Labels and Lenses

I think we are born with the ability to see ourselves as Jesus does and over time, the world around us either erodes that lens or tends to it.

I, on one hand, had that lens completely destroyed at a young age and saw myself as an unloved, beast of burden to my parents.  My youngest son on the other hand, does not appear to have any problem seeing himself as the awesome kid God created him to be.  One lens was destroyed and one has been tended to.  I labeled myself "unloved", "worthless", "hopeless", "trouble" and oftentimes "forgotten".  He labels himself as "cool", "fun", "silly", "nice".  Lenses lead to labels. 

Lenses need caring for.  If they are to work properly, they need regular maintenance and attention.  If not, they become distorted and dirty and all at once don't give us a proper view of ourselves at all.  And what's more, the less favorably we look at ourselves, the less favorably we look at others.

What does lens care look like?  It looks like being in the word, coming back to what is true is IGNORING the emotions that lie to us.  The world tells us that we need to conform to what society thinks is beautiful and wonderful.  That's a lie!  The world would have us believe that differences make us weird or a burden to those around us. That's a lie!  The world would have us believe that certain sins make us worse than others.  That's a lie!  The world would have us believe that we are in competition with each other, especially if you are a woman.  That's a lie!   And you know what?  When we believe these lies, our lenses get distorted, our labels go awry and we become miserable.  Do you know why? Because these lies are the complete opposite of His truth for us!!

Here is a partial view from where God sits:

We are a light!
 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14
He has created us to SHINE and not be dull! It's OK to work your talents and gifts!  Don't hide who you are because you are worried that your shine will get in someone else's eye!

We are a new creation! 
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.” 2 Cor. 5:17
NOTHING in our past defines us.  We are not defined by our sin.  We are forgiven children of God!

We are the salt of the Earth! 
“You are the salt of the earth.” Matthew 5:13
We were created to be who we are! We are not expected to mold ourselves to what's around us or what others expect of us.  We were each created with thought and care and specific details!  BE YOU! 

We were created to be victorious! 
 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37
God has given us the ability to succeed, each of us as individuals.  Our success does not means someones failure.  We are not in competition with one another for a finite pie!  Celebrate with others who succeed without fear that it means your failure!! 

We are strong! 
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13
When we listen to HIS voice, we are able to do infinitely more than we have ever hoped.  He created us to be resilient and capable of so much!

The beauty of all of this? As we begin to care for ourselves and our lenses  we can move on to labeling ourselves appropriately, and when our lenses are well tended to, we can begin to label others well also.  
We can begin to see others as cheerleaders or teammates and not competition.  
We can begin to see that others who are successful do not take away from our ability to be so as well. 
We can let down our insecurities and let our true selves shine because we are not labeling beauty as the world defines it as "right" and our own as "wrong".  

And peace will settle in as we walk away from the worlds standards and into our Father's.  

May we all care for our lenses today so that our labels will begin to be accurate and our lives reflect that plans He has for us!

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