As one thinks in their heart, so they are.
What we think of ourselves, so we are. How unfortunate that throughout life we are labeled by others and often the labels stick to us like a glue and affect our self-perception and our ability to move forward in some areas of life.
In the early years of my military career I remember I could get away with a lot. After all, I was just a “junior officer” and certain things were not required of me nor were they expected. I simply could go to a more senior officer ask a question and get my answer within minutes. One day, a senior officer asked me to write up a report and get it to him by the end of the week. No problem! The day before the report was due, I jotted down a few notes, found answers to his questions and typed up a simple report. Later that evening, I looked over the report and thought, I can do so much better than this but in order to do better would require more time and effort and my kids were asleep and I was dead tired. Then the thought occurred to me…I’m just a junior officer so not much is required of me, so I went ahead and emailed the report and went to bed. I wasn’t pleased with my decision but it turned out to be one of the best learning lessons of my life.
The next day I didn’t hear back from the senior officer. Phew! Just like I expected as a junior officer not much is required or expected. A couple weeks went by and I swung by his office just to check-in and say “hello.” We had a good time catching up and hearing about his trip to the “Sand Box.”
Finally, he said, “Marc, I got your report and I want to talk to you about it.”
It took me a moment to remember what report he was talking about.
“I want you to rewrite it…”
My gut sunk and I confess I grew defensive. After all, the report had everything in it that was required of me…except excellence and I knew it.
Then he gave me words that have been forever engrained in my mind, “Today you’re a junior officer and your work reflects it. You need to start thinking like a senior officer and acting like one.”
These words had a little sting to them, but they didn’t hurt, they challenged me. They motivated me to evaluate my mindset. From that time on I would say to myself, “I’m no longer a junior officer but a senior officer and I will think and act in such a way.”
A year later I was honored to pin the maple leaf on my collar.
Labels come in many forms – Smart or challenged, attractive or overlooked, married, single divorced, healthy or overfed. Sometimes we wear labels as if they were badges of honor and other times we wear labels that we don’t want and can’t seem to get rid of.
Are there labels that hinder you or make you feel inadequate? What are they? Name them…
Is there a new mindset you need to adopt to change these labels? If so, what is it?
We often write our own story negatively and repeat this narrative to ourselves too much. Human nature defaults to the negative labels, but God’s word says…
- You’re a masterpiece (Eph. 2:10 NLT)
- You’re a child of the King (Gal. 3:26 NIV)
- You are wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14 NIV)
Here’s the challenge:
What do these labels tell you of how God sees you?
Each morning take one of these verses and either before you get out of bed or during your morning routine repeat these verses to yourself. Write them down and put them on your mirror and in your car. Meditate on them and after 30 days see what begins to happen.
Victory Starts Here!