Genesis 1:26 says, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…” This is not a physical image, though man tends to think of it as such. It also says “us” and “our.” Who is “us” and who is “our?”
People have many concepts of who or what they think this deity called God is. Some believe that he is a man sitting up in the sky with long gray hair, white robe, and passing out judgments if someone doesn’t believe the way whoever is speaking at the time. Some believe that God is Love. Others believe that God is an energy that permeates everyone and everything in the Universe. When it comes down to it, we don’t know exactly what form this deity takes; we only have our beliefs, and whatever belief you have is fine. I am certainly not going to tell anyone that their concept is wrong. It’s what you believe at this time in your life.
The term “image” is more of an essence…the essence of God. Holy. Magnificent. Divine. Miraculous. Unconditional love. Therefore, if we were made in the image and likeness of God, wouldn’t that make us all these things, too? We have that essence of God within us. Some say that we have the DNA of God.
So, why do we feel less than? Personally, I believe that when we are born, we are born from the perfect, unconditional love of God. If we are made in God’s image and likeness, then we couldn’t be born in any other way. Some believe that we are born into sin, but I prefer to believe that we are born into the human experience. You’ve probably heard the phrase “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” The core of our being, or soul, is spiritual and comes from the divine.
I also believe that we came into this world knowing our magnificence and we know who we are. We start to become and feel less than because after we are born, our caretaker humans start teaching us all the lessons about being human; therefore, we start to forget our true selves. Instead of remembering our original essence of God, we take on the image and essence of our caretakers because we don’t know any better and then we forget.
We take on all the beliefs of those around us. We become a product of our upbringing, experiences, culture, religion, politics, general beliefs, and so on. Many are taught to hate others as well as themselves. We learn from the behaviors of those around us. Because of these negative influences, we take on feelings of low self-esteem and low self-worth. We believe what others say we are and then those beliefs become out identity.
I substitute in the area schools and one day I had an upper elementary school class. Sometimes, at the end of the class I like to give them a pep talk and have them repeat some affirmations such as, “I am magnificent!” “I am intelligent!” “I am beautiful/handsome!” “I am the best there is and it has nothing to do with anyone else!” After class, a young girl came up to me and said, “Miss Karen? You know all those things you said we are? I’m none of those things.” Broke my heart! I could only tell her that yes she was and she was so much more! How many of us feel the same way?
Some may say it’s conceited and wrong to say these things to ourselves, and yet it’s perfectly okay to say negative demeaning things. Friends, we should be saying loving and kind things to ourselves! Would we say those cruel, unkind things to other people? Then why to ourselves? Would God say those things to us?
Our self-talk is what limits us and puts us in a box of self-defeat. If we are made of the essence of God, then shouldn’t we acknowledge our inner and divine magnificence? We need to awaken ourselves to this truth! We need to remember who we really are! We know that we don’t have to listen to the people who are trying to keep us down and we can go directly to God/Source who will always love us and build us up! People will use fear and guilt to keep you down so that they can manipulate you and control your beliefs to align with theirs. That is not who God made you to be! We need to unlock the door of our inner prisons and set ourselves free!
Our beliefs become our identity; therefore be careful what you believe because that will be the world you create for yourself. You are magnificent and empowering beings! How can you be otherwise? You were made in the image of God!
(Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper November 9, 2012.)