Labels, Identity, & Boxes on a Piece of Paper

Labels

Been thinking about labels lately. How we assign them to ourselves and to others.

Of all the seasons of my life, junior high school was the most painful. Labels ruled and cliques reigned. You were labeled if you belonged to a group and labeled if you didn’t.

Smart. Stupid.

Pretty. Ugly.

Jock. Nerd.

Popular. Loser.

Adults used to be subtler about the use of labels. Not anymore. The words are often spit out with venom usually reserved for the lowest of the low.

Liberal. Conservative.

Democrat. Republican.

Intellectual. Religious fanatic.

This week, I came face to face with another label. It happened in a doctor’s office as I completed one of several forms.

The first 20 years of my life I was Single.

Then I spent the next 40 years Married.

Now I’m face to face with a new label: Widow.

Single. Married. Widow.

Who knew that checking a box on a form would cause me to rethink my identity? And yet it did.

But is that really my identity? Or is it simply a description of my status?

The last 2 months have given me the opportunity to consider who I am. What is my primary identity?

I was an executive…and now I’m not.

I was a wife…and now I’m not.

I’m an author now.

I’m a teacher now.

I’m a widow now.

My employment status and my marital status are subject to change. But one thing will never change. One label describes me now and for all eternity.

I am a Christian.

That means I’m a child of God. A daughter of the Creator of the universe.

I have:

A living hope (I Peter 1:3).

An imperishable inheritance (I Peter 1:4).

The seal of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Eternal life that has already begun (John 5:24).

Checking a box on a piece of paper describes my circumstances. But it doesn’t come close to describing who I am…and who I always will be.

Priscilla Shirer said it better than I could:

Who are YOU?


4 responses to “Labels, Identity, & Boxes on a Piece of Paper”

  1. Evie Boyle says:

    This is spot on, as usual! Thank you! After 11 years, it is still hard to say, widow! However, it is easy to say I’m a daughter if the king, Jesus!!

  2. Ava Pennington says:

    Thank you, Evie!

  3. Philita says:

    The first time I had to fill out an emergency contact card for work after Gary passed was my eye opener! We are strong, we are blessed and we are good Christian women! Thanks Ava for your pure words! Peace!

  4. Ava Pennington says:

    Thanks, Philita. Yes, those forms require facing reality!

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