Labels serve a purpose in our lives.
That is when they are on products and not people.
Product labels are supposed to give facts and warnings so that consumers can make an informed decision about selecting important items such as foods and medications.
But there are other labels that are harmful. Labels that intentionally seek to derail or abort our purpose in life.
These are the labels that are not merely based upon facts, but have been embellished.
These are the labels that are derived by opinion, judgment and lack of education.
These labels are often assigned to us by others, but they are also the result of our feelings or insecurities about ourselves.
One label that I allowed others to give to me and that I accepted as a limitation or weakness is my chronic experience with depressive disorder.
Depressive (major) disorder or clinical depression “is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working” (NIMH).
People who were misinformed or uneducated about mood disorders often labeled me with limitations. Even though many of them had experienced some of the same symptoms of depression as me and so many others. But have you ever had dreams or aspirations in life that you thought you could accomplish until someone dipped them in a field of quicksand full of molasses?
Although the words that sank my spirit were nearly 20 years ago, I recall them as though they just occurred. And the fact that they were spoken by a ‘dear friend’, made the hole even deeper.
“I don’t think you should ever have children.”
At that moment, I had yet to determine if I really wanted children. But those thoughts spoken out loud by a friend made my fear of having children and passing my depression on to them resurface.
This friend only based her opinion on my then emotional battle with depression. I had been a babysitter. I had served as a youth counselor for children. I had coordinated efforts to provide activities and tutors for a local Boys and Girls Club.
These roles and others had been praised by those I provided the services to. So, I could not understand why someone who was supposed to have known me or whose opinion I valued would speak such hurtful words.
She had placed a label on me. And for awhile, I thought the label was my truth.
Have you allowed someone’s opinion or criticism about you hold your dreams captive?
You could be dealing with an acute or chronic mental disorder or you could be dealing with a physical impediment, low self-esteem or other challenges that cause people to place a stamp of disapproval on you so that you believe it and cause others to believe it as well.
It is up to you to take the labels off. You are not a product. You are a promise full of potential and purpose. God knows everything about you. And He has declared great things about you.
In Psalm 139, David declares God’s thoughts towards us and how He has woven us perfect in His sight. This passage contains words that I meditate on and believe because they are from the One who created me. The same One who created you too.
You know what? I thank God for blessing me with two daughters that people thought were physically impossible and others thought was emotionally restricted. The process of parenting only gets difficult when I allow myself to think the opposite of what God has spoken about me.
Oh, but when I trust Him and the natural motherly instincts He has given to me, I know that I was knitted for this!
It is love that allows God to take care of me and it is love that allows me to take care of my little girls. And love overrides all labels. Choose to take the labels off today and live on purpose!