Giving Up... My Labels

Lent Series Button Last week, I was getting into my car, and didn’t duck far enough. I bonked my head, hard, on the roof.

I do those kinds of things regularly. I’m clumsy and don’t have the best depth perception.

My reaction in that moment, besides swearing under my breath, was to label myself. My mind was instantly filled with the declaration, “I am such an idiot.” I may have even said that out loud.

I do that a lot. I don't think, "That was a dumb thing." I think, "I am so dumb."

I have told myself that these labels are because I’m self-aware. I know my gifts as well as my faults, and I’m not afraid to talk about them.

But these labels aren’t self-aware, they are self-destructive.

I take the things I do and make them into declarations about who I am. I extrapolate mistakes I make into labels about how I fall short.

I am awkward. I am a poser. I am not good enough.

My own words have become playground bullies using my heart as a punching bag.

There is a spiritual connection between what we speak and what we experience. It is through the Word of God that creation came into existence. Our words have the power to create.

What am I creating when I speak these negative labels?

My words about myself become the lens through which I see myself. I create a reality in which life confirms what I already believe: I fall short.

This is not how God sees me. And until I can align my view of myself with His view of me, I won’t be able to find the intimacy that Christ came to give me.

I need to give up my labels. I need to practice self-correction, and replace what is false with what is true.

I am awkward. I am beloved. I am a poser. I am adopted into God’s family. I am not good enough. I am a new creation.

Lately, I have been claiming these truths about my identity out loud in prayer. It feels weird, probably because it is so different from how I normally refer to myself. But even in the strangeness, it feels right.

I can still admit the behaviors and mistakes and frustrations behind my labels, but I can claim and know and believe that those things are not my identity.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

Christ wants to set me free. If you have the same struggle, He wants to set you free, too.

Let’s give up our self-destructive labels.

Giving Up… is a Lenten Series asking a question: What if we gave up more than external things for Lent? It’s not a belief that we can get rid of our baggage as easily as we can write a blog post. But, it is a belief that admitting those things that keep us from deeper intimacy with Christ is a good start. {Please note, this isn’t in any way meant to be a critique of those giving up something external. Often that is connected to the internal in a powerful way. In my case, though, I realized that the external sacrifice was hindering me from dealing with what was going on below the surface.}