Where do they come from? I am not talking about Campbell’s Soup labels either.
Do people give them to us? Is it based on what we do?
For instance, I played basketball in school, so I would be labeled a “jock.” When I talked with people, many times the conversation would lean toward the conversation about basketball and so, it was more like: Jamelle, the basketball player. I was also a straight A student, so then my label would be “nerd.” Then, there was the fact that growing up on a farm and having an older brother, I tended to just do whatever he did. I was into sports and outdoor stuff. I was called a “tom boy.”
It seems all of those labels are based on what actions. What about labels given based on things I couldn’t control? Maybe labels I gave myself. My biological parents gave me up at birth, apparently not wanting me. (At least that was what I thought in my head.) In my teenage years, I discovered that my biological mother used heroin the first few months of her pregnancy. At that point, I gave myself labels. I was already making bad decisions with alcohol and pills, so I called myself “loser.” Even though I was successful in school and in sports, I would tell myself I wasn’t good enough. I labeled myself a “failure.”
As I grew older, into my adult years, my identity became “mom”, “coach” and “teacher.” I remember one time asking myself, “who am I, really? Who is just Jamelle?”
What is our identity? Or, where does our identity come from?
Here I am, at age 47, where I can finally say my identity does not come from what I “do” from whose I “am”. It took years, but God’s Word seems to have finally permeated my heart.
Psalm 139 says “you made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.…You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!” (Vs 13, 15-17)
Isaiah 43 states “But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, ‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters. I will be with you. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Saba in your place. Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you.’ “ (Vs 1 – 5a)
Do you see that? God, the Lord Almighty, chose me to be born. HE created me. HE knew me and knows me and has all of my days plan. The Lord tells me He loves me, and won’t leave me and that He gave up nations for me. I am not junk, I am good enough!
Who are you listening to? Are people telling you who you are? Do you voices in your head telling you stuff? What are those voices saying? Where is the truth? Truth.
Labels and identity.
If you are a Christian, please, let’s make sure we are not labeling others based on their actions, their behaviors or the vocation. Let’s identity people for just being who they are – human beings created in the image of God with unique gifts, characteristics and traits. Our identity is in Jesus.
If this sounds good, doesn’t make sense or if there is something in you that wants to know more, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you just want prayer, email@example.com.