Latin, meaning the image of God. A tiny grouping of letters scattered inky over pristine white, 5 terse syllables, but what does it mean?
It means that engraved through your very core, you bear the signature of a God who cannot forget you. Like any good Father, He can’t help but love you. He can’t stop thinking about you. He will go to any lengths to save you.
His were the first eyes to see you, microscopic in your mother’s womb. Glinting back at Him, was you. A fragment of His nature runs stitched through your soul. A piece of Himself, sparkling and irresistible. He made you. And He loves, loves who He made.
Hear me in this: you are not a mistake.
You are beautiful and immutably priceless. You are idiosyncratic, and that’s a good thing. You are uniquely you, because you are like Him as no one else is or ever will be. Eternity pulses through your veins because you are linked, irrevocably, to Him.
You are forever and hopelessly His favorite.
You are Imago Dei.
He likes your early morning inclination, your determination, your shy. He likes your gentle. He likes your eraser collection, your obsession with old books, your weird quirks, your silly habits. He likes your night owl tendencies, your flair, your loud. He likes unique.
Don’t, I beg you, scrub your personality in favor of some notion that your quirkiness isn’t Christian. Jesus likes quirks. He likes funny. He likes YOU.
Align your will and actions with Christ. Live out Scripture. But do it in the unique way that’s all yours. You, love deeply through your individual gift. You, share Jesus in the way that He’s equipped you best. You, dare to be Jesus to a world thirsty for Living Water.
We need you to be you. Desperately. In a world of chain stores and too many imitations, we need original. We need genuine. We need people who are living out the Gospel, authentic and unafraid. Strong and gentle and able to live outside the lines.
We are not called to be boring people. Why do we automatically assume that we all have to fit the cookie cutter mold, when never once in Scripture are we told to all be the same? Never once. I think we might just assume that because the Pastor or Pastor’s wife or that amazing Christian speaker is (insert description here), that “Oh, that’s what good Christians look like.” They do. That’s who they are. And it works for them. But you are not them, and trying to be someone that you are not is a sure recipe for disaster. Be unique. Be yourself.
I have spent way too much of my life confusing self-transformation with progressive sanctification. The first is something I do. The second is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of an obedient Jesus-lover. He will change you, but only in the best way. Only in the way that makes you more like yourself, more like Himself. Like tarnished silver transforms as it is polished, He rubs the sin nature and ingrained selfishness off through the tumble and friction of life. Until one day, His face shines back, clear and beautiful.
Doesn’t it awe you when you really think about this: He imprints a part of His very nature on your soul. When you let it out and live who He made you to be…we see a flash of Him. It’s beautiful. When we all live it out …when the church unites…a picture emerges through the jagged and imperfect jigsaw pieces. Jesus. “Now we see in a mirror dimly, but some day we will see face to face.” (Paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13:12).
The Jesus I see in you, and in my family, and my church family, and believers I meet everywhere…it’s all a heavenly glimpse of the One we long for. When I see Him in another person…it points me to Jesus. The best parts of you make me hunger for heaven.
Because the best in you…is Him.
And oh, it’s beautiful.
This post first appeared on Faith+Testimony May 2016