Four Labels You Need to Let Go Of
By CBM National intern, Paul Daly-
I’m at that point in life where it’s time to discover who I am. What do I believe? How do I think? Who should I be? Recently, I’ve become a label collector. Labels are good, if used correctly. Through them, I’ve learned a lot about who God has made me to be. But sometimes, we need to lose those labels because they hold us back. We say things such as, “Well, I can’t do that because I’m this.” Or, “Well I’m this and you’re that, so we can’t be friends.” So often we use the labels as limitations rather than a means for liberation. Labels should tell you where you need to grow and what you need to experience. Here are four labels that we should be aware of, but willing to let go when God has called us into action.
1) Personality Labels
I love the psychology of personality, to the extent that I’ve taken all the tests and studied all the theories. Don’t believe me? I’m an INTP, high C with D and S, and a 9w1, who can tell you what percentage I have on each facet of the Big Five. If you don’t know what that all means, don’t worry. Just know that they are labels that I personally need to drop. I am thankful for my personality, and I am glad I know it so that I can customize my lifestyle to it. But sometimes I need to forget the fact that I’m, for example, reclusive when I’m interacting with people. Instead of saying “I can’t talk to people because I’m reclusive,” I should be saying, “I need to talk to people because I’m reclusive.” I need to drop the label, and do what God has led me to do.
2) Political Labels
Republican? Democrat? Conservative? Liberal? None of the above? We love politics, especially when election time comes, because we get to voice our opinions for the entire world to hear and pay attention to. Politics is everywhere. I can hardly even talk to others about my ministry to refugee children without eventually getting into it! My politics will likely not match up to yours perfectly, and that’s okay. But, do we know how much of a stumbling block it can be when God sends us to do something (or go to someone) that we don’t agree with politically? No matter how hard we try, the battle is there, and we’re a part of it. Therefore, there are times we need to save our opinions for later and do as the Lord asks.
3) Economical Labels
The stipend I receive for being an intern with CBM is $300 every month (that’s $3,600 a year). I blow half of that stipend the very first day on taxes, savings, and tithe, leaving me to survive on $5 a day. Thus, I’m afraid to give sometimes. I second-guess a lot of my spending, and I can sometimes get nervous about all the things I can’t afford. Can God really use a broke CBM intern? Yes, He can, and never once have I been without. Can God use you, regardless of how many digits are in your bank account? Yes, He can, and yes, He will. Sacrificial giving is definitely something every Christian should be involved in. Tithe to your church. Sponsor a child. Help pay for my mission trip to Moldova. Anything. Sometimes, you need to weigh how much you love money with how much you want to see God’s Kingdom grow. Sometimes, you need to drop the mindset of, “I can’t give because I’m poor,” and give anyway.
4) Circumstantial Labels
These labels include your age, your home, your church, your emotions, and your struggles. You can’t back out of missions because you’re too old or too young. Nor, is the weight of sinful nature supposed to bar you from following God’s will. Don’t allow these things to be bigger than God. Rather, trust Him through your circumstances, and allow Him to use you as His witness anyway. Trust me, I’ve been in loads of different situations, and I would often let them stop me. But, we can always find a way to glorify our Father in Heaven, even when our circumstances aren’t ideal.
Labels are not your identity. Although labels can help you become aware of the way you naturally think and act, they should not be obstacles in pursuing your identity with Christ. What can you do that is against your personality, politics, economics, or circumstances that will give God glory?