First it was Lysa TerKeurst's new book Unglued reminding me that labels can "imprison us in categories that are hard to escape". This morning it was Upward Not Inward talking about the self inflicted labels and how "they are hard to ignore because deep down you know they are true, at least partially". Even my recent post Measuring Up deals indirectly with labels - comparing those we place on someone else with those we've put to ourselves and feeling as if we come up short.
Don't kid yourself. That old childhood chant about sticks and stones breaking bones, it's wrong. Words can hurt. They can leave marks that last days, years, or even a lifetime.
That's the very worst of the worst. It's the one we most often place on ourselves. Because, in the end, that's where so many of the other labels are headed.
When we tell ourselves:
I'm a mess.
I'm a push over.
I'm a bad mother.
I'm always late.
I'm a hypocrite.
I'm an addict.
I'm a nerd.
I'm no good at (fill in the blank)
.. at some point those thoughts are likely to arrive at "worthless".
Even though God tells us over and over again in His word how valuable we are! As Lysa says in Unglued: "Those labels start out as little threads of self-dissatisfaction but ultimately weave together into a straitjacket of self-condemnation."
Even though God tells us over and over again in His word how valuable we are! Scripture tells us that we are His workmanship, his masterpieces.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ~ Ephesians 2:10
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well ~ Psalm 139:14
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. ~ Luke 12: 6-7
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us ~ Romans 5:8
Did you catch that?
Wonderfully made. With a purpose. Loved. Full of worth!
Now, how do you like those labels?