I grew up eating Campbell’s soup. Many different kinds. Each kind of soup contains different combinations of ingredients. They never change. Chicken noodle always tastes the same. Beef vegetable always tastes the same. It may vary a slight bit based on the amount of water that is added to the condensed mixture, but for the most part, it remains the same. Campbell’s has to keep the recipe the same so the soups will continue to sell. If they were to remove the noodles from the chicken noodle, then sales would probably cease.
The label on the front of each can displays the type of soup inside. Most of their soups nowadays not only have the type of soup written on the label, but a color image of the product along with it. People know what they are getting. They eat the contents and decide whether or not it is worth purchasing again. They know exactly what to expect next time around.
We have a name for everything. What would we say unless we could name it? We can describe soup by saying it is salty, or that it tastes like chicken. We are still naming the descriptive words. We are still naming what the finished product is called. As we do so, a label is presented. We can then call it, “(Label Here).”
When I voluntarily walked into a mental health facility many months back, I went in with the hope of finding solace. A twenty-plus year stretch of harmful substance abuse, along with the uncontained grief that was quickly taking over my life, had a couple of friends walking me into a building I had never thought I would see. In my mind, people with severe mental problems and suicidal tendencies were the ones who needed that type of place. I had already developed my own label for the facility. As I sat down with the initial counselor, I had the opportunity to explain what was going on within my life. They took the notes, came up with a plan, later diagnosed me and then developed a recipe for my particular disorder. Since they had the recipe, so to speak, my condition was then labeled.
Unlike finished products that we, for example, purchase because we enjoy their permanent recipe, we are not finished. We have the capability to change. We can change our weight and health by giving up those soups that are loaded with fat and sodium. We can change our hair. We can learn and develop in a number of ways. We have an abundance of unlimited possibilities as humans.
I walked into that facility with a goal: to not stay where I was. I received a label, but I knew that with effort and knowledge my label would eventually be removed. The programs, literature, teachers, medication and will to change was the new recipe in the works. In fact, it is still in the works.
I wouldn’t make a good soup. No one would ever buy my ever-changing recipe!
You are not a label. You are not a stigma. You are not the person you were yesterday, unless you desire to be. You are missing out on so much potential by remaining a label that someone had slapped on you in another time.
I used to attend A.A. and N.A. meetings. I feel so sorry for those people. I pray for a great awakening for them. They always say that they are an “addict,” every single time they speak. If they have been clean for twenty years, they still claim failure when introducing themselves. What a loss. They are clean as soon as the drug leaves the body, and yet, the label remains. Speaking that death into their lives only leaves the label on them.
We have to move forward. We have to persevere.
What a sad day it would be for the world if our soldiers were not constantly changing their strategy for victory. If they just stayed in the trenches and failed to fight. What a loss it would be if the man who lost his leg just decided to lay down and never move again. What a terrible feeling to know that success is just on the other side of the walls that we build for ourselves.
The only thing that we should ever proclaim ourselves to be is, “children of the most high in Christ!” Or, whatever name you prefer, in Him. I sincerely pray that for you this morning. I pray that is the one thing that never changes, while taking the steps to mature in that permanent label. Everything else: your weight, your hair, your label received at the facility or the recipe you’ve personally concocted, I pray that those thing change into what you desire. Claim victory over it! I pray that the new creation you have claimed in Him shows you just how strong you can be. I pray that those old labels fall off, and your recipe is not a permanent one.