"What defines us?" This question has haunted me for a while now. As I have peered into my soul I have found that most often I define myself by what I am not. Such definitions could include: I am not as attractive as some guys, I am not as musical as I want to be, I am not as deep as I want to be, I am not organized...not, not, not... After a while the nots can overshadow what I truly am.
Most people I know do not know who they are. The truth is, most times I do not know who I am either. Most of us define ourselves by what we lack rather than what we have. It is no wonder that most people have such a twisted perception of their self worth. We judge who we are by our social status, our weight or attractiveness, what we wear or even what we drive. When we truly learn who we are these things, which have defined us for so long, become superficial and insignificant.
In our churches we have overused the statement "God created you to..." and it truly has lost its significance. This statement has become one of those "religious" things that we say even though we do not understand the depth of its true meaning. Yes, we were all created for a purpose, but how many of us marvel at the fact that we were created. You were created. I was created. We were all created by a God that loves us above anything else that he made.
Most of us do not realize just how small and trivial our existence is. Astronomers estimate that there are 350,000,000,000 galaxies in our universe. In our galaxy there are 100,000,000,000 stars. We are quite literally a speck of dust in this massive expanse that He created. Why would he love us above everything else that he created? There is such creativity and beauty in our universe so why would he care about short, semi-attractive, and slightly overweight me?
In the beginning of the story, our story, it is said that we were created in His image! Why us? Why not the animals? Why not the stars? Did not John describe God as a radiant, colorful light? It seems the stars would resemble him more than plain, old me. I do not know why He wanted me to be in His image, but I do know that it makes me special! He took time when creating man. He breathed His life into us.
Many of us are creating an image for ourselves that is counterfeit. We buy the newest and best clothes, and in the end we look no different than anyone else. We buy the newest mp3 players and the newest computers only to find out that they are out of date a month later. So how do we begin to see ourselves how He sees us? Can we? Do we even care how he sees us?
I truly believe that we care more about what those around us see than what He sees us as. Christians have become so standardized that all we want to do is be like the plastic, cut out Christian beside us. They fit in, and they seem so "Christian". Why would we not want to be like that? This is the trap that we have all fallen into. In the name of Jesus we let them put the cookie cutter on us, thus conforming us to a man made image that looks nothing like our God given image.
So how do we fix this internal struggle? Can we counter condition ourselves to see our true worth through his creation of us? Yes we can! We must choose what we believe. Most importantly, we must see ourselves, not as our flesh dictates, but as the spirit inside us yearns for us to. Brennan Manning says, "Self deception is the enemy of wholeness because it prevents us from seeing ourselves as we really are".
I believe that with a lot of discipline we can begin to love ourselves again. I believe that we can begin to see beauty when we walk past our reflection in the mirror. I believe that we can be happy with our individual personality traits. I believe that we can be healed of the disease of self-hatred. I believe that through this healing our communities can flourish and grow in to a nourishing environment that people will desire.
I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
Your handmade sky-jewelry,
moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second to look our way?