We all have them. I listened to Pastor Craig teach an incredibly powerful message on leaving our old labels behind, and accepting what God says about us. You can listen here.
I started really thinking of the labels we give our children. There are so many of them. I’m not talking about the labels from the neighborhood kids, the sports team, their teachers, or even their Sunday School leaders. I’m talking about the labels we as parents give them – things that we say or do, without considering the impact it has. I especially think of things we say when we think they aren’t listening. You know, they are sitting there, but they aren’t paying attention so it’s okay to say this or that.
I thought at first to give random examples, because, you know, I’m writing this for someone else. But as I started to really think about it, I realized that I’m writing this for me. I’ll give you some examples of labels I give my kids.
Uncoordinated – Harmless, right? Uncoordinated. You don’t come by that on purpose, your uncoordinated mother gives it to you. Well, while I don’t want anyone to lie to me and tell me I am the most graceful woman they’ve ever met, I am embarrassed by my lack of coordination and some of the stupid things that have happened because of it. I have embarrassed my kids by pointing out the same thing in them.
Stupid – This one is ugly. But I don’t come right out and say “you’re stupid,” I make it prettier by saying “you have no common sense.” Gah! Mom fail.
Not good enough – It’s not that I look at any one of them and say directly, (Name), you are not good enough. But I knit-pick every single thing they do. I know they need to be corrected when they are lazy about a job, and I know they need to be spurred on to do better. But knit-picking every single thing they do? No one learns from that. It’s just hard on the soul and hard on the mind. I don’t give 100% all of the time. I just get by with the minimum on a lot of things. No one stands over me, knit-picking me.
Incapable – this is never done with words. This is always done with action – like when I take over a job, because you know, if I want a job done right I better do it myself.
My stomach just turned. My heart is heavy. I know I deal with a lot of mom guilt, but I think this goes beyond mom guilt. I think these are negative patterns that are shaping who my kids think they are. I want them to hear what God thinks about them way louder than these ugly messages.
I want them to identify themselves as redeemed, reborn, remade, new in Christ, created on purpose for a purpose, loved, hopeful, capable, intelligent. I want them to find strength in our Savior and I want to prepare them for a life of serving our God.
Purge the direct and indirect labels from what I say and do with my kids. Help me to teach them what You say about them, and give me grace to handle today, tomorrow, and the coming days. Help me to speak life, purpose and hope into their lives daily. Stop me when I want to take a task over. Stop me when my words are harsh. Help me to encourage and empower them to live into Your will for their life.
Lord, I recognize that I struggle in this area. I recognize that my words and actions are not always pretty and they don’t always point my sweet babies to you. Forgive me, please. Help me to do better.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.