Loving Beyond Labels
Growing up, I switched schools several times. Starting over was a normal part of life for me, but the thing I never got used to was trying to meet new friends.
While I might’ve been noticed and labeled as, “Lynn, the new girl,” that’s where sometimes it ended. The girls I went to school with saw me as that label, not really for the girl I truly was.
I felt invisible.
One spring, as the season gave way to summer. a moving truck pulled into my neighborhood, just like the sweltering heat, settling in across the street. I saw a couple of girls my age pop out of the truck.
I couldn’t believe my eyes! For the first time since moving into this neighborhood, there were girls who would be my new neighbors! I decided I would no longer be “Lynn, the new girl.” I would be Lynn, and I would be their first friend.
Marching up to my bedroom, I pulled out my orange and white striped shirt, the one with “LYNN” screen-printed in bold, block letters. Slipping it over my head, I bravely made my way across the street, practicing exactly I would say. After I rang the doorbell, a heavy door opened and I boldly said to the girl who answered the door, “Hi, I’m Lynn.” (How creative!)
That summer, I offered to these new friends who moved to our town exactly what I wish I had when I began my new school and attended our new church: acceptance.
Looking back, I’ve learned a big lesson from that brave little girl in her “LYNN” shirt. She’s taught me that I might be a little too comfortable now and that other people with labels need to be loved and accepted for who they are, too.
Jesus modeled this best, and without fail. He showed us how to love others without any conditions based on the labels that the world gives. He demonstrated, by leaving the comfort of His home, His family, His neighborhood, what it means to truly love. The same way that He unconditionally loves and cherishes us, we are to love and cherish others.
Jesus said in John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another”
Loving others is easy when they fit into our comfort zone.
But what about when that’s not the case? When it requires us to step out of our comfort zone? Then it’s harder.
But the truth is, every girl, every woman:
…no matter where she’s from,
…no matter her skin color,
…no matter her label,
…no matter how different she is from me,
…needs to know — deserves to know — that as God’s creation, she’s loved and cherished. There is not one condition behind that truth.
But friends, there’s more to our assignment. We can’t just talk the talk; we’ve got to walk the walk. Let’s not just tell our neighbor that we love her; let’s live it out and show that we love her.
Let’s do what Jesus did when He came to earth. Let’s go into homes. Share meals. Listen to one another. Pray together. Make t-shirts that spell our names in big, bold letters (okay, maybe not that, but I had to throw that idea in there).
This starts in the heart and the home. Our children need to know that because they’re loved and cherished unconditionally, they can love and cherish others, too.
Join me today, August 7th, on my Instagram for Live 30 Minutes with a Family Counselor. Michelle Nietert, a professional counselor, and Lynn, the authors of Loved & Cherished, will be covering questions about development in young girls, how to develop their self-esteem and faith and so much more!
My new devotional for tweens, Loved and Cherished is now available to purchase. This devotional includes 100 devotions written specifically to tween girls to help them understand God’s unconditional, deep love for them.
Order now and get these free resources when you pre-order:
- Immediate access to the first 30 devotions
- 15 Audio Devotions read by myself and Michelle Nietert
- 7 Prayer Promise Cards to pray for your girl!
Click here to order your copy and get your resources now!
I relate so much to this Lynn. I didn’t move around a lot but as the only VIP (visually impaired person) in my middle and high schools, I was always known as “that girl with the eye thing”. That was my label then and it sort of is now. The name has changed as an adult but I am mostly known as “Cyndi, you know that woman who is blind”. I’ve tried to embrace the identity and make it part of my ministry but there are times I’d rather just be known as “Cyndi, you know that woman who has…… ministry and really loves the Lord”. Thank you for sharing.
Cyndi – I am so very sorry. The world can be unkind only too often. I love that every day we can choose (though it is so very, very hard) to embrace the label Father gives us – His. Love you, Cyndi!