The Labeling Affect

This year spec we spent a couple of spec today classes focusing on letting go of image and judgement. These two things, though not done on consecutive days are very much connected. In life, so much judgement we may feel from others, that we may place on others, is based image. Image is so multi faceted, made up of what we think of ourselves, what others think of us and how we internalized. So often, it can affect the way we live life.

A Hallowing Experience

I found myself a few weeks ago on Halloween sitting at a McDonalds. A few friends and myself decided to take advantage of the new all day breakfast. Few things as amazing as pancakes for dinner. I remember as a child on those rare occasions my grandmother would take my brother and I to McDonalds before church and how excited we would get. As we sat, noted a string of students, both young and old coming in and out of the restaurant. There was such a wide variety of customs. Pirates, doctors, zombies, some I would wear, and others that didn’t look to comfortable. As I refilled my cup before getting ready to depart, I saw a small boy enter all dressed up with his mom. He smiled at me so I knelt down and asked him what he was dressed as and his favorite thing about Halloween. He was someone from a movie I had never heard of but his reason why is what was profound to me. He said Halloween was his favorite because it gave him a chance to dress up and go as someone else.

What a revelation. What would we give if we could choose the day, maybe once a week, a year, once in a life time to go as someone else? To leave our insecurities, our fears, our uncertainties and failures behind and go as our ‘dream selves’, go as someone we feel has an image, and labels that we would approve of and others would approve of.

Scripture

You are the one
who put me together
    inside my mother’s body,
14 and I praise you
    because of
the wonderful way
    you created me.
Everything you do is marvelous!
    Of this I have no doubt.

15 Nothing about me
    is hidden from you!
I was secretly woven together
    deep in the earth below,
16 but with your own eyes
    you saw
    my body being formed.
Even before I was born,
you had written in your book
    everything I would do.

Who Are You?

As our scripture tells us, everything that God does is marvelous, including creating each and everyone of else. We may make mistakes, hurt those we love, fall short of our goals, but we will always be wonderfully created and loved in the eyes of God.

Yet in our daily lives of work, school, sports and so many other things we encounter labels. So often we hear, “you’re fat” or “you don’t be long here” from others. So often the hardest labels to shake may be ones we place on ourselves, “I’m not good enough”.

The video posted below offers a new perspective on these labels and the affect they have on our lives.

Making Sense of it All

After watching the video you may ask, are all labels a bad thing? A perspective I had not considered even after watching the video until I shared the experience with a friend. As I sat in community with a few members of my congregation and with many others gathered online from countries around the world, I sat in awe. My friend Kevin spoke with passion and a desire in his heart to make sense of it all. He said I am proud to be who I am. He spoke of the pride felt for the things he has accomplished and why wouldn’t he be? And why shouldn’t we strive to succeed and appreciate the hard work we have done as we look back on life as it was and prepare for life as it might be, could be. I’ve learned in this life that like most things we experience, labels and judgements are what you make of them. That while words can sting, hurt us, and may always retain their power, we can relish and find comfort in knowing that we are loved.

So as you go throughout your week, remember that, there are some labels that you can wear proud. Be it that we are christians, flawed, imperfect but filled with love. Disciples prepared each day to serve others and to create community.

Campers, staff and whomever else may read this, I wish you a blessed week.

-Damon

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