Labels don’t Define who you are

Label Quote

Last night I saw an inspirational story of four men who rode quad bikes across outback Australia. That alone is a feat in its self. But what was more amazing was not one of these men could walk. Each of them had sustained a spinal injury as a result of a motorbike or car accident many years earlier as teenagers or young adults. So, each of them were either a paraplegic or quadriplegic.

Each of the men shared their story of that moment that changed their life forever. They shared how they each responded to receiving the news of the injuries they had sustained. How they responded to being told they would never walk again.

And that got me thinking. Each of these men was given a life altering label, one that would change their entire life. It was now in their hands on how they responded… would they just bury their heads and let it control their life or would they see it as a just a change in course, a change in the way they did things, as new challenges to overcome.

Over the past few years I have heard many stories about people who have let labels determine their life. They were given labels about their personality, about what they would achieve (or not achieve) in life, about disabilities or medical conditions. They then let their life revolve around this label. They let the label define who they are and what they would achieve.

I have also had many parents of children I have worked with whilst treating as an occupational therapist who desperately did not want their child to be labelled in anyway. They do this out of fear that once the label was attached it would define who their child would become or what they would achieve. That it will direct their path in life.

But as these men demonstrated that is not true. A label does not have to define who you will become. It is purely there as a way to help them become the best person they could. In their case the label identified some possible hurdles they may face as they travel life’s journey. But they certainly didn’t let it stop them. Travelling 5000km on the back of quad bikes through outback Australia whilst not being able to walk is certainly not something they could have done if they have let they label define who they would become.

So if you or your child has been labelled in anyway, especially if it was negative, make a decision today to no let it define who you or they will become. Instead use it as an instruction card on how you can become a better person.

Remember. Label can always be removed or covered. So labels can always change.

When your world is turned upside down!

What do you do when your life is suddenly turned completely upside down? Do you run and hide, stress out about everything, panic about how you are going to manage, worry about all things unknown then race about trying to have everything perfectly organised so you feel in control? Or do you sit back, take one step at a time, gradually work out all the details in a relax manner and more of all enjoy the journey ahead.

Twelve months ago when we discovered we were suddenly moving to Sydney I was certainly the former. After the initial tears and shock, I began to stress about the move. Where were we going to live? Where would we go to church? Where was I going to work? Would we get the girls into daycare and where? What about school for the following year? What about Miss Rapunzel's therapy? How on earth would we (well at least me) manage to live in the city? I was a mess. Even after rushing about getting everything organised I was a mess inside. I really don't like change especially when I was not control.

One thing this year has taught me though is not matter how well you plan things out, have everything organised, it doesn't mean that it will actually work out that smoothly. I thought I had everything organised before we moved – work, daycare, school, therapy. But on arrival everything fell apart. Nothing worked out how I had planned. You could only imagine how stressed out that made me. The journey this year took me on, us on, was very different to what I had planned twelve months ago.

This year was also the year our family decided to journey back to the simple things in life. As the year went on and I focused more on our family I discovered that it didn't matter how organised I had things or tried to control things it doesn't mean that it will happen that way. I certainly wasn't going to waste so much time and energy stressing about everything…. that was time and energy I could put into my family. Instead I would do my part to be disciplined and organised, making the necessary arrangements, and then enjoy the journey ahead. I had learnt to put my trust in God once again, how we wants us to.

Well, last weekend our world got completely turned upside down again. All of a sudden we have another move on our hands. But unlike last year this time we only have about 3 maybe 4 weeks to prepare for it. And do you know what? I am not stressed out at all. I have made the decision to sit back and enjoy the journey before us. I have learnt to trust that God has it all in control. He has the path laid out for us and all we have to do is trust and obey Him.

Is everything perfectly worked out yet? Well no, there is still so much that needs to be organised but the essentials are getting there – work for my darling husband (that is why we are moving), school for Miss Rapunzel who is due to start next year. We still need a place to live, but that is a work in progress and I know will happen. And then there is Rapunzel's therapy – but her therapists in Sydney are putting things together that will help carry us for a few months so we have time to sort it out.

But one thing for certain is I am so much more relaxed about this move. I have certainly taken the later approach to this unexpected change we are about to encounter. I plan to do everything possible to make sure that our family enjoys this journey ahead. Life is so precious you don't want to waste time and energy stressing about what might happen or how you want things to happen. Instead you want to enjoy the journey and look out for all the unexpected pleasures that might arise along to way.

So sit back, trust God and enjoy the journey you have ahead!