There is no place on this earth we can go without being in awe of God’s creations. The oceans, the countryside, the mountains. We can sit in our own yards and behold the industry of ants and the antics of our pets and know that they are not mere consequences of a random universe. We can look at the night sky and see meteor showers or constellations and be in awe of the grandeur of something so remote and so enormous. We can sit in biology class examining a single-celled organism in a microscope and marvel at the fact that life is contained in that tiny speck. We can watch a newborn baby discover her thumb and know that God has had a hand in this event.
“…and indeed, it was very good,” says Genesis. Unfortunately, we creations of God sometimes don’t feel so good about ourselves. When we hurt someone we love or put a dent in the fender or do poorly on a test or make fools of ourselves, it is easy to feel that we must be one of God’s mutants, one of the ones who just didn’t turn out so well.
But self-loathing is wrong—God doesn’t loathe us, or God wouldn’t have created us. The fault lies not in us as God’s creations, but in our actions during moments of weakness or fear. We say terrible things to ourselves, things we would never say to others or to a child. Rather than treat ourselves harshly when we mess up, let’s instead ask God’s forgiveness for our less-than-perfect actions, remembering that we are indeed God’s beloved creations. And let’s treat ourselves with the patience and love we usually reserve for others.
- Can you recall a specific moment of wonder you felt as a child experiencing God in nature for the first time? How did you feel?
- How do you find God in nature? in your family? in yourself?
- Can you remember a time in your life when you messed up badly and how you treated yourself? Did anyone else treat you as harshly?
- Write a prayer thanking God for creating you. List any specific areas of weakness you see in yourself and ask for God’s help to strengthen you in those areas.
- The next time you do something you typically get angry with yourself for, step back before you start putting yourself down and ask yourself, “Would I say something this hurtful to a child?” Then try addressing yourself gently, but firmly, as you would a child who had done something wrong.
- Make a date with yourself and go someplace where you found wonder as a child, perhaps to a zoo or an aquarium. If possible, take a child with you. Watch the child’s reactions and listen to their observations about what you’re both seeing. Then, write a letter to yourself, detailing the spectacular creations of God that you found there and thank God for them.