Last week, I had to help our oldest, Ethan, study for a big test. Sitting down with him triggered memories of my anxious, test-taking days. I was a nervous test-taker in school. If I studied, I’d do fine, but my attitude often got the best of me.
I remember one particular test in the fourth grade. Our teacher passed it out to us and as soon as I’d flipped through it, I decided I couldn’t do it–It was too much, too overwhelming for me. I became so paralyzed by fear.
Instead of answering any questions on that test, I scrawled a big F across the top. The record player in my head played “ I suck, I suck, I suck..” Then, I put my head down on the desk. Looking back, it makes me so sad. I was this insecure, nine-year-old, who was already labeling herself: Failure.
That semester, my teacher wrote on my report card, “Andrea often defeats herself before she starts.” Wasn’t this the truth?! Sadly, I would continue to defeat myself and label myself a failure—with a capital “F”—for many years to come…
It was when I met Jesus in my twenties that I realized I was free of labels: I was playing the wrong part. I wasn’t a failure. I had just told myself I was and, therefore, lived like it for a long time.
Unfortunately, we all get defined by false labels. I know I’m not alone in “playing the wrong the part.” Someone tells us something when we’re younger or something traumatic happens that shapes our identity in some way, and we live like we’re stuck in a role that wasn’t made for us. We’re unhappy and feel like something’s missing, but we don’t know how to start playing a different part. We don’t know how to free ourselves from these false labels. I think we even get comfortable playing the parts of “failure” or “victim” or whatever it is the world has labeled us.
This is why I love that the Bible tells us who we are. It tells us the part we’re meant to play:
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26).
“…for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8).
“…and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household” (Ephesians 2:19).
Who the Bible says that I am is SO different from who I told myself I was when I took that test in fourth grade. I’m not a failure. I am an heir of God. I am a child of the light. I am a citizen of God’s household!
How about you? Have you let yourself be defined by false labels? Are you playing the wrong part? If there is any doubt about who you are, go back to those verses above. There are so many other places in scripture that tell us who we are in Christ. The best part of it all, is that you can literally create new records and replace the old one’s today and if you have children, start them while they are young! Build them up and yourself. It is awesome to see what words of LIFE do to someone. Start your day off with a vision and faith filled words of how you want to see yourself… Strong, healthy, and joyful etc. Smart, energetic and radiant. Keep it simple and remember to talk to yourself the way you would to your children or your best friend-kind and gentle 😉
I know it’s easier said than done, but I want to encourage you to drop the labels and the titles and live today as you truly are: a beloved child of God, walking in freedom and victory.