“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious…you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession…once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people…”
–1 Peter 2:5;9
In life, especially high school, people are constantly in a state of being labeled. Most are either discarding one label or about to take on another.
There’s the athletic label, which inspires admiration from teammates and praise from P.E. teachers.
There’s the artistic individual, with the ever-present eye for beauty.
There’s the musical one, who finds purpose in rhythm.
There’s the hot one, who everyone envies at one point.
There’s the smart one, who lives for her GPA and dies by her SAT scores.
And then there’s me.
I don’t have a label. I’m just Makenna. I’m not good at any one thing in particular.
Athletics? Pshhh not a chance.
Art? I can draw stick figures and suns in the corner of my page?
Music? Enough to perhaps keep the cat from scratching the chalkboard.
Stunning? Hahaha good one, mom.
Academics? This one comes closest to winning, but most people know that that’s not the ideal label to have in school.
Here’s the thing. Labels are security for most people. We feel if we have a label then somewhere we fit in, right?
On the other hand, if you are label-less, like me, you are always trying to find your place. I believe that the hardest part of life is finding out who you are and who you are supposed to be—and it’s even harder to do that when you don’t have something concrete to hold on to, like a label.
But I’ve found out that in the end, nobody gives a penny about the label. They care about the person—the quirks, the humor, the sweetness, the sincerity—that all work to mold an individual, not a label.
You Are Special
I’m reminded of a Max Lucado book that I used to read when I was younger—You Are Special. It follows the journey of Punchinello, a wooden Wemmick in a small town. The town thrives on giving people stars or dots. The stars are given to those with smooth wood and pretty faces. The dots are given to the failures, and Punchinello has bunches of dots. He starts believing the lies associated with the dots—that he must not be a good wooden person.
One day he meets Lucia, who doesn’t have any dots or stars. No matter how much other Wemmicks try to put stickers on her, they don’t stick. She tells Punchinello her secret—every day she goes to see the woodcarver Eli, in his workshop. Punchinello decides to visit Eli also, and is shocked to hear him say, “Who are they to give stars or dots? They’re Wemmicks just like you. What they think doesn’t matter, Punchinello. All that matters is what I think. And I think you are pretty special.”
Despite my lack of conventional labels, I know that there is one label that truly matters. It’s a label that gives purpose, value, and hope. It comes from the One who has the authority to label. This label reads “child of God,” and it is the most valuable and important label you can ever have. It can never be overshadowed, undervalued, or taken away. It shows you are treasured and cherished by the King of Kings. So for now, I’m trying to be content with possessing only one label, because as long as that label gives me the right to call the Creator of the universe “Daddy,” no others are needed.