The more I think about it, the more I am uneasy with the 12 step commercials where healing people say, "My name is Fred, and I am an alcoholic."
Sometimes I want to shout--
Fred, you are definitely NOT an alcoholic.
You ARE a powerful, brave, good soul who is at war with alcoholism and the chains of addiction.
Your pain and struggle is real- but it is not who you are. Yes, we need to acknowledge our weaknesses but our weakness does not define us. We are eternal beings experiencing mortality.
Believing that you are defined by your problem is at least as harmful as ignoring you have problems. Isn't it?
Even as we fight to remove labels like retarded and handicapped and disabled, we are choosing to label ourselves and others with similarly confining definitions.
Knowing who we really are and who we are not, gives us hope, strength and power.
It is so much easier to remove a tumor that is growing on you than it is to believe you are innately sick or crazy or flawed.
Recognizing the temptations and pull of Satan makes it easier to cast him out and crush his puny, dark head.
Isn't it easier to crush evil than to believe that you must sort, soothe, retrain, medicate or fix your own messed up mind?
You may need help healing, but do not be deceived into labeling yourself a Nazi when you are actually a soldier at war with all that Nazi-ism is.
You are stuck in a web, but you are not a spider.
Alcoholism is real.
Depression, addiction, anxiety, anger, mental illness, abuse- they are all real!
But they do not define you.
You are NOT your trials.
Please, hear this message and apply it to yourself, your family and those you love.
Remember God is the great I Am.
Darkness finds great power in labeling.
Look at tattoos, piercings and body mutilations. Do you know why these are so powerful? Because as temporary (eternally) as they are, they are pretty permanent reminders of who we once were. Every time you look at yourself, you see the reminder of "who you are", even if your tatoo is really who you were one drunk night in your teens.
Labels limit your ability to see who you can be. It limits other people's ability to see YOU. What a smart plan for someone who wants you to think you are weak, sick and destined to stay that way.
Imagine Fred's mom looking her sweet baby saying "your name is Fred and you're an alcoholic."
I once had someone I love tell one of my children "You are like me. I cannot control my temper without medication. Your sister is patient and calm like your mother." Oh how my mother lion roared!
No! Do not label my child, do not label yourself! Get help if you must to learn how to heal the hurts that you have but know who you are!
I tell my daughter if she wants to be patient, she must exercise her tiny patient muscles until they grow strong. If she works at it, prays for it, learns from others who are patient and looks for patience in her life- she can become more patient. That is how I am learning patience.
Patience, like most things in life, is not something you are or are not. It is a skill that we all must refine. Be careful with labels.
We all have been given a great genetic ability to CHOOSE how we react to the trials of life. We can choose who we want to become. We are adaptable.
Just for the record.
I am not heterosexual, gay or bisexual.
I hate those labels.
I am a woman, a wife, and a mother.
Honestly, I'm not denying the existence of very real, natural tendencies that differ for each of us. I'm asserting the fact that feeling the pull of an addiction to drugs doesn't define you as an addict.
Labeling my marriage as "heterosexual" feels like you are giving a base human response credit for a relationship that took years and years of effort to build. No relationship (gay or heterosexual) will last if we allow ourselves to be defined by every thought, temptation or weakness we encounter.
My physical, mental, emotional and spiritual efforts to unite with my husband strengthen my tendencies; as easily as allowing exhaustion, contention, infidelity, and anger into our relationship would weaken them.
My marriage is not an instinctual part of my DNA it is the divine and purposeful work of my body and soul.
I might have a genetic tendency towards addiction (it has ruined the lives of many of my family members). But, I am not an alcoholic because I choose not to drink.
As we water the seeds we want to grow, we will harvest good fruit. We can pull the weeds we don't want, at the very least we can recognize them and stop watering them. You are a gardener not a weed.
I am a child of God with purpose.
I am a woman, a wife, and a mother.
I have power to choose how I act.
I fight evil daily.
And in sweet, holy moments I am blessed to see a glimpse of who I really am.