Around college, I stopped believing God. I don’t mean in God, but in what He says. All my life, I had heard preachers tell me that God cared for me and was intricately involved in my comings and goings. He knew how many hairs were on my head.
I don’t the exact moment it happened, but I had trouble believing this. Why would such a big God care for me?
Understandably, this caused me to freak out a little. If God didn’t care for me, then what was the point of my life? Why was I here?
I started labeling myself, trying to figure out who I was.
I became a Discipler to several young woman. Every week, I’d meet with these women and talk about life. We’d read scriptures and encourage each other in the faith.
But after meeting with each of these girls, I’d go home and tear myself apart. I’d put on labels:
- Not good enough
I’d tell myself, “Who are you to talk about God with people? You don’t know anything. You’re not knowledgeable in the Bible. You’re a sinner. Who do you think you are?”
I’d look in the mirror and see someone who wasn’t good enough or pretty enough. I’d compare myself to other women.
And then one day, God woke me up by confronting me with this question:
“Would you tell those girls you’re discipling the things you tell yourself?”
It was like someone splashed me with cold water.
No. I would never tell anyone what I say to myself everyday.
I would never tell a girl that she was too far gone for God to save her. I would never tell her that she was too much of a mess and needed to get her life together pronto. I would never tell her that her struggles were too horrible and nobody could love her if they knew about them.
And yet, everyday I told myself these things.
These are some of the labels I’ve wrestled with for the past couple of years:
People especially love the “single” label. This is one of those labels that tempts me to put on other labels like a new pair of faded jeans.
- Too loud
- Too much
- Not enough
- Forever alone
This is difficult for me write because it’s honest. It shows you where I’ve been.
I was so caught up in these labels that I finally had enough. In a cry of desperation, I told God, “I don’t know who I am. Who do you say I am? Do you even care? If you care, then show me.”
Miraculously, God did. He has and still continues to do so today. When I tempted to put on the old labels, He leads me to scriptures where I am told I am a new creation. Isaiah 43 has especially been of comfort to me.
Over time, I’m learning to peel off the labels that I not only give myself, but others give me. When people tell me who they think I am, I am tempted to believe them.
But, thank God for the freedom that can set us free. Though we all have characteristics to shape who we are and this is not a bad thing, as Christians, we can know there is something to us that is deeper. We do not have to be bound by these labels. They are not etched in stone.
God’s labels are the only labels that truly matter. Here are some you may have forgotten:
Do you know how precious you are? You are treasured and valued. A precious person is someone who is special. You aren’t just some fleeting burst of atoms mixed together. God made you intentionally. You aren’t worthless, but are highly regarded. Esteemed. Precious.
Shame is degrading. We carry it painfully. I am too awful. I am too bad. Nobody cares to rescue me. But God cloaks you with honor, not because you deserve it, but because of His grace. You no longer need to wear your faults like a scarlet letter. Because He is good, you are honored.
God is not a God who is far off. You might think nobody notices you. You’re nothing special. Nobody cares. But, how wrong you are! God sees you. He is aware of you. He notices you even when you’re hiding in the corner. He sees you even when everyone in a room is talking and you’re standing there alone, awkwardly wondering if anyone would care if you left. Despite appearances, you are seen.
In order to be fully loved, we must be fully known. God knows your faults, he knows your sins, and yet he loves you just the same. You don’t have to put up a front or wear a mask to make him love you. Love cannot be earned; it can only be given. And God freely offers this love to you. Nothing and no one can stop it. Will you accept it?
Worth Chasing After/Pursued
Since you are valuable, you are also worth chasing after. Is there something in you that causes you to be worth this pursuit or is it because God’s love is boundless and knows no ends? We love because he first loved us. He’d step away from 99 Christians just to chase after the 1 that is astray.
Worth Fighting For
Make no mistake, there were spiritual forces Jesus fought to get on the cross. His temptation in the desert shows us this. He could’ve thrown in the towel. He could’ve bowed down to the flesh. But you are worth fighting for.
Though parents are flawed, God the Father is perfect in love and understanding. He is full of knowledge and will never leave us. He has wisdom to no end. He is a counselor and guide. You are his most precious, beloved, and valued child. He cares for you. But best of all, as a child of God, you also belong. Even if you feel left out, you aren’t. You belong to a family, albeit sometimes a crazy one, but a family nonetheless. You are not alone.
I wanted to write this because I wanted to remind you who you are. And maybe, I also just wanted to show you who I am. When you are tempted to dwell on the labels, take them off. Put on God’s righteousness and remember.
You are precious, honored, seen, loved, worth fighting for, pursued, and belong to someone greater than yourself.
Will you believe it?
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.