17: Who Jesus Says We Are: Created in His Image

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetMy journey for self-discovery was ultimately a journey of learning who God is, and leaning into what He says about me. The reality is, I’m still on that journey. I hope I never stop moving towards the light of the truth.

So I began to look at some of the attributes of God. The very first thing we know about Him is that He is creative. He finds pleasure in the earth and its inhabitants. And He is all about community. When He fashions the first man from the dust of the ground, He says to the Son and the Spirit, let us make man in our image.” Another translation says to be like us. Creative, joyful, and in community. A triune description of who you and I were made to be.

Creativity, joy, and community are very open ended ideas. To some, this might be entirely beautiful and freeing. But I know for others, it likely conjures up fear and anxiety. We want road maps and blue prints and the big booming voice speaking specific directions from the sky.


My Friend Alyce’s Story

I don’t think there is just one right path or purpose for each of us. I realize for some people that sounds scary, because we’re often brought up to believe we have one calling, one true love, one destiny (or something)—and heaven help us if we “miss it.” But I don’t buy the concept of “the One,” on any level. To acknowledge there are options can seem like it detracts from the value of the road you do end up taking, and it also presents the terrifying reality that you will have to CHOOSE. But I actually find this freeing, empowering, and beautiful. You have a say—purpose is not some vague thing that will someday be revealed to you, nor is it a paint-by-numbers process, just laid out for you to follow the instructions. No, it’s something you have some ownership of, something you’re shaping all the time, something that is not lost because of one misstep. Certainly, there are natural giftings and inclinations that might provide general direction, and some choices will be obvious, almost instinctual—but you don’t need 100-percent-no-doubt-about-it clarity all the time to proceed in living with purpose. I believe the Holy Spirit is not a dictator, but a helper, and God is more trusting of us than we give Him credit for! I believe He loves to bless our commitments, that He delights in His multi-faceted people. Sometimes, when we’re “waiting on God” for some sign or certainty, He might actually be waiting on us to make a meaningful move toward one of the many good things He has put within us and before us, and He’s ready to say, “Yeah? I can do something with that. Let’s go all in.” Your individual identity and purpose might be found in many ways, because the larger, greater purposes—loving others, pursuing peace, living fully, honoring God, cultivating community—are not exclusive to one path or place.


Certainly, we are lovingly endowed with individual gifts purposed to build up the Body of Christ and tend the kingdom-garden, but at the heart of it all, I believe we were created with these three things in mind. Creativity, joy, and community encompass each and every gift that you and I have been given.

Creativity

Despite the fact that I am a writer through and through, I have struggled long and hard with this idea of creativity. Perhaps this is, at least in part, due to my war with comparison. I wonder what in the world I can offer, when it seems like all the words have already been said. My friend Ben asked that very question of writer Donald Miller, to which Donald graciously replied that he should write the words anyway. Write the words, because no one can tell the story like you can. And since then, I’ve learned that creativity isn’t confined to just writing or painting or sculpting. Creativity is how we live every moment of every day.

We live in a world where everyone must have a platform. The pervasive goal is to write the next post that will go viral, to be controversial enough to get the hits. Maybe you’re in the same boat I have been in, believing that you have nothing of value to contribute. Maybe, like me, you want to shy away from the controversy and live peacefully. Tell the story. Because in the telling, there is power. In the telling, we are shaping culture. We have the power to cultivate change every time we interact with our spouses, our kids, our coworkers, our friends. Our lives testify to the heart of the Creator.

Joy

When God made the world, He said it was good. When He made us, He declared that we were very good. He delights in us, and invites us to experience the joy found in His presence. Scripture says that in the presence of the Lord, there is fullness of joy, and we enter His presence through the gates of thanksgiving. For most of my life, I have confused deep soul joy with momentary happiness. What I’ve learned though, is that happiness depends on happenstance. Let’s be honest, some days, we’re just not happy. Some days, the laundry and the to do list are never ending and it feels like we don’t even have time to be happy in the midst of all our running. But joy? It is the acknowledgement that God is always good, and that we are always loved — even in the most difficult of circumstances. Even as we receive the diagnosis, even as the bills come, even as the work load becomes seemingly  unbearable — we are loved. We are being made more like Jesus. Little by little, less of us and more of Him.

Community

Could this be the hardest of all? Community is messy. It is dealing with differences of opinion and formulas for getting things done. Community is phone calls at four in the morning. Community is downright frustrating sometimes. But it is also incredibly, achingly beautiful. When we look at how the scriptures describe the early church, we see the essence of this thing called community. We see a group of people who cared so deeply for others that they considered their possessions not as things that belonged solely to them, but things that belonged to everyone. Everyone shared what they had, and everyone had enough.

Everyone had enough. No one was in need, and there was no surplus to hoard. Give us this day our daily bread, just enough for this moment. Help us to live out loving our neighbor as ourselves, Lord.

A Closing Prayer

Thank you, Lord, for so lovingly creating us to be creative, joyful, and in community. I pray that You would reveal to each person reading these words what that looks like to them within the identity that You have fashioned just for them. Thank You for knowing and loving us. Make us more like Jesus today.

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The Conversation Starts Here: 

In what ways are you living your life creatively?

In what ways are you living your life joyfully?

Share about your own community.

{Leave your questions + answers + thoughts in the comments below.}

walk

 

Some Fine Print:

This is the seventeenth of thirty-one installments to be posted throughout the month of October.
To view the entire table of contents as it is made available, click here.
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