There’s a sweet story of a little girl drawing a picture in her kindergarten class. The teacher watched the children as they created their pictures. Occasionally, she would walk around the room and stop to see each child’s work.
“What are you drawing?” she asked one little girl who was working diligently at her desk.
The girl replied, “I’m drawing God.”
The teacher paused and said, “But no one knows what God looks like.”
The little girl replied, “They will when I get finished!”
All of us have drawn pictures of God in our minds and hearts. Pictures that were handed down to us by others. Pictures that we were told are true. The most often drawn picture is of a God who keeps score and rewards and punishes humans according to his judgments. These pictures of God have not only been terrible, they have also caused – and continue to cause – great suffering to those who believe them.
The mystic Meister Eckhart had a passion for clearly pointing this out in his poetry:
How long will grown men and women in this world
keep drawing in their coloring books an image of God that
makes them sad?
It is a lie – any talk of God that does not comfort you.
I find nothing more destructive to the well-being of life than to support a god that makes you feel unworthy and in debt to it.
A god that could frighten is not a god – but an insidious idol and a weapon in the hands of the insane.
But God is Love. God is Consciousness, the Whole Energy of Being, and we live and move and have our being in It. This picture of God is something that all mystics and spiritual leaders agree upon. But it is so simple that few of us really believe it. The Old Testament tells us, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, is one Lord.” (Deuteronomy 6:4) The New Testament says the same thing. In fact, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy in Mark 12: 29. Acts 17:28puts it this way: “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, for we are also his offspring.”
You are a Picture of God
But there’s more. Many of us are familiar with these verses from the Bible:
Then God said, ‘Let usmake man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1: 26-27)
The Hebrew root of the Latin phrase, “Imago Dei” means image or likeness of God. In other words, you are a picture of God. But just as we have made pictures of God that are not true, so, too, have we drawn pictures of ourselves that are not true. What if instead we began accepting the real picture of ourselves as God’s picture? Think what it would mean if each of us really believed that we were made in the image of God and were gifted with all the gifts of God; that we are empowered to be living pictures of God’s Love, God’s Abundance, God’s Peace, God’s Intelligence, just as Jesus showed us through his living example. In believing in our own sacred worth, we’d begin to live up to our birthright. We’d take responsibility for our lives, for our thoughts and feelings, for how we show up in the world, for how we treat ourselves and others. We’d become what we were always meant to be.
This self-realization begins with us. God has already created us whole and wholly in God’s image.
Here are 3 things that you can do right now to begin thinking of yourself in this way. Just think of these as the “spiritual AAA” for the journey of your life.
- Accept a new self-image. Start your day by reminding yourself that you are one with God. In that oneness you are God’s living image and expression.
“Self-realization is the knowing – in body, mind, and soul – that we are one with the omnipresence of God.” – Paramahansa Yogananda
- Ask within yourself of God, “What is mine to do today?” Then do it.
- Allow yourself to embrace the possibilities for your life based on being the picture of God. God is counting on you to bring forth all the gifts that you’ve been given right where you are. The more you give them, the more you will find to give. You are needed and essential to God’s plan for this earth.