Monday, January 28, 2013

An Experiment That Could Change Your Life

I'm not always a nice person. (Gasp!)

There is an impatient, angry voice in my head. I hear it when I'm driving behind a slow poke on the highway. It says stuff to me when the bagger is rough with my eggs when I'm checking out at the grocery store. And it growls to me when a parent parks at the curb instead of in a parking spot when they're picking their kids up at school. How dare they!

Sometimes the voice escapes my head through my mouth. Like when I was arguing with my husband on the phone the other day. Or when my child is screaming and crying at me because I asked her to wear jeans instead of stretch pants today. Oh, the drama!

But last week, I tried something — an experiment, if you will — that might change my life.

It started with a verse:
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness…" (Genesis 1:26)

Imago Dei. Image of God. This is not a new concept to me. But like a lot of "Christian talk" I never really took it in or thought about what it actually meant for me.

My Pastor preached on it last Sunday. And short of hitting me over the head with it, I think God is trying to tell me something.

I recently wrote about how I needed to readjust how I measure success. And I'm trying to change that habit.

Then I wrote about how I was feeling undervalued as a stay at home Mom. But a new perspective came when my child uttered one simple sentence.

And then a new friend suggested I was wearing a label and what was it? After I thought about it awhile I decided it might say, "unacceptable". Why do I feel like that?

So when God (through Pastor Tony) started talking to me about being valuable simply because I was made in His image, I started taking notes.

No matter who or what we are. No matter what we believe. No matter what we have done or what someone else may have done to us. Every person is significant. Every person has value because they were created by God in His image.

So as I internally fight to find and assign value to myself, based on my own or the world's idea of worth, I already have it. It's been mine to give away all this time.

I have had to sit with that for awhile.

What does it mean to practice the image of God?

I think it has something to do with accepting that we are all image bearers. Do I live this way? Do I see others this way?

It's not been easy, but I'm trying it — treating my interactions with others like I am talking to someone sacred.

C.S. Lewis wrote (see whole quote):
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.

Can I see people this way?

Thinking this way changes my perspective. When my criticisms stop, acceptance begins.

This is about grace-value. Not about the good or bad choices we make or about our sin. It's not about what we deserve. It's seeing beauty in each person simply because they are. Seeing them as a reflection of God.

When I quiet the impatient, angry voice and see people, myself, this way I find respect for life — and love and compassion.

And instead of looking for (and not finding) passion, worth, or importance from other people, my work, or my material possessions —

I find it in me because I find it in Him.

Could we try doing this experiment together? Seeing people with God-glory all around them? Reflecting and representing God as image bearers? Who knows, it could change your life.

Living radically with Ann at "A Holy Experience":


Unknown said...

I see this every time someone directs questions to my daughter (who struggles with a speech disorder)and they wait patiently for her to respond and truly engage her in conversation. It's beautiful!

Unknown said...

Carolyn, this is such a beautiful example! Thank you for sharing it!

I should also say that this is difficult! This requires a radical change in the way you see and interact with people. It is a process, but one worth pursuing!

Unknown said...

This is a fantastic experiment. I'm going to start with practicing on the hardest targets -- my family. It's so easy to take them for granted and criticize their every move!!

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