I’ve been labeled a lot of things in my life. Some good. Some not so good. Some by others. Some by myself. And you know what?
All of them fall short of describing me.
I understand why people use labels. It’s an easy way to compartmentalize complexity. Multifaceted subjects take effort to fully understand. Labels remove the required effort and provide you with a nice and tidy box.
But labels are toxic.
We all know about the hurtful labels: fag, retard, ugly, fat, stupid, loser. There are so many more that are even more colorful than those. Most people understand the pain attached to these labels.
But what about the labels that are seemingly more benign? What about the labels that are given with the best of intentions?
I wore one of those labels for my entire life. That label was NICE.
I didn’t even realize the extent of it’s impact on my life until recently. Once it was identified, I was able to look back at how being labeled as “nice” shaped the way I responded to people. It shaped the expectations of others and the ones I had of myself.
Once I was labeled as “nice,” I could never allow myself to be anything but that. I was assuming a label that didn’t properly define me. It stole my identity for a long time.
It wasn’t until I took back the label and identified it for what it was that I was able to break it’s power in my life.
This has been an awakening for me. I realize the power of labels in my life and how I use them for others. I realize the power we give words to shape who we are.
That’s why I write this blog. I write for those who have fallen victim to labels. I write for the ones who have found their identity in everything else other than Jesus’s redemption, acceptance and love. I write for those that want something more than a label to define them. I write for those that want to find their identity in something bigger than themselves.
I can only fight lies with truth. And the greatest truth is love. If I’m going to take or give a label, it will be this one:
Today I’m posting over at POTSC. I’m sharing my story about how Even Nice Labels Lie. Go check it out and read some of the other posts on the site. They are an amazing organization whose mission is to Overthrow Judgement and Liberate Love by demonstrating radical grace and giving second chances to those who have failed.