Weird Belly Buttons And The Image Of God
I don’t really buy into that stuff in the Bible that says we are made in the image of God.
I mean…I believe it…I just don’t know why.
If I’m made in the image of God, then God must have a weird belly button, you know, not really an innie or an outie.
I guess I get what it’s saying though, maybe its more of a metaphor or something, like God was just letting us know in advance that he isn’t an alien or something. It also covers that whole “virgin birth” thing, if God is the Father, and Mary is the mother, it would have been even more weird if Jesus came out as a half-human/half-God-alien/fully God mix.
I suppose that I have to make light of being an image bearer of God because I don’t know how else to respond to it. It’s a lot of responsibility and pressure. Responsibility and pressure I don’t really care to have. I mean…think about what it actually means to be an image bearer of God…
Yesterday I got a hair cut and it ended up being a lot shorter than it has been recently, but it looks good. When I got home, I shaved my face with a razor. Sort of a big thing to do it with a razor because I never shave with a razor, I usually just use a beard trimmer without a guard on it fr that manly 5:00 shadow look that, since I can’t grow a beard, seems to last a week or so.
But I hadn’t shaved with a razor in a couple of years probably, and when I was done I looked in the mirror I saw my face and it reminded me of my dad’s face. The way my upper lip hangs over my lower lip a little bit, and the slightest hint of a double chin. Even my hair sort of looked like his, minus the touches of grey. I think everything else on my face, save maybe my ears, comes from my mother though. I looked in the mirror and saw an image of my father in myself. It was kind of a weird realization.
As you may or may not know, my relationship with my dad isn’t exactly peachy. He worked a lot when I was growing up and needing a dad the most. My grades started slipping right around the time he started working a lot overseas and wasn’t at home that much. I have wrote many things about my father, and all of them are kind of in the negative sense, how I can trace back a lot of things to him on why I suck at living. I went through stages with my father:
When I was little, I adored him, I would always want to go to the airport to drop him off and pick him up on all of his trips. I always wanted to talk to him on the phone when he called. But the more and more he worked, the more and more it hurt. To a boy, I didn’t see it as my father leaving to take care of us, I saw it as my father leaving me and my brother to fend for ourselves. So eventually, I just shut off all emotion to my dad. I stopped going to the airport and stopped talking to him on the phone. Even when he was home, I would ignore him. Soon, I started to drown out the memories I had of my father and I together too, because I wanted nothing to do with him. In the past, I’ve gone as far to say to other people that my father was “never there”. But sometimes, when I am doing random things, I have this moment where I remember my dad and I doing something when I was little, or I remember some dumb little song that he would sing to me. Now, my dad wasn’t around as much as I wanted him to be, but I had become so obsessed with hating my dad that in my mind he was never around.
It’s taken a long time, but things are looking up for my father and I. Nothing is perfect, but we have patched a lot of things up in our relationship. I have forgiven him, and he has forgiven me for holding grudges against him. Things are good between us.
But still, when I look in a mirror and see my father, it still weirds me out a little bit because I know my father, and I am not my father, in good or in bad, I am not my father.
So when the Bible says that I am made in the image of God, the Father, it weirds me out too because the same thing can be said, I am not my Father.
When I look in mirror and see my dad, it reminds me that I cannot escape who I am, that his DNA is inside me. The more time I spent with my father over the last couple of years only reaffirms that I am his kid, we have similar facial expressions and sayings, we both like good handcrafted beer, and just weird things like that.
When the Bible tells me I am made in the image of God, it’s like looking into a mirror and ever so briefly catching a glimpse of the Father’s face in my own. The more time I spend with Him, which I will admit seems to dwindle every year, the more I realize I am his kid. I think God and I laugh the same way and have the same smirk when people annoy us.
There are chunks of my life that I erased my father from my memory, and the same could be said about God too. I am not the person I imagined myself to be when I was all into Jesus. Being raised in a little southern Baptist church, going to church camps, wanting to be a preacher. I’m not that boy anymore, and sometimes I blot that image of myself out.
The weird thing about God is, even though I’m not the man he intended for me to be, I still hold His image. I’m still His kiddo whether I want to run away or find comfort in His embrace.
And just like the relationship with my dad, my relationship with God is complicated.
I can erase and forget memories, but it doesn’t change my image. I can hate my dad/God and run away, but it doesn’t change my image. I can get upset. I can lash out. I can lament. But it doesn’t change my image.
The truth is, my dad was always there when I needed him I just didn’t think he was. He may not have flown in from Russia or somewhere to help me with my Algebra or anything, but he was putting food on my table. He’s got me out of quite a few jams in my later years, and for that, I am very thankful and proud to bear his image.
I’ve noticed in coming to terms with my father that I treat God in a lot of the same ways. I’ve ignored him and his advice, and gone through that angsty stage where I feel like I know everything and can do everything on my own. I’ve abandoned Him and said he was the one who abandoned me.
But every time I see myself…I see God in there somewhere.
And since I am made in His image, I have the ability to overcome, through Him and for Him. Maybe God made us in his image so that we could find rest and fresh air in the fact that we cannot do this alone. That we come from a heritage, a bloodline, of people before us that couldn’t do it themselves either. Maybe He did it so when we glance in a mirror we see the face of God for just a moment, as if He himself were just winking at us to let us know he is there.
In the image of my dad, I get the good and the bad traits, that’s just life, and I’m ok with this,
In the image of God though, we get all the good stuff…the grace, the redemption, the peace, the rest…all of it. And, even more importantly, we all get it, everyone of us, as image bearers of the Creator. So even when we see ourselves and our friends and family broken down, we must remind them that they are the image of God. We must remember that we are children of the coming Kingdom.