Wednesday, January 30, 2013

when you think you're trading up, part 2

Sometimes God lets us go through these intermediary stages before we finally arrive where He really wants us to be.  A few weeks ago, I talked about ditching some of the labels that I wore throughout middle school and replacing them with ones that I felt would define who I wanted to be.  But as some of us know, life is not about being who I want to be.  Life is about living into how God originally created me to be.

Essentially, if I am walking with God, every label that I have put on will or could lose its stickiness.  Clearly, the labels that were demeaning and derogatory would lose their hold because they are in direct conflict with what scriptures says about how God sees me.  The labels that I slapped across my personality, like extrovert and always happy, would eventually fall away because they are simply unsustainable and exceed my human limitations.  Plus, what woman can relate to someone who is always happy?  It simply isn't possible.  Even Jesus wept.

My next intermediary phase was when I started labeling myself with my calling.  If, I reasoned, God called me to speak and to write and to be a leader in women's ministry, therefore I must be a speaker, a writer, and a leader.

But what would happen if one day, I lost my voice and it never returned?  What if I lost my hands and could no longer write?  What if God took away every woman from my life that needed to be led?

Would that change my identity?

When I get wrapped up in who I claim myself to be, when I place label after label on my body on my blog and on my bios, I begin to tune out the voice of God.  I start to believe that my worth comes from the fact that I can write, that I can speak, that I can lead.

But no.  The only label that gives me worth, the only label that brings me true joy and happiness, the only label that sticks and will not fall off is this one:
While I realize that I might sound like a broken record, I have to keep this front and center in my mind. And I wonder, if some of you out there, are much akin to this heart that is bleeding in front of you right here?  Do you forget like I do?  Do you put on labels that sound good and look good and make you feel good?

But what if it was all taken away?  Do you have this label on?  This one that lays claim to the Giver of all good gifts?

With this label come these...
Friend of Jesus. (John 15: 15)
Child of God. (John 1: 12)
Branch of the True Vine. (John 15: 1, 5)
Fellow heir. (Romans 8: 17, Galatians 4: 7)
Temple. (I Corinthians 6: 19)
New creation. (2 Corinthians 5: 17)
God's workmanship. (Ephesians 2: 10)
Citizen of Heaven.  (Philippians 3: 20)

All of these, well, they kind of make "speaker, writer, leader" pale in comparison, don't they?

Linking today with Tracy , Courtship Connection, and Emily.  (Although this isn't completely about light, to me, label free living is about reveling in His light.  Light is freedom.)

16 comments :

  1. Love that, Jen. I felt my labels drop when my kids left for college. Empty nesting is a different kind of heart tangle, but one more opportunity to deepen your faith and find your identity in Him.
    Hugs from VA,
    Susan

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  2. Yes... Love! Love the CS Lewis quote! Love your insight and all that truth you've shared here. I can hear your voice speaking to me now that I've seen your video. I feel like we're friends, now. :)

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  3. What a wonderful post. Love your message, here. Wondering if we should start saying/writing: THIS is what I seem to be doing at the moment. THIS (His) is who I plan to be always.

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  4. Hi Jen, oh gosh Jen, so powerful. At the end of the day, these are the only labels that matter, "His" and all that entails. Such a great post my friend
    God bless
    Tracy

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  5. Such an excellent post, Jen! When I first started reading and got to "middle school" my thought was, "oh yeah, how many lifetimes ago was that?" As I've aged, it's been easier for me to focus on Him and lose the other labels. I care more about what He thinks of me than what anyone else thinks of me. If I go to sleep at night and am square with God, nothing else matters. Nothing. Because my day and my life will have been lived according to the Good Book and that means I'm straight (mostly ) with everyone else.

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  6. Um, Jen...behind the (mostly) was also a smile. Somehow it was left out.

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  7. I've really been struggling with this issue lately. For two reasons, I think: first, is the relationship of busy-ness to relationship with Christ. Personally, when I have lots to do, I'm very good at being confident in my identity in Christ, even if I'm not growing very much in my relationship with him - so it's healthy in one way and not healthy in another way. And, then, of course, vice-versa: when I don't have much to do, I grow spiritually much more but begin to question whether being "HIS" is enough... Second reason is related to that: when I am in a phase of intense spiritual growth and struggling through my identity in Christ, it seems like none of the other stuff gets done at all and that doesn't seem good. So thanks for sharing your thoughts - I know God will use this lesson as he teaches me how to work out that mess :)

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    1. I think that there isn't just one way to arrive at the process of living "label-free." In fact, I am not so sure that we fully arrive and stay there. It's a daily process of remembering who I am and who I live for. It's so easy to get distracted in this world and for me to pick the labels that have fallen to the floor once and try to put them back on again.

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  8. Wonderful post.. but why is our identity always tied to what we can or can't DO?

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  9. This got me thinking... only "things" are labeled or identified by what they DO, like: toaster, vacuum cleaner, coat hanger.

    Our labels, "His" and the others that come with it, all stem from what God does.

    Thanks for another wonderful post, Jen!

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    1. There is such wisdom in what you just said!!

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  10. yes.yes.yes. so much light here, lovely Jen. for freedom and light always walk together. Thank you for holding all of our hands and walking us forward. i'm so happy that you do.

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