“Ah, I know exactly what kind of girl you are.”
What an presumptuous thing to say.
How dare you.
I want to lean over the table and grab the collar of his shirt, and shout fierce and indignant: you do not know me. You have no right to say such things. You can’t “know” someone after an hour spent in a McDonald’s booth, talking over fries & baked apple pies.
You don’t know the stories that make me who I am, you don’t know how I’ve hurt & struggled. you don’t know where I’ve been, the people I hold dear to me or the memories that shape each crevice of my heart.
And if you think you can wrap me around your finger like that- think you know all about me- without caring enough to get to know who I am, well then, you certainly aren’t what I’m looking for.
People are not like math, and they certainly aren’t like chemistry.
They cannot be pegged to a formula, calculated with variable and numbers. They cannot be bonded by molecules or expected to react according to a fundamental theory. Combining brown hair + blue eyes + athletic + kind + firstborn + male, will not create the same reaction each time.
We, humans, just ain’t that simple & predictable.
And for anyone who thinks we are: did you know the human brain is known as the most sophisticated thing in the universe? Our hearts pumps 2,000 gallons of blood per day, we are made up of 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (7 octillion) atoms, and our skin has self-healing capabilities.
We must stop putting people into boxes.
It is not possible to compress hearts bursting out of chests, personalities too big for a single adjective, souls mysterious & unique, all into neatly shaped squares. We get labels slapped on us like paint thrown on a wall. You will be yellow, no changing that. You are an athlete. You are a writer. You are funny. You are a leader. But wait. What if I want to be an amalgamation of yellow, blue & green? The world says, no, just stay in your box where all is safe and simple.
And then there is the most tender label of them all, the one loaded with judgement & opinions & assumptions:
I’m a Christian.
Oh, your one of those. One of those narrow mind people, who’s only goal is to get me saved.
We have centuries of brokenness that add scars to our history. Of people who have been burned by the church. Of people who have been deeply scarred by those who claim faith. Of people who sleep around Friday night and sing praises to Jesus Sunday morning. We are imperfect people, trying to make sense of a messy world.
It is a hard label to wear.. We get judgements and opinions stapled to our sleeves before we have a chance to show them that this faith we have is real, and so rich in grace, and we are out here to live wildly for Him.
I say enough is enough. Can we make a unanimous decision to throw away labels and squares forever?
Enough of trying to be like some made up idea of cool or beautiful or interesting. Enough confining ourselves to boxes. Enough stuffing other people in boxes. Who are you? You are you. You are (insert name here) __________________. 100% you. a picture of a thousand dreams and stories to tell. No specific colour because we humans are a portrait of modern art. Canvases of every colour splashed and painted on, lines and circles and dots creating marvellous patterns of you. Living wildly and widely and loudly in our own skin.
If we are striving to be the most adorable or the most funny or the most intelligent or the most friendly, we are always going to fall short. We will always endlessly be pointing at people, thinking or saying, I’m not as funny as them. Or I’m not as beautiful as them. Or I’m not as smart as them. In trying to be enough, we will forever find that we are not enough.
I’ll echo Hilary’s words:
hearts are too beautiful to spend on a word like enough, on a measurement, on a tangled illusion.
Instead of being enough, go be you. Chase what you love without fear of what a single person on this earth thinks, because our frail, humanly judgements mean squat when we consider what life is really about. Live free of expectation & labels. Be bold in the wondrous soul God has given you.