By Cindy Bultema
High school was not kind to me. Although there are a few fun memories – cheering for the freshmen basketball team, attending a zany psychology class, passing drivers training – I’m glad I never have to return to those four agonizing years again. Ever.
Mostly my adolescent days were filled with intense loneliness, rejection, and a bottomless longing for acceptance and love.
I’ll never forget the day I thought I finally was on my way to high school recognition. A fellow classmate shared she saw something written about me in the girls’ bathroom. Really? Me?!
I ran to the south side of the building as quickly as my clog-wearing feet would take me. I couldn’t wait to examine what someone had taken the time to reveal publicly about me!
I pulled open the heavy wooden door and scanned the chipped bathroom stall’s exterior. Then I spotted the six words that would shape my life for the next two decades: “Cindy is a fat red cow.”
And on that dreadful day those six words attached to me like a sticky, descriptive name tag.
As the years went on, I may have appeared happy and self-confident. But beneath the cheery smile and bubbly personality, remained an injured and insecure young woman meticulously attempting to cover up the pain, and striving to protect herself from ever being hurt or teased … again.
I wonder if you can relate? What labels have attached to you over the years?
- Not good enough
- Not wanted
Thankfully that isn’t the end of my story. In 1996, in the midst of a drug and alcohol addiction, I was introduced to Jesus, and surrendered my life to Him. As I began to study the Bible, I quickly discovered who God says I am:
- Accepted (Romans 15:7)
- Beautiful (Ephesians 1:3)
- Chosen (1 Peter 2:9)
- Dearly Loved (1 John 3:1)
- Enough (2 Corinthians 12:9)
- Forgiven (1 John 1:9)
My dear sister, you are too!
In Christ, we have been given new, Truth-filled, life-giving labels to wear. Regardless of where we have been. Regardless of what we have done. And in Christ, not only are the old labels erased, they have been replaced with power-filled words of Truth. Only God can do that!
What label are you wearing today? Did you put on “loved,” “significant,” “courageous” – or are your old labels trying to impact your new days?
May we say “no more” to lying labels, and sassy self-talk. Instead, may God infuse us with a fresh, red-hot faith to “put on” Truth each day. His Words are always a perfect fit!
With nearly 20 years of ministry experience, Cindy Bultema is a popular women’s speaker, author, and Bible teacher. But don’t let her cheerful smile fool you-Cindy has endured single parenting, overcome bondage to addiction, and survived tragic loss. Cindy’s Bible study, Red Hot Faith: Lessons from a Lukewarm Church, was released in July 2014. Cindy lives in Michigan with her husband and their four kids. Visit Cindy at www.cindybultema.com.