Sunday, October 28, 2018

When the Label Doesn't Fit~

Have you ever felt
misunderstood,
misjudged,
mistaken for who you are?

A couple of weeks ago,
I ventured into our local library.
Knowing a dear friend
had donated a copy
of my new book, IF ONLY I COULD,
to our local library,
I was excited to type my name
into the electronic catalog database
and see my book
pop up on the screen.

And, sure enough -
the title of my book came up.
Jotting down the number
assigned to my book,
I headed out to find it.

Only -
the section of books
I soon found myself
in the middle of
had nothing to do with
"Christian living",
"grief counseling"
"life beyond the death of a spouse",
or even
"the Christian walk and God's faithfulness."

To my surprise
(and really, surprise is not a
strong enough word here!)
I found myself surrounded
by literature -
poetry to be exact.

And upon closer inspection,
as I narrowed in on the search even more,
I discovered my book
sharing shelf space with
none of than
William Shakespeare!

I almost laughed out loud.

"Oh, sure. Of course,"
I thought to myself.
"This makes perfect sense -
Sanchez, Shakespeare.
Nope. I don't think so."

I spent the next twenty minutes
trying to explain to the reference librarian
why my book
absolutely. did. not.
belong in the literature section
sharing a shelf with "Romeo and Juliet".

"This is poetry.
Plain and simple.
Just look at any page of this book."

"Well, yes, I suppose
at a quick glance
it looks like poetry,
but really,
it's all about the journey of grief.
I don't see how anyone
looking for a book on grief
is going to find my book
if it's not listed in the appropriate section."

But, alas
(not to sound like Shakespeare)
no matter how hard
I tried to explain to her
my book would be better suited
somewhere else,
I was met with the same answer.

"This is poetry."

As I walked out of the library
and made my way to my car,
I shared my frustration with God.

And, as He is always faithful to do,
He spoke a powerful truth to my heart:
It's not the number on the spine of the book,
or the classification of the book,
or even the book itself that matters.
It's the message inside the book that counts.

Labels.
Categories.
Judgment calls.

Like my book
getting a quick one time glance
and labeled "poetry",
you and I are often
"labeled" in much the same way.

And I was reminded again,
how man is so quick to look on the outside
without so much as taking the time
to open the cover of
a human heart,
a human hurt,
a human being,
to discover what is truly inside.

(Forgive me, Lord.)

For the Lord does not see
 as man sees;
for man looks at the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart.
~1 Samuel 16:7

After conviction and confession,
what God spoke next to my heart,
and what I felt His Spirit
wanted to make sure
my spirit didn't miss
was this beautiful truth:

"It's why, sweet girl,
it's so important for you to know
who you truly are -
not who the world
tries to tell you you are.
It's why you need to know
who you are
in Me
and through Me
and because of Me."

More than poetry,
between the front and back cover of my book
is a powerful testimony
to the faithfulness of our God
in a season of grief.

More than who the world says you and I are,
beyond our physical characteristics,
beyond our social status,
beyond our bank statement,
beyond our worldly labels,
we are who God says we are.

And who we are,
is messengers of 
His grace,
His power,
His love,
His hope,
His comfort,
His salvation.

But we have this treasure
in earthen vessels,
that the excellence of the power
may be of God
and not of us.
~1 Corinthians 4:7

It's not the label that counts;
it's the message on the inside that matters most.

No matter
what label life tries to place on us,
no matter
where we might get "placed",
no matter if we feel we belong,
or even if we don't,
our label,
our placement,
our classification
doesn't change the message that is
Christ in you,
Christ in me,
the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)

Don't worry, sweet girl.
No matter what shelf
your book is on,
I will be faithful 
to place it in front
of the very hearts
you and I wrote 
this book for.

Don't worry, 
sweet heart reading this post,
no matter where
you might find yourself,
I will be faithful 
to use you
to carry my message
to a dying world.
Simply,
and faithfully,
shine where you are.

Hmmm?
Sanchez, Shakespeare?

Maybe so.




~Stacy

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for leaving a "heartprint" of your own.