October is the month of tricks and treats when costumes greet us at every door. Where did the custom of costumes come from? In some cultures costumes were once worn as disguises to protect people from danger. And in other cultures they were worn to honor the dead. Today, I think we mostly choose costumes we relate to and identify with . Some of them are aspirational like superheroes, or declarations like princesses or little monsters.
Costumes aren’t just worn in October though, are they? Every time we wear something with a particular logo or label we are making a statement about what we value, and that our opinion matters, and therefore we matter. And based on these appearances we label each other and we are labelled.
Labels are powerful. Labels are hard to resist. They’re useful because they help us make sense of the world. They help us quickly decode what’s inside –so we can decide if we like something or –someone.
When I pick up a can of vegetables – like this can of pumpkin – I count on the label to describe what’s inside. When I care more, I turn the can around and look at the ingredients. But ultimately, the only way I know for sure if the label is accurate is to look inside! I take the labels on my can goods pretty seriously. But what about the labels I use on people?
Labels attempt to quickly categorize people to justify if we accept or reject them. Sometimes they hint at someone’s true story and other times they’re really misleading. Labels inevitably compare one to another. And, they enter a room before we get to know each other. They take us on a journey to a destination of either feeling superior or inferior. But most important labels rob us of our inherent value proclaimed in the Psalms: we are all wonderfully made.
And speaking of wonder, I have all kinds of Wonder Woman apparel that labels me– T-shirts, pajamas, earrings… I don’t believe I’m the real Wonder Woman. But, when I wear these kinds of labels I hope to stir your curiosity to look inside and see the wonder God created in me –and yes I do want to be a part of saving the world!
God is urging us to look under the labels and costumes to take an honest look at our true intrinsic value.
Here are three secrets to resisting labels. 1) Make a decision that you’re going to resist them! 2) Acknowledge (often) your incredible inner value . 3) That will help you see it and celebrate it in others.
You’ve probably taken “Selfie” photos on vacations or at special occasions. Next time you do I want you to pause, then zoom in to focus on your soul. Ask yourself, can show what’s under the surface and reveal your inner strength. instead of a “selfie” this is called a “SOUL-FIE. It’s the picture of “you” and your incredible value that’s timeless, blameless, and celebrates your greatness.