You Can't Name Me
It was a quiet Friday in the office as most of my Friday's are. The majority of the staff where I work have the day off. I don't and I love it. I get more work done on Friday than another day. Ok, back on topic. It was a quiet Friday in the office and I had been printing documents to prepare for our weekend worship services. I was just wrapping up and heading out of our Resource room where the printer is, when suddenly I hear, "You are so skinny".
Yesterday, Sunday, I was sitting in our church service listening to my Pastor talk about serving and using our gifts for what God has called us to do. I hadn't been very focused much of the message when my wife leaned over, sensing something being wrong, and asked, "Are you ok?" I responded, "I'm wrestling with God".
Internally, I was on fire. I was trying to contain myself, struggling to hear God and fighting to feel, to see, if He could hear me. I was on the mat jarring with the Creator of the Universe; my Creator. The enemy had gotten into my head that morning saying things like, "You'll never be good enough", "What are you even doing here", "What you do is not important", "You are nobody", "You are not valued", "You don't make an impact", "You are worthless". It went on and on. He had been naming me. I had struggled with those words, with those definitions of me all morning. And as I worshipped, I tried to give it to God but I felt like He would not take it. And so, I wrestled. I wrestled with him until He took it and replaced it with something.
And then Pastor said something that immediately was like a sucker punch to my throat [I knew it was God speaking].
Pastor said, "Some of you won't even try to serve or do what God has called you to do because of the things people have said to you and about you. Some of you won't even do what you're meant to do because of the words that people have spoken over you."
There are things that God has called us to be. There are things that God has called us to do. These are things we are afraid to approach because rolling around in our head somewhere are words spoken over our lives by the enemy and by others that tell us that we can't do those things. There are words spoken over us that tell us that we aren't good enough, handsome enough, smart enough, charismatic enough, strong enough. There are people who have called us worthless. They've made us feel small and insignificant. They've made us question the very fiber of our existence; they've called into question the reason we are here. These are the things that frighten us from becoming everything that God intended.
We must be careful not to label people. It is an unfair practice to determine and define who someone is without giving them the space to speak into your conclusion. I've come to realize that the more questions I ask people about themselves, the more I strive to go deeper with someone, the more wrong I was about them in my initial assumptions. When we begin to name people based off of observations, you force people to operate in a box that you created that no one ever gave you to power or right to. We make decisions for people based off of these boxes and often the decisions we make FOR someone are so far off base that you begin to shape people into becoming someone or something they're not. Ultimately, the judgements, the labels, the definitions that you give, are often times hurtful and are absolutely opposite of what God has called them.
If you didn't make me, you can't name me.
I've always been really thin. In fact, I weighed between 120lbs -125lbs for most of my twenties. I don't know why. I've worked out. I eat a ton. I'm really active too. I just could not put on a ton of weight. I've always dealt with someone saying something about my weight. It seems that not a day passes that I don't hear something about how thin I am, it bothers me. What I actually hear is, "you are not good enough". It stinks. What's even worst is that I have been celebrating with my close friends who know how I feel about this, the fact that over the last few months I have gained weight averaging between 137lbs - 143lbs...yet I still get those that say things. I'm working out and eating and my Doctor says that I am really healthy. Though through someone else's perspective, they look at me and see "small", "weak", "thin", "kid". There are people who even treat me or see me differently because of my size. And each time they give a look or make a statement, I feel less than. Do you have any areas of your life like this?
I'm opening up about this because this is one example of when we say things like this, we are placing an identity on someone based on our perspective and our notions. It's not fair.
To those of us who struggle with words that have been placed on us, I would challenge you to get in the Bible and read what God says about you. Those words are loud, clear, sound, stable, true, and irrevocable. God made you. He claims you. He named you Sons and Daughters of the most high. He calls you strong and mighty. He calls you courageous.