I stood in the grocery store, in the dairy section, staring at the shelves of yogurt. I began examining the label on each different brand to see which would be the best choice for us. After a few minutes I settled on a brand and moved on to the cereal aisle, where I was immediately overwhelmed once again by the vast selection, just wanting a healthy type that my kids would actually eat. I relied once again on the label to help me decide which box would give a decent amount of nutrition while not making the morning breakfast battle more difficult.
Labels are something that we are all familiar with. They provide us with important information so we can make informed choices. From giving us nutritional facts so we can make informed decisions to warning us of ‘small parts, not suitable for children under 3’, we can probably all think of an example and most likely use them at least once a day.
One place we will also find labels – on people. I don’t think any of us can get off the planet without having a brand placed on them at some point. Sometimes it’s harmless but sometimes it “sticks” and becomes our identity, holding us prisoners to wrong thoughts about who we are. We hear ‘introvert’, ‘plain Jane’, ‘mediocre’, ‘average Joe’, etc., and then we begin to act that out in our lives. We believe this is who we are and we can never be anything more. The label becomes a limiting factor in our life.
I recently had a revelation of this, thanks to some beautiful ladies that God has brought into my life. I realized that such declarations other people make over our lives can become thoughts we replay over and over in our heads and then becomes embedded in our DNA. If I feel that I’m not worth anything, that I’m not good enough, don’t have enough talent, or that I’ll never live in the freedom that God has waiting for me, it can stick. It can become a label that shapes our self perception. But such labels are often lies! We believe these things because sometimes its easier to accept the things we hear with our physical ears than to soak in the beautiful things the Lord declares over us, things that we hear sometimes with our heart.
Those false labels keep us down, making us unable to trust God for ‘big things’ in our lives because we have our focus set on things that are false. Who does God say that you are? That’s really all that matters.
The labels that we wear that have been written on us by lies spoken can be removed, and then replaced with truth, labels like ‘more than enough’, ‘seated in heavenly places with Christ’, ‘daughter of the King of Kings’, ‘gifted with every spiritual blessing’ just to name a few. How much different would our lives be if those were the labels that swirled around in our heads? How much more confidence would we have? I know labels aren’t always easy to remove, I’ve worked retail for a number of years and have had to try and remove sticky labels from glass ornaments that were going to be given as gifts. It sometimes feels that no amount of scratching and scraping will ever remove them and even after they’re off, there can be a sticky residue left that needs more attention. I believe that God is the master label remover. He can get those stubborn things off and even clean up any residue left over.
You and I are children of God, we can’t wear labels that call us something else anymore than peanut butter can wear a label reading strawberry jam. We should never be called something we are not. My prayer is that God will bring to your mind any labels that have placed on you that don’t line up with what He calls you and then you’ll allow Him to remove them and replace with truth.