As I was walking the other night, I spent some time thinking. (This is a common past time for me). But, that particular night, I was thinking about the labels that others have given me to wear over the years. I'm not going to go into them specifically here, that's a blog for another time. But, I have been carrying around labels that people have placed on me as if they were true reflections of who I am.
Some of these labels have been good, if hard to live up to. Some have been negative, and I've struggled under their weight. Others have been untrue, but somehow I've come to believe them.
Some of the label makers have been family or friends while others have been acquaintances or even strangers. Each used their favorite type of stitch or glue to affix their brand to me, to my psyche. Each had their own purpose or claim to ignorance in doing so.
I've carried these labels and hurtful words with me for years. Some stitches have left unsightly scars, even if I have been able to tear the brand away from my skin. Some are still sore to the touch. Others suffocate me and make it hard to breathe.
But, this is no way for a child of God to live. No way at all. In the last few weeks, I've let go of my anger and resentment towards these people. I'm not sure I even realized it is what I was doing at the time. And, as I was walking the other night, I thought to myself, I just don't care what they think anymore.
And, for the first time in my life, I realized that was actually a true statement. I don't care. They don't define me. My situation doesn't define me. What defines me is the fact that I am a child of God (John 1:12). Nothing else should matter and I've let it matter for far too long. I've allowed those labels to leech life out of me. But, by the grace of God and with the accountability of my friends, no more!
We, as humans, judge by such limited perspectives sometimes. Only the Lord can judge the heart of a person or understand the picture as a whole. So, His judgment is the only thing that should matter. And, thank God for His grace that makes us complete in Him (Colossians 2:10)