Tom and I are just back from retreat. It has been a good time to refresh and refocus. During the time away I read Ken Gire’s: The Reflective Life. It is a great book for busy people who are wanting to take more time to listen, look and learn. I was particularly struck by a Thoreau quote he used: When you look at the world what do you see, a quote which focused on how we view the world around us. What held my attention though was a question that emerged in my own mind: When I look at myself and those around me what do I see?
Part of what I realized is how easily I focus on the negative attributes in my own personality, the things I want to see changed, the attitudes that I know are far from Christlike, the struggling places that have not yet been transformed. So my question to myself was – Do I see myself as a beloved child of God, made in the image of God, gifted by God, struggling yes but passionately wanting to walk closer with God every day not just in my attitudes but also in my actions. Do I see myself as a person that God is proud of?
What do we miss out on because we rarely take time to reflect on how God sees us. Most of us are very aware of our own shortcomings and we know that these shortcomings separate us from God. What we don’t realize is that dwelling on these shortcomings separates us even more from God. When we dwell on the negative and refuse to see in our selves the reflection of a loving, caring God we build a wall that is very hard for God to penetrate. I find that some of the most humble Christlike people I know feel alienated from God because they are unable to see themselves as God does and allow themselves to be embraced by God’s affirmation. They are unable to draw close and hear the acclamation Well done good and faithful servant.
This is such an important question to ask ourselves at this season. As we draw close to Advent the season that proclaims God’s drawing close to us, we need to do what we can to break down the barriers that separate us.
So my question this morning is – When you look at yourself what do you see? Do you see a beloved child of God, who is God is very proud of or are you only aware of your faults and failures? If we cannot see the good in ourselves and impression of God’s image that is still very present in all of us, then we carry heavy loads that God does not want us to. So this morning take some time to listen to God and ask how God sees you. I think that you will be surprised at how quickly God responds with affirming, loving and approving thoughts.