by Debora M. Coty @DeboraCoty
“You’re the God who sees me!” Genesis 16:13 MSG
I often get frustrated when my daughter is trying to teach me some new technological gizmo that I can’t seem to grasp. I find myself pulling out the dumb label I keep tucked inside my shirt and plastering it across my chest in neon letters.
Wearing this label, I feel justified that I can’t learn anything new; it’s just who I am – “the way God made me.”
But Cricket doesn’t buy it. “Mom,” she says in an unsympathetic tone, “quit playing dumb. I know you’re not. You can get this. Now stop hiding behind the ‘old dog’ mask and concentrate on this ‘new trick.’”
We often rely on labels to clarify our identity. If we’re not sure who we really are – or maybe don’t like who we really are – perhaps we can hide behind a label that reflects who we wish we were.
We look into a mirror and see an image, but not the same image Papa God sees when He looks at us. Our vision and self-perception have been jaded by labels we’ve received our entire lives. We still wear labels that were callously glued onto our backs from childhood, stamps like klutzy, stupid, not good enough, or fatty-fatty-two-by-four, can’t fit through the bathroom door (my personal nemesis).
And then there are other labels we’ve assigned ourselves as we’ve grown up, like airhead, idiot, loser, or damaged goods.
These negative labels erode our confidence and work subtly, beneath the surface, to make us feel worthless. The internal damage is often reflected externally in our posture or countenance. We may slump our shoulders, hang our heads, or keep our eyes downcast.
We wear these destructive labels so long we eventually get used to them and aren’t even aware of their presence. Or power. Our thinking is shaped by them, which then subconsciously modifies our behavior to fit our label. It becomes a vicious cycle.
As a fashion-conscious teen, I carefully cut the Tommy label off a pair of worn-out, hand-me-down jeans and sewed it onto my Kmart specials. That label kept me in style for several peer-impressing years.
Labels can build us up or tear us down. Some women wear a chic label proudly, or maybe trendy, wealthy, or politically correct. Others work hard to earn labels like professional, successful, efficient, intelligent, or competent. Still others become known by their beliefs as pro-life, godly, activist, or conservative.
It’s up to us which labels we choose to wear.
I often wonder if the apostle Peter saw himself sporting a Liar label or one that boldly proclaimed: Rock.
Would Rahab’s label say Slut … or Redeemed?
When all was said and done, did Naomi consider herself Bitter… or Restored?
And how about Saul: Christian-killer, whose label flipped to Paul: Greatest Evangelist of All Time?
So tell me, what labels do you have tucked inside your shirt? Do you hide them so well that nobody knows they’re there but you? I’ve got news for you, sister: Someone else knows, and He isn’t buying it either. Matter of fact, I don’t think Papa God puts much stock in our labels. He doesn’t even notice the stickers we’ve plastered all over ourselves.
When we invite Jesus into our hearts and ask Him to fill us with His love, all God sees when He looks at us is the gentle, sweet, and beautiful reflection of His Son.
Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 CEV
About the author: Debora Coty lives, loves and laughs in central Florida with her longsuffering husband, Chuck, two grown children and four energetic grandbuddies. Debora is a popular speaker and award-winning author of over 40 inspirational books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series. Join Deb’s fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com.
Debora’s newest release, Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms, addresses the heart needs of moms drowning in the churning stress-pool of busyness. In her beloved mom-to-mom, grin-provoking style, Coty offers empathy, laughs, real-life stories, practical parenting survival tips, and fresh biblical insights to help you hear Papa God’s still, small voice through life’s chaos.
Join the conversation: What labels do you choose to wear? Do they reflect the way God sees you?