Rob often puts sermons on his iPod so I can listen to them during my long commute to work. Recently, he put one on there and the pastor said this:
"Any label you are wear with pride... the gospel strips you of
any label you wear with shame... the gospel strips you of"
I have been hearing those sentences over and over in my mind lately. He's so right. I can't be boastful or prideful of anything I've done because, in reality, I am not the one who did it. I've never done anything "good" on my own - it has always been God working through me (or in spite of me).
And on the other side, how amazing that God can erase our past mistakes! We may still suffer the consequences of our bad decisions but as far as God is concerned, it does not define us. I have a hard time forgiving myself when I make a mistake. I got a speeding ticket this summer while on a long car trip and I was so angry with myself I cried for about an hour. I think about some of the mistakes I have made in my life and it could be tempting to think of myself or define myself in light of those decisions. But God does not define me by those mistakes. He sees me as His child, made in His image. Wow.
I was thinking about some of the "labels" I wear with pride: Mommy, Being "Green", Good at Sewing, Adopting... and I am humbled to think that the only reason I even get those labels is because of what Christ has done for me. I don't deserve them - I haven't done one thing that God didn't think of first or give me the ability to do. I am no better than anyone else.
And the labels I wear with shame: Judgemental, Critical, Quick to Anger, Impatient... and I praise God that I don't have to define myself with those. I wish this list could just disappear - I don't want to own any of those things! Ugh. It stresses me out just to have written them down. I'm working on all that junk, I promise!
I'm thinking about all this because of how much support we've gotten for our adoption lately! We're in the middle of the big fundraiser and have raised almost $3,000 so far. I do not want to be prideful about the fact that our family is adopting or that our fundraiser is successful. The only reason both of those things are happening are because God is so amazing!
Our Both Hands fundraiser project is going to be on tv... News 2 has a segment called "Hero Central." I am beyond thrilled that they want to tell our story but really uncomfortable with that "Hero" part. I am not a hero. (in fact, I've already blogged about that here!) We are not heroes. God is the hero - He's the one who had the idea to take care of widows and orphans (James 1:27). All we're doing is what he's told us to do. :) If you are local, it's supposed to air on Tuesday, Nov 2nd at 5. Or 6. I'm not sure. I will be a total stressball for about three hours before and after, in case you are wondering. I'm not good at standing up in front of groups of people I know... the thought I'll be on tv makes my knees weak. I wonder if I could get them to call it "Regular People Central" just for the night.
I am an imperfect sinner, covered by grace, made in the image of a God who loves me so.
No other label will stick.