As if it wasn’t scary enough to share my insecurities about what I see in the mirror, today I’m going to bare my soul in a whole new way and tell you how I tried to use labels to make myself appear more than I was.
I’m still embarrassed by it.
You see I was headed to a big conference where attendees expected to exchange business cards. I deliberated over how to present myself on this 2 inch by 3 inch piece of flimsy card stock. I even researched the nuances of the definitions of “writer” and “author.” Ultimately, I decided on author because, well, technically I publish content on my blog…
And because it made me sound more legit.
It couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was mortified when I realized there really was a standard for calling oneself an “author.” And I didn’t measure up to it. I was masquerading as something I was not. The label on my business card identified me as an impostor. I was trying to make myself look more important, more valuable, more worthy than my accomplishments warranted. And I fell well short of the mark. In fact, I was nauseous every time I reluctantly handed one to a new acquaintance. I felt defeated and worthless.
What I’ve learned from that encounter is our eternal worth is not based on our earthly works and our identity must go deeper than the labels we wear.
In much the same way a shirt is still a shirt no matter what the tag says. I am still a child of God no matter how society labels me. Or how I attempt to label myself.
Defined or Described
I know I am a child of God. That is my eternal identity. Everything else is just a description.
The distinction is subtle. Describe means to give an account in words including all the relevant characteristics qualities or events, while to define something is to give a statement of its exact meaning.
A shirt is a garment for the upper body. That is the definition. But if you describe the shirt you would talk about its color, size, what materials were used to make it, if it has short or long sleeves or no sleeves at all, and whether or not it is solid or has stripes or a graphic design. Those are descriptions you might find on a label. They don’t change the fact that a shirt is a shirt. They simply describe the current state of the shirt. We could spill bleach on the shirt or rip off the sleeves, or even add a new design to it. But it is still a shirt.
Labels are temporary, but my status as a child of God is eternal.
What’s on Your Label?
All too often we allow labels to define us, to limit us, to degrade us.
Just a mom
Sometimes we wear our labels with pride, hoping they will increase our value.
Allowing temporary worldly labels to determine our worth devalues God’s creation.
Our Eternal Identity
Labels can be torn out. Sometimes they expire, like my ID card or my drivers license. Or, they can be replaced like my shiny new business cards that now more accurately label me as a “Writer – Speaker – Creative.” Incidentally, I doubt I’ll change them once I’m actually published. Labels have limitations because they only describe our temporary state. Like descriptions, they change with age, mistakes, achievements, experience, illness, tragedy, or increased wisdom.
The exact meaning of who we are and what we are worth to God is defined in the text of the Bible, not by any label we wear. His definition of us all that matters.
God defines us with an eternal identity. He says we will be perfect and holy, just as He is. His Son’s sacrifice assures me of that and nothing can change the way He sees me. Or you! He sees us through the veil of His Son’s righteousness, not our own accomplishments.
We who will live eternally, cannot ascribe our worth to temporary identities. Our worth is found in the untarnishable identity God has given us.
Labels won’t last beyond this life. We are worth more than the labels we wear, because we will all be perfect, untarnished reflections of Master in heaven. Shouldn’t we start living like the MASTERPIECES God created us to be now?
What labels have you allowed to define you? Together let’s rip them out and replace them with the unchanging truth about who God says we are. His Word determines our worth.
Don’t miss the other great posts in this series:
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Thought Provoking Thursday, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Friday, Good Morning Monday, Soul Survival, Monday Musings, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Woman to Woman Wednesday, Women With Intention Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday.