How to break free from the labels from your past.
“God has made us what we are, He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that He has prepared for us to do” Ephesians 2:10
When I do our food shopping every week, I walk through the aisles, with a list of things I want to buy to feed our family. There are many different varieties of the same food available on the shelves. I always like to check the labels for the ingredients of the food. It tells me what is inside the jar or can. I was shopping for certain can of tuna recently and the label was the easiest way to spot it on the shelf full of tuna.
We can sometimes have labels on us. We allow other people to label us and at times we put labels on ourselves. It can be a negative way that we see our mistakes or faults.
Regardless of who you are, the moment you were born, people started using words to describe your looks, style, personality that formed our identity.
People might have said “oh, what a cute baby” or “look at that red hair”.
As you grew up, you might have been known as the shy kid or the sporty teenager or the creative adult.
As a young adult you might have been called different nicknames from your friends and family, and as we grow into our adult years, we sometimes label ourselves and tell other people what we are known for, and sometimes those nicknames become a part of our identity.
We learn about ourselves by the labels people put on us, and we accept those as our truth. Sometimes we even put labels on ourselves.
We might say, “I’m just a clumsy person”, or “I’m an introvert and shy” or “I’m just not confident”. We learn to live our lives and the labels other people give us and we accept, then become barriers that we hide behind.
When I was younger, I was told that I wasn’t very smart, and therefore in high school I struggled to achieve my goals, because I believed that I wasn't smart or capable of doing the school work. One of my teachers saw that I was good in a certain subject and encouraged me to study to get better marks. I also had a friend who believed in me and told me that I was smart, capable, able, strong and creative. I actually finished my study and got great marks and surprised myself.
I started to believe that I could start to pursue some of my dreams and desires. Years later I started my own small business and it flourished. I used to dream when I was younger of starting my own business and helping people, but the label that I wasn’t “smart” stopped me from pursuing it. The label of “not being very smart” unconsciously stopped me from pursuing my dreams.
What label have you believed about yourself?
How has it stopped you from pursuing your dreams and desires?
God wants us to be free of those labels and to live the life he has planned for us to live. To push past the barriers we face and the limits and labels we struggle with, we have to create a new way of thinking and speaking about ourselves.
When we become Christians, God takes the old labels off, and puts new ones on.
His labels are:
You are loved,
You are worthy,
You are wonderful,
You are accepted,
You are valued,
You are significant,
You are chosen,
You are secure,
You are treasured,
You are God’s masterpiece,
You are strong,
You are created for a purpose.
We need to create new ways of thinking about who we are in Christ, and the truth of what he says about us, to break the power of the labels.
I have experienced the power of creating a new identity in my life. I used to struggle with confidence and insecurity. I didn’t believe that I could achieve the dreams God had given me. I didn’t think I was talented or smart enough to write books, or do public speaking. I would see other people achieving goals and thought it must have been because they were more talented than me.
One day I started listened to sermons and reading books about my Identity in Christ, and I discovered that I needed to change the way that I was thinking. I found some powerful Scriptures about the truth of what God says about me, I started to renew my mind every day with those Scriptures, specifically about God’s love for me, I started to see a shift in my confidence.
I needed to know the love of Christ and his truth about me, to start to believe that I could live out the dreams and desires God put in my heart. I did this by putting Identity statements up on my bedroom wall and on the bathroom mirror, and every morning when I wake up, I memorise them. It only took a few weeks before I started to feel a change and started to dream again and believe the truth of who I am.
I realized it was very important to choose what I was watching, listening to, and the friends I spent time with.
I feel like I spent a few years changing my habits, to line up with the word of God, so that everything I put into my mind, heart and soul were Godly, uplifting and good. This is one of the key habits I believe that can transform our lives. If we watch the news, and lot of TV and movies and spend hours on social media, and we allow people into our lives that gossip and have unhealthy ways of living, our minds will be full of junk. We need to make some decisions about how we spend our time, what we do, and how we do it, and live a life of purpose, if we want to build and maintain a healthy Godly identity.
You can make these changes one step at a time. For me, I started new habits in place of the old ones. Instead of watching TV at night, I would listen to a podcast or read a chapter of a book. Instead of opening my emails and social media first thing in the morning, I would go for a walk and get some fresh air. Instead of spending time with negative friends, I would bake some treats for our neighbours. As I built these habits in my life, I started to notice a huge difference in my mindset and how I thought about myself.
I believe the habits we build in our lives are important if we want to live a life of purpose and be strong in our Identity in Christ.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2
The good news is, it doesn’t matter where you are on this journey, God wants to renew your mind with his word and his truth so that you can step into the future he has for you.
So, how do we create a new identity and get rid of labels?
The simple answer is by building small habits in our lives, that help us to see ourselves the way God sees us.
The habits that helped me to establish my Identity in Christ are:
Reading and meditating on God’s word.
Writing a list of Identity in Christ statements to read regularly.
Spending time with other Christians who are strong in their Identity in Christ.
This week I encourage you to sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and simply write down some of the NEW labels that you want to embrace as a child of God.