Classifying, organizing, and naming the world around us is an essential ingredient in building our sense of community. Finding ways to identify the important things, staying away from the harmful things, and articulating the what and why of things is necessary.
Labels give us keys to understanding. But sometimes, it feels like we’ve gone too far, like we’ve labeled everything to keep it neatly categorized, nicely boxed with a big red bow, or easily put aside.
Labels hang on each of us like so many post-it notes. On any given day, your labels show. You’re strong and smart and pretty, or you’re too gentle and kind and giving, or you’re below par, not quite enough, too old, too tall, too independent, too needy, too negative, too freakin’ positive, too dull, too something…the list goes on.
The problem then is how do you label yourself? Are you locked into the idea that your career is finished because you’re 60 years old? Are you locked into the idea that you can’t be successful because you haven’t made it yet? Or you can’t have a great marriage because yours has already been labeled dysfunctional, or you’ll never amount to anything, or you can’t become an artist because someone said you couldn’t paint your way out of a box when you were a kid?
My point is to encourage all of us to take a look at what we’ve locked ourselves into. If you wake up saying my story is over, I’m too old, too rattled, too depressed, too used up to be of value any more, than you might need to step up to the mirror, look at the person standing there, peel off some of those icky sticky notes and start applying some new truths. You need to label yourself in a new way…strong, essential, significant are good words to start with.
You know in Psalm 139, David tells us that God’s thoughts about us are “precious” and that they outnumber the grains of sand. Today, give yourself the label of “precious” and let it be a key to unlock the best possible you.