IMAGE OF GOD | Portia Owens, MTR Staff

God, full of grace and mercy, loves us and works in and through us to believe the best, initiate love, do what is right, dignify,


Christian
Black
Cis Woman
Heterosexual
Able-bodied
Kinky-textured hair
English-speaking
Dark skinned
Educator
American
Post-secondary education
Average build
Right-handed
Memphian

Listed above are a few social identity markers I hold. Some of these put me close to privilege/power and others do not.  As I go through life with these labels and being viewed as such, I have to wonder why. Why would God make me this way? If He loves me and has sent his Son to die for me so that I can gain access to Him, why is living as me so hard for others to accept? Christ died for me and you. Why is it so hard for me to get rid of these internalized messages of self-hate…I love myself, but sometimes I don’t feel it! Aren’t I enough?

Being made in His image helps to soothe my wondering mind in two ways. First, since God is perfect and makes no mistakes, I have to believe that my identities come from Him. If I am made in His image, He made me this way and there is nothing wrong with who I am. The seeds of hate I sow to myself or that I feel from others aren’t true. I need to push those seeds away and remember what He said about me. That’s my job.

Second, you are made in His image too. Our mistake-free God is completely obsessed with you, just like He is with me. The human qualities we have came from the same God so there is more that connects us than what divides us. If I start by seeing others as humans and image bearers, I am better equipped to accept what makes us different. Jesus told his disciples in John 13 to love one another as I have loved you. He said nothing about judging others who aren’t exactly like them. Just love and acceptance. That’s my job too. 

As image-bearers, we are already accepted by Him. This gives us the assignment to love ourselves and the responsibility to love all people. That’s our job.

A day before this picture was taken, I was struggling emotionally. My thoughts were all over the place and I cried myself to sleep. Anxiety about my future was real. God told me to get up and complete the task He gave me. Little did I know that the task of painting my kitchen was actually His way of isolating me from my anxious thoughts long enough for Him to refresh my faith in what He said. Worrying will never secure a desired outcome. My future is secured because of Him. My potential is secured at every step. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.   
James 1:2-4


Give today to support image-bearers like Portia!

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