“We Are More Than Our Labels,” Ensign, August 2018
We humans love to label ourselves—daughter, artist, student, runner. While labels empower us, boost our sense of identity, and allow us opportunities for growth, there is also a dangerous side to them. When we compare our labels to others’, adopt labels that overpower or conflict with our divine nature, or allow some labels to make us feel inferior, our self-worth and spirituality can shatter into a million pieces.
Well, what if we told you that there is one significant, everlasting, and exceptional label we all share?
Here are some insights from three very different sisters, who are living three very different lives. But we all share the most important label of all.
Sometimes it’s hard not to compare yourself to others, especially within a family. An example that I’ve dealt with my entire life is having people compare me and my two sisters all the time. We are very different. We are in different stages of our lives and have different talents and different personalities. I’ve been married for nearly 15 years, I have four children, I have written and published five novels through the national market and have played the harp for almost 30 years. I have so many goals I want to accomplish. When I get frustrated over not fulfilling as many as I’d like, I remember Heavenly Father’s love for me, even if I don’t ever reach them all. While I do think our different talents help shape who we are, if you stripped all of that away—all of the talents and labels, none of that matters. It all comes down to one thing—our identity as children of God. As long as I’m doing the best I can, Heavenly Father will be with me. That truth helps me on my journey and brings me true comfort, regardless of the labels the world throws at me or even the ones I give myself.
I am a stay-at-home mom. I have three boys and a husband who are my entire life. I am their biggest supporter. They embody who I am. I don’t have a career outside my family. My older sister is a stay-at-home mother to four kids, but she is an amazing author as well. My baby sister is the only college graduate in the family, she is working at the place of her dreams, and she is still single. We are all different. We may have different labels, but those labels don’t make us worth more or less than one another. Despite our differences, we are all children of God, and He loves us all. In the end, that is truly all that matters. My labels may be different from my sisters’, but when you strip those away, we are all the same. We have the same eternal potential.
I have sought out a lot of labels. I am a college graduate, a writer, and an advocate for making cheesecake its own food group. But I also have labels I am not so fond of. I’m single, I struggle with my health, and a lot of the time, I feel inadequate. I allow some of my so-called “weak” labels to have more power over me than they should. And sometimes, even the labels I’m proud of can start to overshadow my true identity. But when I truly think about who I am and remember that I am a daughter of God, it changes everything. The one label that truly gives life meaning is our divine identity. I don’t know everything my future holds or what labels I may or may not have in this life, but I’m comforted by being able to say, “I am a child of God” and knowing that it means more than anything else. And I don’t have to earn that label or His love—it was given to me freely. I know that if I strive to live my life according to His will, and if I always remember who I truly am, He will bless me (see D&C 82:10). When all my other labels connect to the one that truly matters, I can find true joy, strength, and greatness within all of them.