Do the labels that you think empower you actually enslave you? Are you living as the person you were meant to be?
If you’ve been following my Twitter or Facebook accounts, you know that I attended the Re:Write Conference, hosted by the Fedd Agency and NYT best-selling author, Ted Dekker, at the end of February. One message that kept hitting home with me was the question of labels. Ted Dekker mentioned this frequently, as did others. And it’s a question I’ve been pondering myself.
Empowering Labels Might Weaken You
What labels do you give yourself that empower you? Do you label yourself as a “writer,” or a “wife,” or a “parent”? The problem with labels is that even when they’re good, they can still leave you unnecessarily vulnerable. At the conference, Ted Dekker challenged us with this: If your identity and strength is found in a label, what happens when that label’s removed? If you’re a writer and lose the ability to write… If you’re a parent and (God forbid), lose your child. If your career is your label and you lose your job (thanks economy). All these things can be AMAZING labels to have. But if they’re stripped away and you’re left with nothing, then the label empowered you is now just an illusion.Labels are just illusions. #rewriteconf @TedDekker Click To Tweet
Wrong Labels Might Enslave You
What if you’re forced to work in a job that goes against everything you are? Perhaps you are a creative and you’re forced to work behind a desk. Or maybe your parents have expectations of you that are completely different than the spirit within you. You might find yourself in a situation where you feel forced to deny your true nature – the true person that God meant for you to be. In those situations, labels can be stifling and sometimes even enslaving.
Of course, there’s a difference between, say, working in a job where you are forced to operate under an enslaving label, versus working at a job where you’re simply outside of your comfort zone, or you must “toe the line” in order to mature personally and become more highly skilled in your field. Understanding the difference between an enslaving label and a temporary label that grows you into a fuller person is vital. If you’re not sure, pray for discernment about this.A negative label can become your reality if you believe it. #rewriteconf Click To Tweet
On another note, a negative, hurtful label can also enslave you if you choose to believe it. Do people tell you that you’re lazy, or you’re awkward, or you’re untalented, or ugly? Whatever the label, if you believe it, you give it power. It can become your reality simply by believing it. This is another reason why you should deny all labels, good or bad.
The Lesson: Die to Labels
We don’t need labels. This is something Ted Dekker stressed as the Re:Write Conference. Labels limit you. They can hurt you. If your identity is in a label and you lose that label, you’re lost and floundering. You don’t need a label. You just ARE.
You’re not defined by being a writer. You’re not defined by being a parent. You’re defined by being a child of God. You’re defined by being YOU, a unique individual, of whom there will never be another.
Remember God’s label: I AM
Not … I AM a….[insert label here.] But rather, simply, “I AM.”
As children of God, we too can take on that type of “label.” Who are you? I simply am. God lives within me, so I AM. I don’t need labels to be important or have value. Simply being is value enough.I don't need labels to be important or have value. #rewriteconf Click To Tweet
This is a great verse that really applies:
Galatians 5:1 – “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be yoked again by the burden of slavery.”
Specifically, this verse was speaking of the slavery of sin and, even, legalism. Labels are also a form of slavery. They can limit what you believe God can do in your life. Remember Moses? He had so many labels that he thought there was no way God could use him to free the Israelites. God had to bring in Aaron to take on some of the roles that Moses’ labels denied him.Labels can limit what you believe God can do in your life. Click To Tweet
What labels are you clinging to? We don’t need labels. Without labels’ limiting us, we can be whoever God leads us to be. We can be whoever we are, purely and fully, without restraint or chains.If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to the blog below. 🙂