How life couldn't be better
How life couldn't be better
22 June 2016
I spent some time today with the man I love doing what we did when we first met – hanging out with homeless people. Or as my son Judah puts it (so much better), “visiting friends, who have no homes”. One friend, Alma, is pictured above and she is rockin’ the rose-coloured glasses. When we asked how she was she said she “couldn’t be better ... life is amazing”. It was then that I knew she was seeing life through a different lense than me. And this matters.
During Lent this year, I participated in a challenge at infinitumlife.org to capture an image of living a boundless life, characterised by surrender, generosity and mission every day. And it’s made me pay attention to the way I see the world. The things and people I see and how I view them. It’s made me wonder about my perspective on things. And how that perspective matters. Because how I see the world and its people drives my response to them – and to God.
God modelled this in the creation story. When he made the elements of his creation he “saw that it was good”. Every time. He “saw that it was good”. And when he made the finale – the last act – the top of the order it was humanity he made and gave breath. The scripture says “male and female”, created in the image of God. And he saw that it was very good [Genesis 1:31]. He saw. And the way he saw brought value to us. And still does.
How God sees you is not dependent on the world’s lenses. He does not look at the outside, which he declares out loud (all the time) through Scripture. He is not looking for fancy or rich or accomplished or cool. He is also not looking for failure, flaws, imperfections or rejection. He is simply not looking either way – he is looking past those ways with his own way of love, and value and meaning and beauty inside of you. You look amazing to him. Just like he looked upon the first humans, he looks at the person he created in you and says, “you are very good”.
Often when we present the gospel story we start with sin. Sin is our human capacity to mess everything up – including ourselves. But sin is not where the story started. The story actually starts in Genesis 1, not Genesis 3. And it starts with God seeing what he had created and declaring it good. That we were good. We were created for goodness. For beauty. For truth. For freedom. And that is why when we catch glimpses of goodness, beauty, truth or freedom something stirs in us. It’s the very image of God in us that is stirred. In our deepest selves it is an awakening, an invitation. A new way to view the world. A fresh way to view ourselves and really see each other.
So if ever I needed a reminder to put on some rose-coloured glasses, it was today. Thanks Alma for the reality check that life couldn’t be better.
Major Danielle Strickland is the Social Justice Secretary for The Salvation Army in Los Angeles, USA.