“What labels are you putting on yourself or allowing others to put on you?”
This past weekend my church had our annual “Camp No Boys Allowed” for our 7-12th grade girls. It’s one of my favorite weekends of the year. We laugh, we cry, we dominate in flag football, we worship Jesus, and there are NO BOYS. Now, don’t get me wrong– I am a huge fan of boys (well men, really) but it is so fun spending a weekend with 300 other girls/women without the male species around. You with me?
Anyway, our new friend, Annie Downs, brought the Word to us at camp. Your words matter. That was her bottom line. The words you say to yourself, the words you say to others, and the words you say to God. Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. [Proverbs 12:18]
So, the question above was not (obviously) one that came through via email, but it was a question that Annie posed to us.
What labels are you putting on yourself or allowing others to put on you?
Some are just basic roles I play: daughter, sister, mentor. Those first two (daughter/sister) are ones that were given to me. Just by being born and having siblings, I am those things. Mentor is a label I gave myself, a label that I want to live out as best as possible.
Achiever and strong are labels that I also place on myself. They aren’t inherently bad labels, but I often take them to the extreme. It’s a high demand I place on myself that I have to be a high achiever. I have to be strong. At some point, those labels lead to me believing lies. I can’t show weakness. I can’t cry. I can’t feel. I can’t be vulnerable. Those are horrible words I repeat to myself.
Then we get in to the even darker labels: perfect, not thin enough, not pretty enough, too much. Funny how those seem to contradict each other, don’t they? That’s what lies do–they try to attack you from all sides–even if it’s contradictory.
So what labels would you say you put on yourself?
Annie challenged us to…
1. Identify the labels we put on ourselves.
What’s crazy is that you and I don’t even realize half of the labels we allow to define us. But we carry them around like giant bricks in our backpack, weighing us down, burdening us. So, really think through this. Spend some time before you go to bed tonight thinking through this. What are the good labels? What are the bad ones? What are labels that could be good but you take to a negative extreme? Which ones are self-imposed and which are others-imposed?
2. Replace those labels with the words God has chosen to label you.
We are dearly loved, children of God. See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are! [1 John 3:1]
We are new creations. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come.
He delights in us. He rescued me because He delighted in me. [Psalm 18:19b]
Those are just a few to get you started. Dig into God’s Word. Find out what HE says about you. A friend sent this quote to me yesterday and I think it fits this conversation perfectly.
“When you start to fill your life with all the voices that don’t matter, over time, you’ll drown out the Voice of the One who does.” – Karen & Issac Scott
Stop filling your heart and head with the words or labels that come from anyone else but your Creator and Savior. Start by identifying the voices you are currently listening to, the labels you are identifying with. Then replace them with God’s Truth.