How Does God See Us?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA second way to grow in our true and deeper understanding of ourselves is to pray with Scripture passages that help us to understand who we are: who we are created to be, who we are called to be. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is full of God’s understanding of who we are, God’s love for us, God’s invitation for us to grow into “other Christs.”

If we have been praying with the Scriptures for several years or more, we might find it helpful to look back at our spiritual journey and make note of the Scripture passages that were foundational for our journey in Christ. These key Scripture passages resonated with us in part because they told us who we are in God’s eyes, and how God is inviting us to become our best selves in Christ. Picking 5 or 6 of these Scripture passages to go back to and pray with can be very helpful in reaffirming our true identity: as children of God, as disciples of Christ, as sent by the Spirit.

For those who’d like, here is a short list of passages from the Bible that affirm our identity in God, in Christ. Please add your favorite passage to this list in the comments below, and I’ll add them in!

  • Isaiah 43:1-7
    God speaks to us: “You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.”
  • Psalm 139
    “O Lord, you search me and you know me.”
  • Ephesians 1:3-10
    “He chose us in him before the world began.”
  • Ephesians 2:4-5
    “But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.”
  • Zephaniah 3:17
    “The Lord your God is in your midst,
         a warrior who gives victory;
    he will rejoice over you with gladness,
    he will renew you in his love;
    he will exult over you with loud singing.”
  • John 15:15
    “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19
    “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
  • Ephesians 2:10
    “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
  • 1 Peter 2:9
    “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

SeeYourselfCoverFor guided meditations on discovering who we are in God’s eyes, you can check out my book, See Yourself Through God’s Eyes: 52 Meditations To Grow in Self-Esteem.  You can also check out the app (free on iTunes, .99 on GooglePlay) or other free resources here.

Key Discernment Questions: Who am I & What do I want?

We continue to use the storytelling lens to reflect on the importance of coming to know ourselves and our motivations.

hand-534867_1280Our God-given identity is often expressed in our deepest desires and needs, as well as by our choices and actions. Knowing that we are made in the image of God as well as weak and sinful, it’s crucial that we come to know ourselves and our inner life well. This includes knowing our motivations, too. For example, if we are kind to someone, we can have any of the following motivations—or a mix of them—for that one act of kindness:

  • trying to please the person who is with us
  • hope to get something back from the person we are being kind to
  • a sense of duty
  • the genuine virtue of love

Many times, if we are honest with ourselves, our motivations will be mixed. No matter how simple or complex they are, when we know our motivations, we are better able to freely choose what will make us deeply happy.

* * *

Here is a rather extreme example. In the Middle Ages, sometimes women entered religious life because it seemed a path to greater independence in a time when women’s equality with men was not commonly understood or respected, especially married women. Circumstances often pushed women to seek the relative freedom of religious life even if they weren’t called. And a woman in such a situation might feel attracted to life in the convent. If she didn’t know herself well, she might have thought her attraction to the convent was a call from God rather then her own need to escape a loveless marriage or oppressive circumstances. Trapped in difficult situations, many women who weren’t called opted for religious life. As a result, some convents became quite lax because many of the sisters were not following a call from God but seeking escape.

Our deepest needs and desires—the ones that have been placed in us by God—will motivate us and shape our entire lives.

* * *

My own personality was and still is shaped by a deep need for meaning and purpose in my life. I think I’ve always been this way, and to this day, my need for purpose and meaning continues to be very important to me. I know that this need can even make me see, a bit more serious than other people—at least on the surface. When I visited the sisters as a teenager, I was drawn to them partly because I thought that living their apostolate of contemplative prayer and active mission would give my life more meaning.  (When I got home, I tried to live a little bit of a convent schedule, and ended up frustrated and discouraged!)

Ultimately, my need for meaning and purpose in life became one of my main motivations for entering religious life, and I think it continues to influence me—even in difficult moments— because I can find joy as long as I continue to feel that I’m living my life’s purpose—drawing closer to Christ and sharing his love with the world.

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To Journal About

Think back on some of the major choices you’ve made in your life. If you can, pick three. For each one, reflect on the following questions:

* What was the driving factor or motivation in each decision that you made?

* What inner needs or desires were you seeking to fulfill by making that decision?