This past week at Lifechurch.TV, pastor Craig Groeshel started a new series called Getting Past your Past. I will be totally honest here. When we sat down at church I just wasn’t feeling it. I wasn’t in the mood to sing. I wasn’t in the mood to listen. I have no good reason for this. I was just in a funk. That usually is the case when a good message is about to be given. Fortunately the fog lifted and what followed was awesome.

Pastor Craig asked this question near the beginning of the message: What negative label follows your name? This could be anything. Do you know what yours are? Mine started to pop up in a hurry. Granted, I know them well so it didn’t take much thinking. I have two that have bugged me for years: fat boy and quitter.

When I was a teenager I had a fat boy complex. I used self depreciating humor quite often to get a laugh. Looking back I see a huge problem though…I wasn’t fat. I was a husky kid, but when I hit my growth spurt I spent several years skinnier than I ever knew I was. See below. What did this view of myself get me? I promptly gained 40 pounds after high school. I graduated at 190 and weighed 230 the next year. (The freshman 15 is one thing, but 40 pounds..good grief.) I have lived with this false label for a long time. I wasn’t a fat boy. I am bigger than I want to be right now, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. This label doesn’t own me. God created me for more than that.

Summer 1995

I have also lived with the label Quitter. There isn’t a sport that I have played that I haven’t quit. I played basketball in high school and when it was time to pass out the jersey’s I was one of two guys that didn’t get one. I saw no future with it and I quit. I signed up for the football team my sophomore year and made it through 3 a days and quit. I played a season and a half of baseball and wasn’t happy with it so I quit. From the paragraph I just wrote it seems that label would be true…but it isn’t either. I am not a quitter. Looking back I realize I chose other things over the sports. I chose to sing in the choir and had some success at it. (Went to college with all tuition paid for two years singing.) That label doesn’t own me either. There are several more important things that I have not quit at all. I have been married to the same beautiful woman for 12 years. There is no quit in my game. I am, however, more selective about what I start these days. Had I chosen choir in the beginning back in those days there would have been no need to play the sports. Singing was what I enjoyed doing.

Through the message I have been encourage to go back and look at many of those negative labels that have attached themselves to me over the years. As I look at each one and examine them closely I am finding that they are inconsistent with what I know to be true. As a follower of Christ I am a new creation. I have been made new. Labels that may have defined me at one time no longer have to. God has purpose for my life. Holding on to the past and being crippled by it is not it.

Are there any labels that have defined you in the past? What are you doing to overcome them? Were they valid in the first place? The service was eye opening. I am so glad I shook the funk and really heard what was being said.

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