I’ve started reading a blog called People of the Second Chance. One of the features on this blog is a campaign called “Labels Lie.” Though not a specifically Christian blog, their tagline is “Unleashing Radical Grace Everyday for Every One.” They’re seeking to reach those that might never venture into a typical church, those who’ve been labeled things like “Junkie” or “Bad Mother” or “Ex-Con” or “Alcoholic.” I’m a recipient of God’s amazing and radical grace, so I like this idea, regardless of whether these folks call themselves Christians.
Since discovering this blog, I’ve been thinking about labels, and how they affect those they’ve been attached to. For instance, “Foster Child.” This is a label I’ve seen up close, and it follows kids around, bringing all sorts of bad expectations from those they meet. Most heartbreaking of all, it can become something that makes them expect the worst of themselves.
Even “good” labels can be difficult. A dear friend of mine is married to a pastor. While she really is wonderful in the role of pastor’s wife, it too often becomes a label. People (in her neighborhood, in other ministries she’s involved in, etc) tend to stop being themselves around her as soon as they find out she’s a “Pastor’s Wife,” and they place unfair expectations on her.
I’ve worn many labels — both good and bad — and I’m very glad to rid of most of them. Nowadays, I have titles rather than labels. Wife, mother, homeschooler, adoption advocate, friend, daughter: I consider them all important, and all blessings, but none of these totally encompass who I am.
One of my recent daily devotions (not related to the POTSC site) spoke of how the disciple John referred to himself as “the one whom Jesus loved.” Out of all the titles he could’ve chosen for himself, he must’ve treasured this one above all else. This was John’s identity, and it’s ours, too. Whether or not we choose to accept Christ’s love, He loves us just the same. This label, “the one whom Jesus loves,” is the only label I want to wear. If I take this label to heart, it will permeate all aspects of my life; it will breathe life and love and purpose into being wife, mother, homeschooler, friend, daughter…
A friend recently gave me what is quite possibly the best compliment I have ever received. She said, “each time I am around you I fall more in love with Jesus.” Whoa. That doesn’t feel like me, but if I fully embrace wearing that label of “the one Jesus loves,” then I would simply ooze His love to friends, family, and anyone I interact with. That’s what I want. I want to be so wrapped up in a love affair with Jesus that He is the center of my life every moment. I think that’s what authentic faith looks like. That’s what I want my life to look like.