Seeing Our Creative God

“So often we miss life’s beauty because we’re too preoccupied with it’s flaws.” -Ann Spangler

 

Did you forget God created you in His image? Or that He created the ground you walk on and grass you seem to mow 24/7? Or the cat who keeps calling your new patio cushions home?

I think we become so engrossed with what’s wrong or “what just has to be survived” rather than remembering the Creator who made it, Who thought it out of absolutely nothing to reflect Him.

It may seem rather Pollyanna-ish to think about it, but when you start to see a person as a fellow creative image of Him, created by His hand, you tend to approach them differently. You value them in a different way and the time you are given to interact and engage with them. It reflects our God, His creativity and absolute sovereignty in situations and our lives.

When we focus on the flaws of this life, even in ourselves, we miss the absolute wonder and creativity of the God who created this world from nothing, created us from mere dust of the earth, who brought land to life and animals into being. What if we focus on His beauty and creativity in our day rather than the flaws or ways we wish it were instead? I truly believe it brings Him joy and we get to give some praise back when we are able to celebrate His creative character in those small ways in every single day.

A Beautifully Designed Review

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“What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman?”

These words greet you as you open Matt Chandler’s A Beautiful Design. These questions linger in our lives, in our culture, and have been very present over the centuries regardless of location or religion.

I found myself throughout this study, coming back to Chandler’s initial question through the lens of God’s Word and who He says we are and the definition presented in Scripture.

Chandler’s study allows you to wade into fairly deep waters over a 9 week study, where you look at the Creation story of man and woman, how we are in His image created, and then diving into the separate examinations and study of both men and women. While I was a bit leery of being a single woman doing this study, after having completed it, I would recommend every single and married do this study in the church. Chandler has also adapted this study for teens and I do encourage that as well.

There are parts of the weekly sessions, where you are to be in a group setting watching the accompanying videos (not included in review) and completing the fill in the blank guide. The three part studies following that session are deep in their content and supplement the sessions topics from the larger setting. It allows for conversational insights between couples as well as family applications within the home each week. As a single, that can be adapted, and one I found myself doing with friends as I worked through this study.

As a woman, I appreciated the insight on the design for manhood, and the look into womanhood deeper than the go-to many dwell on in teaching of “submissiveness.” As a believer, it challenged me in some meaningful ways to look at who God created me to be, how the fall has marred that, and how redemption has brought my story back to His crafting.

I have recommended this study over and over again even while I was in the midst of reviewing it to so many. It’s timely, it’s relevant and it is much needed within the dynamics of the church for us to understand what womanhood and manhood truly are in relation to God’s design.

Interested in more from the Chandler’s? Read my review of Lauren Chandler’s book A Steadfast Love.


Reviewer’s Note: This study was provided for free in exchange for a review.

Mossy Trees, Creation, and Tuesdays

Recently I have been enamored with the bigness of the world, of everything around me. One of my absolute favorite things is to look up under a tree, sometimes catching the sun peaking through the leaves and branches. I caught myself yesterday just standing on this beautiful plantation enveloped in the absolute bigness of this world. I probably looked crazy standing with eyes closed underneath hanging moss breathing deep, but honestly the older I get the more I really don’t care the perceptions of strangers. Their dialogue on my life isn’t affecting me breathing in the goodness of the creation before me. 

It’s the created reveling in the Creator’s work. 

No other part of creation, from His Hands, were created to enjoy this creation, to look at it with eyes of wonder and joy, to be content in giving Him the glory for all that is. When we look at Genesis 1:31 we see this same affirmation by God, “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” (HCSB, emphasis mine) Even as I type Bryan and Katie Torwalt are filling the still of my room with the words “let us experience the glory of Your goodness,” (from Holy Spirit, which makes me weep with joy) and that is a prayer worth singing out each and every day.

My hangup comes though when I want that bigness in every moment, grandeur and flooding visions of beauty and praise. Often the bigness of His creation is brought small in my life. It’s in the glimpse from a rear view, the quick word of encouragement, the found note from a memory long ago, or even the breath filling deep in a moment when the world may be coming in quick and hard. 

I sometimes forego the creation joy to push for the grander reveling, big moments held out for instead of sitting in the beauty of a Tuesday as Emily P. Freeman writes about so perfectly in Simply Tuesday. The small matters, the quiet stillness of a moment or a task completed is worthy of acknowledgement and we alone are created for that. The small leads and grows us day in and day out, walking us to the big to cherish and know of the Creator deeper. We run after big, wanting that in everything and every day when the small is with us in the moment.

Honestly it’s like saying we want Christ in His table-turning, miracle-performing  rather than the whispers of the Holy Spirit in moments. Both worthy and things worth desiring, but y’all we get both. We get the big and the small alike. It’s our choice to see the small as a means of revelry and praising. The bigness of creation is brought small by the Creator each day, it’s our choice as the created to recognize it for the very good that it is before us. 

Even when it means stopping in the midst, eyes closed, allowing Creator to meet with me the created under a mossy tree in the middle of Mississippi.