A World of Labels
Perhaps you’ve already noticed, but we use labels all the time.
In fact, you could say that we live in a world of labels.
You may go into a store looking to buy something like bubble gum, and find yourself surrounded by fifteen different brands. But which one do you choose? They may even taste the same, but in the end, you’ll still go for the one with the label you like the most, even if it’s a little more expensive.
We put labels on everything. Animals, products, food, other people, and even ourselves.
There are labels like the ones we’re born with: Daughter, sister, niece, or cousin.
But there’s also the labels other people give us. Labels like our names, nicknames, and even titles like friend or best friend.
Adjective or Label?
And of course, there’s the labels people use to describe us.
Someone may tell you you’re pretty, smart, kind, caring, or funny. Or they may tell you that you’re strange and weird.
Labels aren’t always positive, but they aren’t always negative either.
But even if labels aren’t particularly bad, we still need to be careful about which ones we allow to stick.
Lose The Labels
There are times when people are mean or rude and give us labels like “annoying” or “scatterbrained”.
These words can be like stubborn burrs that attach to you and refuse to let go. It can be really difficult to take off those types of labels and throw them in the trash where they belong.
Learn From Labels?
Now, that isn’t to say that anything even remotely negative that people say should be ignored and forgotten. There have been times when someone I loved and respected pointed out something negative about myself, not because they were trying to be cruel, but because they wanted me to be aware of what I was doing.
It still hurts when people aren’t kind, even if what they’re saying is supposed to be helpful.
In these cases, it’s best to pray about what was said. As stated in my last blog post, God is the best judge of character.
He knows your heart, and he knows whether or not you should be changing your behavior.
Perhaps “annoying” actually means you’re always talking and never listening when other people are trying to talk. And maybe “scatterbrained” means you don’t always pay attention when you should, and miss things that are important.
Either way, the one you should go to before you decide whether or not there’s a grain of truth in someone’s words, is God.
Because, while sometimes people are actually trying to help, other times they’re just being mean.
Be sure to let go of any labels that don’t belong.
Imagine you had a friend in your math class who always got A’s on tests and quizzes, you’d just call that person smart, right? And yes, your friend is really good at math. But since you aren’t in your friend’s other classes, you might not know if they were struggling in science, history, or English.
This is why it’s dangerous to base your worth and identity on labels. Most labels we’re given, are given to us by people who only know one side of who we are.
They don’t see who we are as a whole, even if they know us fairly well.
Who Are We to God?
But since God does know us very well, I’d say it’s safe to take him at his word about who he says we are.
The question is… who does he say we are?
Over the next few weeks, that’s the exact question we’ll be exploring here on the blog, so stay tuned for more updates!
Before You Go…
What are some labels you’ve had to let go of?
Let me know down in the comments below!