My Image of God

I love taking pictures! The funny thing is I don’t always like seeing them after they’re developed. I always pitch the ones that aren’t good. I’m especially quick to get rid of those where eyes are half-closed or a mouth is crooked. And you can just forget about the ones where the camera adds 10 pounds. These are not the images I want in my photo album or hanging on my refrigerator.

I was editing my digital photos and began to wonder if God sees the way I picture Him and wants to edit or delete a few of my images. There have been many times when my image of God didn’t accurately portray Who He is. Times when my image of God conjured feelings of fear and condemnation instead of protection and assurance.

My childhood experiences played a big role in shaping my earliest images of God. Growing up, we went to church on and off but God wasn’t talked about at home. He seemed distant and unapproachable. I thought if I wanted to talk to Him I needed to go to someone who knew Him a little better, like a church leader. We didn’t talk to God at home except to pray before meals, mostly at holidays. I guess we had religion, but not really a relationship with God.

I wanted God to like me or to be pleased with me. So I tried to be a “good girl” by working hard at school and following most of the rules at home. I didn’t want God to get mad at me like my parent’s did when I disappointed them. (No fault of theirs – just my own impression).

I also thought God expressed love the same way my father did. My dad showed love by taking me shopping. If God brought good things in my life, such as recognition at school or tangible blessings like a car when I turned sixteen, I felt His love. When life was hard and I was lonely, I wondered where God was and what I had done wrong.

I basically saw God on the sidelines of life keeping score. I had created Him in my image and some photos needed restoration. A few images needed to be deleted permanently.

Hebrews 1:3 tells us, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.” I’ve found this verse is powerfully true. The more I get to know Jesus by spending time with Him, the more I know the heart of God and the truth about His heart towards me!

So, when you close your eyes and think about God, what do you see? Is He approachable and loving or distant and demanding? Do you run to Him when you’re hurting? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Also, do you have a favorite verse or story that has shaped your image of God?

My thought for today: When God looks at my images of Him, does He want them hanging on my refrigerator for friends and family to see?

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. Oh, what a long story it would be if I shared all that it took to get me to “see” God the way He really is, looking at me with eyes of compassion and love, holy and just- but approachable- all because of Jesus.

    Our childhood experiences and perspective are just that that- of our childhood, when we “thought like a child, spoke like a child”. But when we grow up and come into wholeness, we realize we have to grow “onward”- past the painful confusing perspective of a child, into the perspective of an adult who knows she’s loved and accepted by the Beloved.

  2. Great story Renee. Thanks for sharing! Wrong images of God often fill our minds but He wants us to see Him clearly and to see ourselves through His eyes.

  3. Wow Renee. you’ve inspired me to write about a few things. Great article and I have MUCH to think about. I’ll get back to you about this.(off to ponder and chew now)

  4. Love you girl!!!

  5. Oh this was wonderful Renee. It gave me a great deal to think on.
    Wow!

  6. Renee- Please stop by my blog. I’ve awarded you the Mathetes Award for excellence in discipleship!

  7. I love the smell of fall. That earthy smell mingled with the crisp, cool air is wonderful. I love all the back to school supplies and the beautiful colors of the leaves. It’s my favorite time of year! Please enter me. Thanks.

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