“beyond labels”

This last week I have been called “brave,” “liberal,” “feminist,” and a “coward.”  These were all very interesting responses to my announcing I have applied to attend seminary.  I suppose these labels are to be expected for a woman who treasures her calling and is still trying to work out the framework of Biblical femininity within a community of people who are also trying to figure it out.  Honestly, none of the responses or labels surprised me.

However, my response has taken me by surprise.  I’d like to say that the way in which I am labeled by others does not bother me, but I’d be lying.  I enjoy the affirmation of others.  In the absence of affirmation, I camp out in  fear. 

Reading Franis Chan’s “Forgotten God” this morning has made me consider if I enjoy the affirmation of others more than the affirmation of God.  Do I fear other’s disapproval more than I long for the approval of God?   Chan says, “It means refusing to let your fears of what others think, your fears of rejection, keep you from pursuing the truth about the Holy Spirit and whatever else God is teaching you and calling you to do” (p. 46).

So why would a woman go to seminary?  What is it that God is teaching me and calling me to do? I am positive that God is calling me to be all that I can be in the image of God, for His glory (2 Cor. 3:17-18).  For whatever reason, seminary is a part of my becoming.  

Today I am moving beyond the labels to be affirmed by the Counselor and Great Affirmer.   There is truth in His affirmation.  There is confidence in His leading.  I’m refusing to let the labels or fear convince me otherwise.

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