I’m not one to bring up controversial issues let alone boldly tackle whats been deemed a touchy subject. So as a precursor, this post is no different.
I’ve been thinking a lot about why I am so drawn to tattoos, to permanent ink on the skin of others. Seems a little bizarre that not only do I enjoy the visual aesthetic, but they unfailingly draw me in to someone, provoking numerous thoughts on God, his Word and his eternal kingdom. The more I get to thinking, the more I discover legitimate themes of truth, woven into and birthed out of the concept of tattoos. I’d love to share them with you.
My hope and intention for this post is that the focus will be on the truths that tattoos cause me, personally, to dwell upon, rather than tattoos themselves. Truths I believe the Lord makes known and stirs within me for my good and his glory. My intent isn’t to stir further controversy around this topic, but to simply share my thoughts and what Scripture has to say, the former may be irrelevant, but the latter, authoritative. So without further ado, here are three reasons why I love tattoos:
They Tell a Story
We all have a story. I love that tattoos can tell our stories. Stories are God-given. Being a very visual person, to see a story, or a piece of it, represented visually, gives me something to hold on to. Something to remember. I think those with tattoos are often prone to use ink to help tell their story, even if only in part. Maybe it’s to look back and remember a person, an event or a season of time that was significant. Maybe it’s to fully embrace the present, the hardship or the joy. Maybe it’s to look ahead, hopeful for the future. God gives us these stories as he has ordained our footsteps and made known the paths we take. Even the regretted tattoo. I have a friend that has a pretty large Arkansas razorback on her foot. She got it at a time that she can look back on and thank the Lord for his deliverance in her life. He has rescued us out of darkness, and the darkness is a part of our journey into light. The darkness is evidence of his grace that pulled us from it. Why not see it as a pillar of remembrance? This same friend also has a tattoo that reads “I am the Lord’s”. What a beautiful picture of redemption with God and tattoos.
They Point to the Creativity of the Creator
We have a creative Creator. We can look around us and easily see the creativity of God. The intricacy of humanity. The beauty of creation. The boldness of light and color. The vastness of space and time. God has the mind and power to create, visually. Tattoos remind me of this. Tattoos are artistic and creative, from the heart and mind of the person who fashioned them. Sure, they are permanent, but they can be beautifully artistic. It reminds me that we too, have the ability to create. Created in his image, he gives us a glimpse of his own ability. We see it through art, through music, through design, through literature, and through countless other mediums. Tattoos are artsy, and I’m prone to the artsy. But I think God is too. He is the source and the expression.
They Cause Me to Dwell on the Eternal
We have a future, an eternity, to come. This is not the end. The permanency of tattoos has never scared me. I’m not sure why, but I just can’t seem to care that I’m stuck with it, until death do us part. Throughout Scripture, we are advised to hold on loosely to this life, for it is temporary. To fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is transient but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18) Given Paul’s writings to the church in 1 Corinthians 15, we can count on a bodily resurrection in which our bodies will be transformed and perfected, upon Christ’s return, appropriately for eternity with Him. We can look ahead with anticipation and hope if we are in Christ. The “permanency” is not quite permanent. Neither is the darkness of this world, the sorrows or the pain (Revelation 21:4).
I’m not advocating that every reader go out and get inked. Or even that you would have positive feelings toward tattoos. But I would encourage you to look, not only to tattoos, but to the overlooked, everyday things, that God could use to point you to himself. Let him stir truth within you. Let him remind you that he is the author of your story, that he is a God of immense creativity and that this life on earth is not the end. What truths is he stirring up in you? Glorify him as you consider them. Give thanks that he is a God who reveals himself to you.