|The closest thing we had to chicken noodle soup.|
Just go with it.
Today I wanted to write about labels. Not the labels on a can of soup or something like that, but the labels given to a person either by themselves or by someone else. As a teenager, this is something that I struggle with almost daily. It's always a temptation to believe the labels and do everything within my power to become the person that the label implies. But that's not right. It's not what I'm called to do as God's daughter. I say, let's get rid of them. All of them.
So what exactly to I mean by labels? In this case, I mean the category that a person is placed into in order to define them. Such as: soccer girl, computer genius, animal lover, bookworm, etc. The purpose of a label is to stick it on a person so that we don't have to get closer to them and learn more about them. Or, if it is self imposed, it is so that we can rest in the security of being what others expect and thus make them (and, in turn, ourselves) happy.
What's so wrong with labels then? If they are really just to make people happy and life easy, why would we need to consider getting rid of them? First, just because it makes someone happy, doesn't mean that it is a good thing. It might make me happy to snap at my brothers until they finally leave me alone, but that does not at all mean that it's okay with God.
Yet, nowhere in the Bible does it say, "Thou shalt not label thy friends, thy siblings, or thyself." Which implies that there must be a root problem if it is actually, as I propose, such a bad thing. Labeling must be the result of sin.
But which sin?
If we take the time to look, there are a multitude to choose from: selfishness (wanting people to be just the way we want them), laziness (not wanting to put forth the effort to get to know a person for real), pride (thinking we have the ability and right to define either another person or ourselves), and the list goes on.
Actually, on a slightly different tangent, the soup can picture from above is a good one. A label on a can of chicken noodle soup is placed there to tell you what's inside. When you open the can to cook it, you have no doubt that what you will find inside is indeed chicken noodle soup. The label on the can was put there so that we can know the contents without having to pull out the can opener and work for it.
That's the thing about us humans though, we're not soup. If that is a surprise to anyone, you might want rethink some things - something's wrong. Anyway, humans aren't soup. If a label is put on a can of soup to tell you what's inside, then a label on a human should parallel that purpose. The label should tell you what's inside the person. But that's the thing, it doesn't. Because humans aren't soup, we tend to change and grow and be made up of lots more than broth, chicken, and noodles. We can't be plastered with a label that tells everything exactly as it is inside of us.
There is so much more to every individual person around us that labeling hides from sight. There is so much more to ourselves than one or two concisely cut ideas.
So lets forget the labels and invest in each other as the human beings we are. Let's sweep aside the inhibiting titles and ideas and instead love and get to know each other deeply just as Jesus intended. Because, after all, we're more than chicken noodle soup.