Cookie Cutter Culture 

  
Everywhere you look today whether it’s on TV or whether it’s in a magazine or whether it’s on a movie screen or whether it’s in the lyrics we listen to, we are told and shown what we are supposed to look like, what we are supposed to act like, and what we are supposed to aspire to. There is a mold that we are inadvertently told we are supposed to fit into. And if you don’t fit this mold it is assumed there is something wrong with you.

Recently Sports Illustrated released three different versions of covers for their famous swimsuit edition in an effort to try to break free of this mold the world has told us to fit into. If this mold never existed then the publishers of Sports Illustrated wouldn’t feel the need to make some changes to the iconic issue of their magazine. But for years they have called attention to this cookie cutter culture we live in. 

1 Samuel 17 tells the well known story of David vs Goliah. For the purpose of this post, I want to draw our attention to verses 38-40. Here is what it says:

“Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.”

Right before David faced Goliath, Saul offered David his armor to fight with. Saul tried to force David into the mold everyone was supposed to fit into when they were going into battle. At that time the norm was for men to wear armor when they were entering a fight. But David was different. He knew that he didn’t fit the mold. He knew that in order to have succes he needed to be himself. He knew not to listen to what others were saying he should be but to listen to what God called him to be.

Why would you try to fit in when you’re called to stand out? You are unique. You are one of a kind. You don’t fit a mold. God broke the mold when He created you. So stop listening to the cookie cutter culture and start being the person you were created, called, and crafted to be.

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Labels

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As Americans we like to label everything. We put labels on our food that tells us what it is, how healthy it is, when it expires, and how much of it we should eat. We label our clothes so that we know what brand it is, who made it, what size it is, and what it’s made out of. We label our vehicles. We label our houses. We label our toys. You name it we put a label on it.

There is one other thing we tend to put labels on. You can’t find it on a supermarket shelve. You can’t find it in a retail store. You can’t even find it on the internet. This thing I’m talking about is something we seem to label the most. It’s ourselves.

We tend to label ourselves based on what other people say about us. We put labels on ourselves based on past history or things we have done. We place labels on ourselves based on the job we have or the people that are in our social circles.

What’s worse than placing labels on ourselves is that we also have the tendency to put labels on others. We label others based on what they have done. We label others because of what they wear or what they say or who they hang out with. We place labels on others based solely on what they make look like.

The thing I realized about labels that has changed my perspective on how I view myself and how I view others is that the only person who has the right to place a label on something is the person who created or made the thing they’re labeling. For example Nike is the only one who has the right to label their clothes and shoes because they made them. No one else can label them any different. I’m sure there are people who may call them something else or try to put labels on them, but it doesn’t matter because at the end of the day it is still going to be what Nike has labeled it to be.

This is so reassuring to me because I know that I have been created in the image of God. I know that I am a child of the King. I know that I belong to Him. I know that He loves me and wants the best for me. So He is the only one who has the right to label me.

The labels God places on me don’t rely on what I’ve done but are based upon what Jesus has done. They are not based on who I am but on whose I am. They don’t rely on my failing love but on His unfailing love. They don’t rest on how I see myself or on how others see me but they rest solely on how God sees me.

So the next time you find yourself falling into the trap of labeling yourself or allowing others to place labels on you, remind yourself of how God sees you. He says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). He says that you are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37). He says that you are blessed (Deuteronomy 28:3-8). He says that you are His child (Romans 8:16-17). He says that you are justified and redeemed (Romans 3:24). He says that you are no longer condemned (Romans 8:1). He says that you are forgiven (Ephesians 1:7). He says that you are blameless (Ephesians 1:4). He says that you are free (John 8:36).

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