Wow. My first blog post…where do I begin?!
First of all, a big shout-out and thank you to Amber Teamann for encouraging me to blog! And, not to mention that she won the contest for the name of my blog (which I tweaked just a little :)) I still owe you dinner, my friend!
So, I’ve been thinking and praying a lot about what my first blog post should be about, and I really felt God lay on my heart to write about “Labels.” We are inundated with labels daily. Hourly. Minute-by-minute. What kind of labels am I talking about? The ones that you hear from others and the ones that you hear from yourself. From your past and your present. From your friends and your enemies. Labels like: smart, dumb, kind, hard to get along with, pretty, ugly, thin, fat, doctor, teacher, homeless, friend, enemy, and the list goes on and on and on. Those labels become your identity. You feed them to yourself all day long. You remind yourself when you mess up, “See, so-and-so is right. I can’t do anything right.” Or, if you do something well, “Yay! I am a really good…”
So, what is wrong with labels? I was fortunate to be part of an online Book Study this summer that was facilitated by author, Angela Watson. Angela wrote an amazing book titled Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching. But, honestly, even those who are not teachers could benefit greatly from reading this fabulous book! Angela says, “Fortunately, thoughts only hold power if you give them attention and attach importance. You can choose your mindset by only attending to thoughts that are wanted. It’s a principle, it’s just that simple. Determine the way you want to think and disregard any thoughts that don’t align with your choice.” [Page 24] She talks about reframing your thoughts, from negative to positive.
In Max Lucado’s picture book, You Are Special, small wooden people, called Wemmicks, put golden star stickers and gray dot stickers (labels) on each other all day long. The golden stars go to the talented, well liked, smart, and beautiful Wemmicks. The gray dots go to the chipped, scratched, and uncoordinated Wemmicks. But, one Wemmick, Punchinello, who receives only gray dot stickers (which has caused him very low self-esteem), meets Lucia, who has no stickers at all. The stickers don’t seem to stick to Lucia. Lucia refers Punchinello to Eli, the woodcarver who created all the Wemmicks. Eli proceeds to tell Punchinello that, “The stickers only stick if you let them.” Eli learns that he is loved and accepted, no matter what others may say his faults are.
Think about the labels you feed yourself. What about the ones you have chosen to believe and hold onto from others? Is your identity caught up in those labels? Do you have golden stars or gray dots? Or do you not have any stickers at all? What about the labels you have given others, including your students (if you’re a teacher), your spouse, your children?
This is what God has to say about you…
“But we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
He only wants us to live with one label… “Child of God.”
I encourage you to let go of those negative labels and not let them become a part of your identity. And, let go of the labels you place on others, too.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made…live like it!