I absolutely hate pictures of me! Who is that woman wearing my clothes? She’s so much older than I imagine, a bit heavier than I imagine, and way too serious. You probably can’t relate. Most people either like their pictures or have made peace with the image they see. I am in total disbelief.

            Pictures are a reality check. We think: “I guess I was really tired when that one was taken” or “I need to get back on the treadmill”. Maybe you have other thoughts. “I look more like my mother than I realized…. I should call Shelly; she looks a bit sad in that picture….Look at Josh. He has such a happy spirit.”

            Beyond our physical appearance, we can see our mood and sometimes the effect of the stress on our life. But pictures can’t show our soul or our spirit. The one who looks tired may have a great love for the work they’re doing or a strong perseverance despite its challenges. Sometimes we can see love in a picture, especially when a mother is looking in the eyes of her baby. But some things can be hidden. We are more than that snapshot in that moment of time.

            We are our hopes and dreams. We are the passion that drives us to do the work we love. We are a creative being, whether it is a work of art, or a dinner well-prepared, a letter written to a friend, or an email sent to a family member needing encouragement. We are a loving member of the world, even if the love shown is just a hug for a grandchild or a compliment to a neighbor. We are a spiritual entity. We are a child of God.

We are even more. We are the reason Jesus paid the price for sin. He loved us so much that He died for us. No words are adequate to describe that kind of love. The Bible gives us some: “You have made My heart beat faster, My sister, My bride; you have made My heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes.” (Song of Solomon 4:9)  “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1) “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.” (Ephesians 3:18-19) “The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.” (Lamentations 3:22)

            When you see a picture of yourself, look inside. See that person of hope, that creative being, that creature filled with love, for that is the real you. See yourself in God’s eyes as well. He’s not looking at the imperfections. He sees the person you are becoming, the one you are meant to be and will be for all eternity, the unique person He created. And He sees all this with the eyes of the greatest love that exists. He sees the real you.

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