The Labels I’ve Thrown Away
31 Days in My [Insert Label Here] Skin:
The Labels I’ve Thrown Away
I don’t want to spend a lot of time here, because this could get toxic real quick, but for the sake of being thorough in this blog series, I felt it would be wrong to not at least mention some of the labels that were once a part of my life (or at least they tried to become part of my life), but I ultimately chose to rip them off and throw them in the garbage.
Sometimes it is important to just acknowledge that something has been poisoning your life so that you can (1) see it for what it is and, (2) MOVE ON in victory.
Beth Moore, in her “Breaking Free” study, says it this way: “We’re looking back [into old ruins, old habits, and old labels that have been part of our lives] to see how God wants to transfer the mangled into monuments to His glory.” (emphasis mine)
Even if certain bad habits or certain lies or inappropriate labels have been on us for ages, Isaiah 61:4 promises us that God can use us and make something beautiful out of our mess anyway. And Psalm 34:22 promises this:
“The Lord redeems [to intervene or provide a substitution to effect a release from an undesirable condition] the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.”
No matter how long something has been a part of our lives, we can (and must!) break free from that which God never intended us to hold onto. And we must allow God to take the old “us” and whatever messages or labels He never gave us— and redeem and rebuild it all into something new
Beth Moore goes on in her study to say this:
“We each have a concoction of good, bad, and ugly in our family lines [or in our past]. No one, no matter how whole he or she may seem to be, can boast a spotless, blameless, perfectly healthy lineage. Our purpose is not to drag old skeletons out of the closet or engage in family bashing of any kind… We are going to stand on a positive approach even to our negatives, because bringing them before God is the first step to healing exposure and gaining freedom… Our purpose is to recognize what we’ve inherited or how we’ve been influenced [or hurt or labeled]— not to cast blame.” (emphasis mine)
I know this might not seem like a big deal, but I know for myself, so often, the hardest part for me in learning how to cope with something harmful or hurtful or destructive in my life is to, first, “simply” acknowledge it.
Being honest with myself and with God has quite often been the first step to my freedom and peace. The times in my life when I finally was able to get to a place of admitting that I was unhappy or hurt or felt small, or that I was buying into a label God never assigned to me— and that I needed help— those were the times when I was able to start moving forward and making necessary changes in my life and relationships.
The fact of the matter is this: some labels have been placed on us and they should never have been. Either they were inaccurate to begin with, or they became inaccurate as time went on and we changed and grew, or they were unhelpful, or they were just plain mean-spirited.
So here they are. Here is a list of things people have either blatantly said to me to my face, or behind my back, or they are just the labels or messages I felt strongly at various times in my life.
Today, I am choosing to publicly bring them into the light so that they can no longer have power over me.
“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” ~ Ephesians 5:11
At various times in my life, whether from real live human beings or simply from within my own head or heart, these are some of the labels I have heard:
- Too much
- Not enough
- A total and complete, irreparable mess
- An emotional basket case
- “Talks too much”
- Horrible mother
- High maintenance
- Overly strong-willed
- An excessive question-asker
- Not worth protecting
- Not worth listening to
- Never going to get better
- The one to blame
- A burden
But remember: just because I (or you?) may have once heard these messages doesn’t make them true. People get it wrong sometimes, you guys. They misinterpret, they misjudge, they misunderstand.
If you feel plagued by the negative messages that are screaming at you, attempting to sidetrack you from God’s good plan and God’s great healing in your life, I encourage you to head over to the Finding Freedom series I published on this blog in July 2016. In that series, I walk you through a really helpful practice that I myself have done hundreds of times to help me purify my thought life and learn to tune back into God and His truth.
Tomorrow I am going to write about what God DOES say to each one of us. (So stay tuned for that!) But for now I want to encourage you to take a few minutes today and open up Isaiah 61. Over the past few years this passage, especially verses 1-7, have brought encouragement and hope to my heart in an extremely special way. I pray that you let God’s love and truth wash over you as you, too, listen to what He whispers to your heart through this passage.
*To get to the main menu, where you can view and click on everything I end up posting for this 31 Day Challenge, click here.
* * *
What about you?
How would you describe yourself? What labels do you identify with? What labels have been put on you that you love? Which ones have you tossed in the garbage?
Please share your journey in the comment section below.