Image of God

worldMy wonderful mother introduced me recently to the energy-profiling work of Carol Tuttle, author of The Child Whisperer and It’s Just my Nature! and other books. What separates energy profiling from personality assessment is that it focuses on nature (energy/movement), not personality (behaviour). We are born with our natures and they are fixed, whereas personality develops later and, because of the coping mechanisms we employ, is not always completely indicative of nature.

It’s been extremely beneficial to me to be able to look at all those in my life, and particularly myself, and really understand where we are all coming from. Using Ms Tuttle’s system, I am a Sensitive Type 2 married to a Determined Type 3 – and we have a Fun-Loving Type 1 daughter, Sensitive Type 2 or More Serious Type 4 son (I haven’t quite decided), and a very much Determined Type 3 daughter.

The most important thing I have learned throughout is that when we fight our true natures, we are miserable. When we insist that others change to fit our image of them rather than honouring them for who they are, we deeply wound and confuse them.

Were you ever told in childhood that you were too (insert adjective)? Did you receive cues from society, subtle or otherwise, that it was not okay to be who you were: an assertive female, for example, or a nurturing male?

How many of us have responded to the pressure by trying to change our spots and stripes? Except that, we really can’t change our God-given spots and stripes.

And our spots and stripes are all God-given.

The beauty of it is that we need all energy types. When all four types work together and are permitted to excel according to their own natural strengths, amazing things happen. It’s an incredibly beautiful thing.

Taking it further, I have often heard author and Franciscan priest Fr. Richard Rohr recommend that whenever we encounter another human being, we repeat to ourselves, “Image of God. Image of God. Image of God.”

I’ve experimented, and it is incredible what happens to my “judging mind” (we all have one!) when I remember that the person I am looking at is made in the image of God. That person may not look or sound beautiful in that moment in any way to me, but when I think to myself, “Image of God,” I have felt my eyes lose their sharpness and physically soften. I begin to notice positive things about them that I wouldn’t otherwise. My mind and heart open to the deep sadness and loss that has led this person to their behaviour on this day. I begin to look past their behaviour and catch a glimpse of their true nature and goodness beneath. (And of course, these things are all also true of myself. I do not always behave in a beautiful manner.)

Image of God.

This is true for the addict. For the mother screaming at her kids in the grocery store. For the person on the other side of the political aisle. For the protester outside the abortion clinic and for the person working in it. For the newborn baby and for the elderly person. For the people of every colour, religion, gender and sexual orientation. For your enemy and for your best friend.

Black, white, male, female, fun-loving, serious, sensitive, patient, determined, practical, imaginative, perfectionist, understanding…we are all made in the image of God. We are all, imperfectly and incompletely, images of God.

When we work together, loving and accepting each other and ourselves for who we really are, with God in us, we have a chance at experiencing a sense of peace and wholeness even in this life.

No, it’s not easy.

But what an incredible thing it would be.

You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. ~ Ephesians 4:4-6, The Message.

~ by Jeannine Buntrock

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