One of the essentials of eating healthy, or to put it another way, to not eat yourself into oblivion is to read the labels. I do a fairly good job of doing that…sometimes. I make Jo nervous from time to time when I read a label because she will say, “Now, you know you shouldn’t read that. It will just make you depressed.” She’s right. I do. I get.
But it is absolutely essential to keep an eye out for the contents of what I am about to make (oops, I mean have her make) and subsequently put in my mouth. It is doubly dangerous to be eating out and trying to look up what is in the concoction I am wanting to eat. So…in all fairness to my arteries and waistline…
I DON’T LOOK.
Seriously, I do look and often find myself changing my mind or food selection.
We often live by labels. Baptist. Methodist. Charismatic. “I’m just a Christ-follower.” I learned years ago to despise labels. At one point labels were important to me…they depicted who was and who was not a “Christian.” Back then it was easy. If you were anything but mine, you were not a Christian.
How sad was that?
Thankfully, God brought me out of that. But there are other labels that I think people struggle with even more. Here it is:
You can allow the names you call yourself to define you. You can let the labels that others give you define you.
I read those two sentences in Undaunted by Christine Caine. I was stopped dead in my tracks. I thought, “How many times have I called myself names (I had a bad habit of walking around frustrated saying-while hitting my forehead, ‘Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. What a goofball. What an idiot. How could you have been so stupid?’). “ Equally bad are the labels we allow others to use on us and allow them to define who we are. Parents. Siblings. Neighbors. “Friends.” Pastors. You get the idea. We are defined by our bank account, or family of origin, our nationality, our education, our looks, our race, etc.
I have a terrific idea! How about we stop all of that? I stop calling myself names. I stop labeling someone else by the very words I don’t want to be defined by. Sticks and stones may break our bones…but names will always hurt us. Unless they are words that build up and encourage. We have been made in the plan and image of God. To criticize or label is to laugh at God’s creation.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Do you have trouble with names you call yourself or labels you put on others?