Don't you just love to look at pictures of children? Even when they're messy and dirty and causing mischief, they're just so cute! I have a picture of my youngest when he was about 2 years old, sitting on the floor, with his face almost entirely covered by ketchup from the hot dog he'd just eaten!
Of course, not every picture of a child is "cute." Pictures of starving children, homeless children, abused children...these are heart-wrenching images, but, for me at least, there is still just something so precious and endearing about the child, the innocence in their eyes, and you just want to clean them up, feed them, hug them and make everything better.
Now, pictures of ME? That's another story! I love taking pictures, and I HATE being in them...because when I see a picture of myself, I see all that's "wrong" with me...I'm too tall, too skinny, my teeth are not a Crest commercial waiting to happen, I always have the whole "red eye" thing going on, and somehow, every picture was shot on a bad hair day. Oh, and I often seem to have my mouth open in pictures (which is really quite realistic, since about the only time I'm not talking is when I'm eating). Trust me--there is a REASON I use Eeyore for my profile pic; he's more photogenic!
The other day, I came across a picture of one of my nieces that I just love...it's one that I played with in Photoshop, cropping it down to focus in on the eyes, which were particularly striking, and then posterizing it:
As I looked at this picture the other day, I thought about how a picture of a child just makes you want to hug them, and it struck me--THIS is how our Father sees us. He never, ever looks at us and thinks, "wow, she could stand to lose a few pounds," or "lose the beard, seriously, man." No, he just looks at us and sees something so precious He longs to hold us. He looks in our eyes and LOVE overwhelms Him (not that God can be overwhelmed the way WE think of it, but you get the idea).
Now, I could go a lot deeper with this (and probably WILL at some point), but for now, I just want to stop right here, because if we can truly GET this one point, that God LOVES us and we are absolutely precious to Him, no matter WHAT we look like on the outside (in fact, He MADE that outside, and He's pretty proud of it!), if we truly GET how we make Him feel...when we really get a hold of that truth, it will indeed set us free. Free from our self-critical natures, free from our fears, free from the baggage we carry around, from our concerns about how others see us. Free to just Love Him. And there IS nothing greater in this life.
Go right now and find a picture of yourself--or better yet, look at yourself in a mirror. Not at your faults, not at your physical features...look at YOURSELF, the you that God sees. See the child there that He loves so much He just wants to pick you up and hold you...even when we've messed up, He still looks at us as a precious child and just wants to clean us up, feed us (spiritually), hug us and make everything better. Now, if THAT doesn't make you feel pretty good about yourself, nothing will!!
He loves you, as if you were still a little child...because, to Him, you are.
Be a child, and love Him back, freely, openly, without reservation!
"What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31
"Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." " Matthew 19:14