Image.

- The image of God - The image of ourselves - The image of others -

 

I gave up a week of my life to serve where the silver lining of heaven and earth is thinnest. Malibu- A Young Life camp in Canada. It had been three long, years since I was at the Bu last. It was a life changing experience that taught me just what it means to be 'home'. After leaving Malibu that summer in 2016 I made the decision to stay home for college. (ironically I am no longer in college. whoops.) I wholeheartedly believe that because of that one decision I am now able to lead Young Life in Wenatchee, work at Mission Ridge, and continue to fully discover who God is. If it wasn't for experiencing his love and hearing his voice tell me to 'stay right where you're at because you are home' I don't know where I would be right now. My time in Malibu a few weeks back was so fulfilling in so many ways. Although I went to serve, I was truly served by the Lord. I've been to a handful of Young Life camps, but Malibu is very special. Time seems to stand still and everything around you seems to fall away. Psalm 139:23-24 says "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." I've learned that what is tested can be trusted. This winter was a long, cold, bitter season full of a lot of tests, trials and deep valleys. But through all of this-- this is how He grows me. As spring rapidly approaches I feel as though I am seemingly waiting for the floods to come, for the rains to pour and wash away all bitter, dead things in my life. My crops have not survived through the harsh winter and the soil needs a major renewal down to its bedrock. I am taking the steps to get back on Holy ground.

The image that we have of God seems to go a little something like this, a man with a long beard, white robe, probably wearing birkenstocks, and a 12 man 'boy band' group following him. So, what does the image of God really look like? Thankfully, the image of God extends further than the definition that we have made it. In sending Christ to the earth to live as a man, God shows us what it truly looks like to live a life in the image of God. Through Christ's example, we see that this life we have is one of servitude and goodness to others no matter what they do to us. Jesus even confronts all of the evil and destruction that we have created as rulers of the earth by taking on the full force of it when He died on the cross. Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus provided both an answer to the question 'what is the image of God' as well as a way in which all of mankind could start living new and filled with the love and goodness of Christ and acting fully in God's image. At the end of the Bible, this is the picture that we see - a new earth where all the saved rule over creation and push the world forward as images of God with Christ as their salvation and example.

How does the image I have of God influence the image I have of myself? In the book of Mark, Jesus heals a sick woman. He not only heals her illness, but also her physical shame- He calls her daughter. Verse 34 says "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." Not only did my crops suffer through the winter, I did too. If you didn't already know, I am no longer in Seattle, I moved back home with the job offer of my dreams at Mission Ridge. After working there for six years I finally worked my way up the ladder into a management position. I soon learned that there were underlying complications that would soon become very visible to all eyes. As time went on the water under the bridge rose and became very dark. This is hard for me to talk about beings that I take such pride in my work at Mission Ridge and have grownup and surrounded my life there- but I have lost my sense of 'home' on the mountain. I was wrecked. In my eyes I no longer held the same value that I once did. The image I had of myself had become tattered very quickly. I was so focused on the outward image I was putting out to the mountain that I seemingly forgot about the image I had within. I've found peace in this situation knowing that Jesus is the image of the invisible God and its through Him, though letting that image take shape that our whole image of reality is transformed. I wrote in my journal while at Malibu saying this: "How amazing is it that there is a man who is actually wanting to give you his whole heart? The same man who knows your varying thoughts, the same one who creates the mountains, oceans and you. I am endlessly blown away by every one of His creations, and yet I am just waiting for the day when I look at myself with the same smile he looks at me with. I know I am never alone, wherever I am He is there holding out he's heart in hand, waiting for me to take ahold of it. I am here, and He has found me yet again. I am at peace." It is with Him uniting with our wounds that we are freed.

Have you ever spent long hours hoping for something? I sure have. Like sunshine when it rains, for it to be summer when its the dead of winter, to already be retired from the carrier that I don't have, or to have an english bulldog. We seemingly want what we don't have. Why is that? What if instead of all of these things we strive to be world changers? Jesus is 'other' oriented by the people he surrounded himself with and influenced. It is so hard for us to see ourselves through the clear lens of God and not the rose colored glasses that the world supplies us with, and yet we still wonder why the human species has so many dilemmas in life. Instagram models, influencers, and just flat out beautiful humans. We seemingly compete with each other for the number of likes, views, and followers. But the image we have of each other is just as important as the image we have of God as they should reflect each other. As time goes on and I surround myself with people who know who they are, know who God is and know me, it becomes clearer who we made to be. So if you're like me, I challenge you to put down those rose colored glasses and pick up the clear lens of God to see who He is, who the people around you are, and most importantly who you are.

I would like to thank my past experiences for making me stronger both mentally and physically. I am who I am today because of those experiences and those lessons. As each season changes and shapes me into the true image that God has designed me into, I have to remind myself that everything happens for a reason, and He has reason behind his doing.

Song of the Blog: To Live Is Christ- Sidewalk Prophets