What's Your Label?
Paleo, Low-FODMAP, Gluten Free, or even SIBO, Lyme, Autoimmune Disease.
These are all labels that we give ourselves when talking about our physical bodies.
And there’s totally nothing wrong with these labels, I even give myself some on my Instagram profile and my About Me page.
It’s just what we do, it’s human nature to want to identify and relate to other people through commonalities.
But, do we actually understand how these labels are affecting our minds?
Labels and Our Identity
When we attach a label such as a diet or a health condition to who we are as a person, do we ever think of what that does to us on a deeper level?
Most often it seems that we get stuck with labels that identify our greatest weakness, or the area of our lives that we’re trying to work on.
Maybe because that’s what hangs most heavily on our minds; the condition that we can’t seem to shake, or the diet that we have to focus so hard on to get right.
And when you're sick and not feeling well, your illness tends to be the thing that you focus on the most, and can easily become your label if you’re not careful.
Trust me, I've been there too. The things that you focus your time and energy on (positive or negative) begin to define you.
And, again, focusing your time and efforts into areas of your life, and subsequently labeling yourself with those titles is not always a bad thing.
Think about Michael Jordan. He undoubtedly spent the majority of his life focusing on basketball, and what do people tend to label him as: “the greatest basketball player of all time,” not the worst label in the world.
But, when you accept a label that focuses on you diet or health condition, it begins to cement your identity in your mind that you ARE that diet or that health condition.
And sometimes it can feel like without that physical condition defining you, (no matter how unpleasant) you wouldn’t know who you are anymore; a situation that will in no way lead to true physical or mental healing.
You Are Not Your Health Condition
Let me tell you: you are not your diet, and you are not your health condition.
So, let’s stop using those as the labels that define us.
What would begin to change if, instead of seeing myself as “Jess, someone who suffers from Celiac Disease and a ton of other gut issues that I’m really trying to work on but just can’t fix,” I viewed myself as “Jess, a child of God who loves taking walks outside, doing yoga, painting, and spending time with my husband?”
I would no longer be caught up in that endless thought pattern of “How do I deal with my disease? I’m not sure if I can go out with my friends because I might not feel well. What new supplement should I try so I can help my digestion perform a little better.”
But instead I would be focused on things that I enjoy, and that fulfill me and give me purpose as a human.
Don’t get me wrong, focusing on your health condition is not a bad thing, and it’s definitely necessary in order to get well.
But, there’s a huge difference between focusing on a condition in order to heal, and dwelling on a condition because you believe it defines you.
When we leave behind the labels that drag us down, and pick up ones that give us life, we will find so much freedom and joy (and maybe even healing from those physical ailments we’ve stopped focusing on so much).
How Do You Define Yourself?
So, friend, I challenge you to take a few minutes (trust me you have time) to really think about what you’re using to define yourself.
Is it your physical condition? Is it your status in the community? Is it your relationship with another person?
What are you speaking over your life? (because, like it or not, that is what tends to become true about your life)
And once you’ve identified what your labels are, ask yourself what they’re doing to your focus and to your spirit.
Are they giving you purpose and drive? Or are they dragging you down and taking the joy out of life?
If you don’t like the answers you’re seeing, it’s time to make a change!
Start by writing down a few things you enjoy, things that would make your heart happy, or give you a purpose outside yourself.
And then start speaking those things over your life, and leaving those old labels behind.
Trust me, changing how you label yourself will be nothing short of life changing!
Try it, and I would love to know what new labels you came up with!
This post was inspired by the book Classic Christianity, by Bob George. If this blog spoke to you, I highly recommend you check out the book.
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