Do you know who you are? Or has society and governing bodies told you who you can be? In our culture, we have seen labels used more and more to define groups of people. And we have let these man-made, manufactured titles define us. But here is the problem, labels limit us severely and in some forms, they are actually demeaning. Does one word really define all of you? I don’t think so; you are so much more! In a society where we give these labels power, I believe it’s time we start dismissing them.
Hear me out.
What these particular labels do is tell us that our total-sum worth is equivalent to that title. And they tell us we aren’t more than that, we can’t be more than that and we are not uniquely designed by God for specific plans, but instead are made to be and are perceived to be whatever that label defines us as. What’s more is that these labels tell everyone else that’s all we are too. Do you really want to be categorized like a crayon in a box? Or do you want to tear out of that cardboard and color the world with all of the unique, beautiful gifts God gave you?
I am all for cherishing who we are and raising each other up based on various attributes. However, the problem arrives when our worth and the worth of others are found in these categories; that’s when we limit ourselves and each other.
For example, I am a woman and my woman-ness is to be cherished. But being a woman doesn’t make me important. I am a mom and motherhood is to be cherished. But motherhood does not create my value. Again, I am a wife, a sister, a friend, a child, but I am also more than all of the perceptions that go along with these labels. And I will tell you, I am absolutely more than a skin tone, an economic status, career success, and on and on and on. Depending on who does the perceiving, there are so many bias’s – both good and bad – attached to all of these labels (and they change all the time!).
Know this: When we let these labels define us, they confine us.
So answer the following. Who does God say you are? What labels would He give you? From scripture, we know that God says you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139) i.e. You are unique and for a specific purpose. He also says that you are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:17) i.e. You are sacred. What else? A child of God (John 1:12) i.e. You are cherished and immensely valuable. One more, yet there are several to choose from. Simply put, you are love (Genesis 1:27 and 1 John 4:8) i.e. You are a gift.
We are God’s and because God is infinite and perfect, a label in Him expands you rather than confines you.
So you see, the labels of our time are often of the ego, about proving one’s worthiness or relevance (or on the opposite and more aggressively, proving another’s unworthiness in order to make ones self feel worthy! – you might need to read that one twice). But the ego is the opposite of love i.e. the opposite of God. When one gives their self a label to prove their worthiness as a human being (or gives someone else a label to prove their unworthiness, in order to make themselves feel worthy), it’s likely rooted in anger or resentment. So the real solution to wanting to be seen or heard or recognized isn’t to confine yourself or others to one word; it is to seek healing from the hurt and pain you’ve experienced.
The world needs the real you, not just the label, the confined, restricted version. We want all of you – all of the little, lovable, hilarious, kind and generous specs that make up who you are. So, cast aside the restrictive man-made labels of our day and be the limitless person God created you to be.