Sunday, 23 September 2012

Seeing ourselves as God sees us: words of encouragement

A lot of children suffer from some degree of negative self image and one of the things we'd really like them to do is learn to see themselves as God sees them- loved and precious.

This is an activity we did both in our school lunchtime club and (with a bit more elaboration) at our church mid week club for 8-11s.  Once we'd established the rule that only 'good'  words could be used about ourselves and others this turned into quite a joyful and encouraging session, though one or two children struggled to begin with!

First we told the story of Gideon hiding in the winepress (click here for details of how to tell the story with a folding picture).  Out of the story we drew the idea that, even though we feel small, weak and useless sometimes, that's not how God sees us!  He sees how great we can be with His help!

Next we drew round our head and shoulders on A3 paper.  We sat silently for a short while and asked God to give us encouraging words about how He sees us.  We then wrote them into the shapes. After praying for encouraging words for each other, we then went round and wrote on everyone else's sheet the positive words that came into our heads.

To finish, with the midweek church group, we tried something new and asked God to give us pictures or words for someone else in the group (we've only really done this before for ourselves!).  I wrote each person's initial on a separate piece of paper and folded them all over so that no one could see who they had.  I then randomly redistributed the papers, we prayed for encouragement for our mystery person and wrote or drew what came to mind.  We had fun giving them back and sharing.  Only one person got themselves!  We had a rule that if nothing came into our head we could just write 'God bless you', but everyone came up with something to draw.

The children took their words and pictures and went away buzzing and positive and we, as leaders, really felt that something of God's love had been shared!

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