Labels - short, sweet, helpful little stickers that give us pause and guide us in the day-to-day minutia of our lives. There’s a label on my favorite shampoo instructing me to use a nickel-sized dollop, labels on my Oreos informing me how many a 'serving' is (yes, I should only eat 3) we label each AMD package - instructing our favorite delivery driver where to take the next “You are Loved!” brown box.
Then we have neat little labels to describe ourselves - stay at home mom, working mom, single, married, city girl, country girl, introvert, extrovert and the list goes on and on... We use these labels in order to create connections and bring some rhythm and reason to our lives.
This weekend I met some moms that I hadn't met before and we exchanged the typical information: names, who our kids were, who their teachers were, etc. From there we got down to the business of explaining ourselves and sharing our labels. How many other children did we have? Who is our significant other/spouse? Where do we work? And it wasn’t until after I left that night, and was driving home, that I paused and wondered whether the labels I used to describe myself were what I truly believed to be the most important things about me. If I could do it all over again these are the labels I would use for myself.
*God-fearing: I truly believe God gave me a purpose on this Earth and I try hard to keep him at the center of everything I do and every decision I make. I am striving to live a fearless life filled with his grace knowing that he is by my side Every. Single, Step of the way. This is the truth I cling to:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." -John 15:1-4
*Wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend: I’m a woman whose most important labels are my relationships with others. My role as a wife and mom is what gets me out of bed at 6:00 every morning and has me collapsing into it at night, and the bonds with my parents, siblings, and friends are some of the most valued possessions of my life.
*Strong, yet compassionate: Not all women are as excited as I am to work in a garage all day and add power tools to her collection… I suppose most men probably aren’t either. My strong exterior covers a compassionate heart that longs for everyone on this Earth to know that they are loved and that God has a purpose for their life.
*Maker: I have always had a love for creating that my mom beautifully nurtured. She would take me along side her while she was creating and taught me the art of creating beauty out of the ordinary. I find this crazy beauty in being able to turn a blank 4'x8' piece of plywood into a piece of art. My mom didn't teach me just to create 'things' but to create a life you love. There are five wildly-different occupants of my home who I help bring together through our common values and desire to serve the Lord, I help create, and inspire, and encourage. I am a maker.
So what are the labels that you hold dear? Do they align with your inner purpose and vision of who you are? Who you want to be? I pray that you take a pause and think about the labels that define who you are, the labels that bring direction to your life and help you find your true self and purpose, and that you will in turn inspire and empower others around you to do the same.