Understanding who we are and how we are designed to function is key to having a healthy relationship with God, our self, and others. Once we gain this mastery it is difficult to shake us. Storms will come and will tear stuff up, but with this knowledge we will remain standing. After the storm has passed we will rebuild and be even stronger, wiser, and more beautiful than we were before.
Through this “Designed” curriculum I want to share some key principles and concepts for you over the next several weeks with the hopes that you will be able to gain clarity in situations you may be going through. I encourage you to get a journal and go through this process. Each lesson will include devotions, scriptures to meditate on, a prayer, questions for you to journal and reflect on and activities for you to do.
As we begin I want you to picture a large healthy oak tree, with a massive thick trunk. Imagine long strong branches reaching out in every direction that are loaded with healthy green leaves. Close your eyes for minute and really get a strong image of this tree. The tree is a picture of life and health. Try to hold on to that image as we work through these lessons. This tree will continue to be the visualization that we come back to as we work through trying to better understand God’s design for our lives.
DEVOTION: I have a love of beautiful things. Just having them in my home or being surrounded by them makes me feel a sense of awe, serenity and peace. One of the most beautiful places I can remember visiting is a state park in Pennsylvania. There was a rushing waterfall, lush green moss, massive stone boulders, and a canopy of trees. I remember the air being crisp and clean. The colors around me were vibrant earthtones and all shades of green, the sky above me was clear blue speckled with fluffy white clouds. The sounds of birds, wind, and water melded together into a symphony carried on a gentle breeze. I sat in that moment taking in all the splendor that surrounded me. It felt like I was momentarily transported to the setting of a fantasy movie. BUT IT WAS REAL! That is God’s handiwork! He has created so much beauty for us to enjoy. Other “beautiful things” that seem to endlessly capture my attention are a brilliant night sky, a colorful sunset, or field of flowers. There seems to be an endless amount of beauty. It is important to remember that not only are these things beautiful they are also functional and masterfully designed. When the sunsets, the night comes, it signals that the day is finished. A field of flowers serves as food for animals and insects. Each and every part of the state park that I enjoyed also had a purpose and reason for being. All these things are created by a creator and stamped with the name of that creator. YOU are created by the creator and stamped with his name. He made you beautiful and functional. You bear His image and display His glory. You are not an accident. You were not haphazardly thrown together. You were thought of, dreamed of, intentionally designed for this exact moment in time. You have a purpose. You are the very handiwork of God.
SCRIPTURE MEDITATION: Psalms 139:14 “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
Isaiah 61:3 “and provide for those who grieve in Zion–to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning,and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You are a masterful designer and an intentional creator. You have an eye for beauty and detail. I can hardly imagine that you would think to create me, yet that’s exactly what you did. I confess that when I look in the mirror or review my day I see many of my faults. Yet through your word you remind me that you made me and use me as a display of your splendor. Thank you for creating me. Thank you for designing me in a way that was intentional, purposeful, and beautiful. Help me to learn more about who you are and help me to understand who I am. Teach me how to live according to your design for my life and to fullfil the purpose that you created me for. In Jesus Name-Amen.
REFLECTIONS: What verse resonates with you and why? God created you in his image, for his glory and splendor…what does that mean to you personally?
ACTIVITY OPTIONS: 1.) Draw a picture of this healthy tree in your journal. 2.) Take a “mindfulness” hike in the forest and be especially aware of the trees. 3.) Search the internet and find pictures of trees that you think are especially beautiful or healthy, save the pictures of those trees on your computer.
UPCOMING LESSON: We are going to use a tree as a visual image for our future lessons. Each part of the tree will be used as an illustration of who we are as an individual. We will also discuss principals that govern each part. Over the next several weeks we will examine each part separately.
The roots symbolize our source of truth, our core identity. They are where we get the information that will feed into the health of every other part of who we are.
The trunk symbolizes the who we are as an individual. It will include our physical bodies, our emotions, and our thoughts.
The branches symbolize the ways in which we express our thoughts and emotions with others. They are pieces of all that we are reaching out into the world.
And lastly the leaves represent the relationships we have with those around us.
I hope you enjoy our lessons and gain insight into God’s design for your life.