “I think about it all the time.” Hearing her verbalize this and seeing it played out in her life makes my heart glow: I see a trace of God in her passion for parenting. That is an attribute that she shares with God, the ultimate Father and caregiver.
My sister is such a friend to me, through and through. She reminds me that God is family, yet also extends friendship. She reveals in my life how much I need and crave relationship–with God and with others.
Kenny is a laid-back, mostly quiet man who is a serious worker for the Lord. I recently learned that he is the volunteer maintenance man for our church who performs most of the thankless, unseen tasks that keep our church functioning. Kenny reminds me that Jesus was not flashy and the servant life of a Christian should stem from a desire to give back to the one who has given us so much.
My husband is intelligent, calculated, planned, and organized. (Confirmation that opposites attract!) While I experience as much emotion in a day as some do in a lifetime, Ben reminds me that the Lord is also decisive, He creates and follows plans, and He is a sturdy rock, unmoved by circumstances and wavering feelings.
And so I turn back to the mirror.
I even see a little bit of God in….(gulp)….myself. It honestly kind of freaks me out.
He is after all a creator. He’s kind. He loves children. He’s a storyteller. And, I personally think that God is even a little emotional–has there ever been a parent more enraged by his children’s waywardness or who has gone to greater, more dramatic heights to bring them home?
I encourage you to close your eyes or turn off your monitor for a minute and just praise God that you are what you are. Go ahead. :) Think about it….where are His fingerprints in you?
Are you creative?
Do you have a heart for justice?
Are you naturally nurturing?
Are you slow to give up?
Are you physically strong?
Do you have compassion for those around you?
Can you easily see the big picture?
Are you detail oriented?
Jesus was the only person capable of encompassing all of God’s attributes in human form, but we each bear the DNA, the likeness, some traceable similarity to our creative, justice-loving, lamb-tending, persevering, mighty, compassionate, working to tell a big-picture story while intricately involved in every detail God.
We are a divine mishmash of both of our parents’ natures, the nurture we’ve received, and the brush strokes of God.
I think we bring glory to God when we recognize that we are a good part of creation because God says we are, and it’s not US that makes us good, it’s God’s saying so that makes it true.
Rejoice, my friend. You are a child of God. Adopted because of His great love and loved just like you are.