Labels describe what we do but we tend to use them to define who we are.
How would you describe yourself? Most of us would say we are a mother or father, husband or wife, nurse, teacher, etc. We label things to define them. Giving things a label gives it a purpose. We do not just label things though. We also label ourselves and other people. Sometimes we wear those labels like a name badge. We work hard to keep the label and make the one that gave it to us very proud. The label itself is usually not a bad thing. It is twisted and turned though when it becomes our identity.
Sometimes we label ourselves and sometimes others label us. Very loving and well-meaning people in our lives put some labels on us. You become known as the person that is funny, smart, skinny, organized, stylish, etc. None of those traits are bad. Part of God’s design was for each of us to have characteristics that we could share with others through our lives.
Characteristics describe us but do not define us. When these traits become our identity, we begin to live through this identity. Our daily life revolves around keeping this identity. We have to always make someone laugh to continue to be funny. We have to study a set number of hours daily to continue to be smart. We can only eat a certain number of calories per day to continue to be skinny. We make a list of rules to follow to protect our identity.
This becomes hard work. Eventually we break. We shatter and flounder around because we cannot keep up the charade. We cannot do all that has to be done to keep our identity. We get tossed around in a sea of frustration, anger, depression, guilt, mood swings, and broken relationships. And this just names a few rocks we may hit. We typically feel ashamed of ourselves. This shame causes us to either work harder or just give up. Either way we suffer. Our relationships suffer.
Grace smooths my edges
Truth is still truth even though we do not always believe it. Even when I am believing that I am only as good as my label God is there with me and nudging me to remember that I am more than a label. He reminds me who I really am: beautiful, made new, loved, accepted, secure, righteous, holy and more. I can feel one way and the truth can be a different way. He does not push my feelings aside as if they are stupid. He acknowledges my feelings. He places others in my path that listen to me through my anger and frustration. He lovingly reminds me that what I do does not define who I am. He smooths out my rough edges as I toss around in the ocean of labels and emotions. As I become smooth, I am embracing the truth of who I am. I am a saint. I am one with Christ. I am Christ in Melissa McLamb.
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