Getting Past Your Past
Week 1: Lose the Labels
In 4th grade, I was told, “Nobody likes you.” What was a passing statement from a mean 4th grade girl impacted the next twenty years of my life. To this day I struggle with the label, “Unlikable.” I saw an ad one time that said, “Labels are for products, not people.” I thought that was a great statement! Too many times, we let the labels of our past actions or the labels of how others have defined us control our lives. But here’s the thing: the labels only stick if we let them. God gives us a different option, to trust in the name He gives us rather than the labels others have given us or that we have given ourselves.
ICEBREAKER: What was one of your least favorite nicknames you were called growing up? Why did you dislike your nickname?
What negative labels follow your name? How have these labels influenced the way you see yourself?
How have you let the labels of your past limit God’s plan for your future?
Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 and Revelation 3:12. How should having a God-centered view of yourself change the way you see yourself?
Sometimes it’s easier to believe God has forgiven others and given them a new name than it is to believe He has forgiven me and given me a new name. Do you find it hard to believe God has fully and completely forgiven your past and given you a brand new future? That He doesn’t just love you, but he likes you, enjoys you and delights in you?
Read Matthew 16:17-18. This story of Jesus changing Simon’s name to Peter shows how our new name also gives us a new purpose. What is your new purpose that God has given you?
Talk about the story of Rahab. What stood out to you about her story? In what ways have you seen your strengths grow out of your weaknesses? How has your old label been changed into a new name?
Write down the negative labels that continue to define you and influence the way you see yourself. Next to each label, write the new name that God has given you to replace that label. For example, if your label is “addict,” write “overcomer” next to it. Place your list somewhere you’ll see it often to remind you that you no longer will let labels define you, but instead be defined by your life in Christ.
CHANGING YOUR MIND
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17