Letting Go of Labels to Lift Others Up

There's something that's been getting under my skin lately. I've been nervous to post this simply because of the reactions it may cause, but the Lord laid it on my heart, so here I am. If you're a social media fan like myself, you've heard it left and right. People glorify it all day long and think it's hilarious to create memes and Buzzfeed articles to find out if this applies to you or not. I was entertained initially, but the more I hear it, the more it bothers me. Not because it offends me personally, but because of the stereotype it creates. I'm talking about the phrase "basic."

Being "basic" is pretty much anything that makes us a normal woman, right? Just a run of the mill, typical woman. Someone who loves fall and wearing leggings and drinks Starbucks. A woman who enjoys boots and scarves and keeps up with the latest on Kate Middleton or Katy Perry. Maybe she listens to Taylor Swift and carries a Louis Vuitton and binges on Netflix. Sure, it was funny at first. We all laughed, but the further people push the envelope and the broader that the umbrella of "basic" becomes, the bigger the stereotype becomes, too. Somehow fitting women into the stereotype of fat or skinny or gay or bulimic, etc wasn't enough; the world had to create a way to make fun of the unoriginal, "basic" girl, often accompanied by the word "bitch."

We live in a world where women struggle to find their place. It's a daily battle of accepting ourselves and all of our flaws in the midst of pressure. We have to decide that we're going to love the imperfections even when all we feel is broken. It's a hard place to be in when we realize that those expectations are completely unrealistic. I'm never going to live up to the standards that the world sets for me, but I'm okay with that. Why? Because I have a God whose mercy and grace covers me and lets me know that my shortcomings aren't only just okay, but they're fully accepted because He created me this way and I am wonderfully made.

We all have voices in our head that tell us we're not good enough...that we're not skinny enough or aren't a good enough wife or mother. Or we'll never get the raise we want; we'll never be accepted by that group of friends. It sounds harsh, but it's the truth in this day, and we can all let our guard down and admit we've felt that way sometimes. 

And that's where my problem comes in. We're all vulnerable and broken and fragile enough as it is. The last thing this world needs is a women who feels less of a person or not good enough over something as silly as this trend, as this phrase people throw around so easily.

I read this definition of "basic" somewhere the other day and it hurt my heart. 
"Neither nothing nor special, but some unnerving thing in between. Existing enough to exist, but somehow enough to disappear. Lacking characteristics that make someone interesting, extraordinary, or worth devoting attention to."  -Urban Dictionary
I don't know about you, but I know that's not the woman I strive to be nor how I want to live my life. I want to live extraordinary and out loud and be a woman that shines for the Lord, regardless of what I like to Instagram or how much I love scarves. God didn't create us to live a life "existing enough to exist," He created us to live a life more abundant, filled with His joy and all the blessings that life brings. 

Even more so than the picture that horrible definition creates, God didn't create us as women to judge each other. It happens enough already, much less with all the "basic" labeling that is going on across social media lately. It's time for us to put down that phrase , let go of the judgment it creates, and start offering up encouragement and love and acceptance. It's time to give grace like it's going out of style and put those broken pieces of the women we love back together, instead of slowly tearing them apart, one "funny" label at a time. 

There are without a doubt worse things we could be called by other people, of course. I'm sure you're thinking it too. This is more than just the "basic" trend. This is about the community we're creating for each other. I want to be known for the words of encouragement I give, not the labels I place. I want to be a part of a community that lifts up and inspires and applauds women who are themselves even down to trivial things like purses and Instagram filters, not women who put up facades to please others around them. I want to be a part of a community that speaks life into each other and offers a place for people to grow and blossom, a place to feel loved and wanted despite what music we listen to.

Today is the day for us to break free of those "basic" labels that we find funny and embrace those things about us. It may seem like no big deal to some, but there are women who take offense to this and I don't want to be a part of it. Who cares if you want to listen to Christmas music in November? Or if you love wearing infinity scarves and aren't afraid to share it with the world? Listen to Taylor Swift and be proud of it, sister. Flaunt your red Starbucks cup. If that's what makes you happy, then by all means, do it and be happy. You do you, friend. This world is too harsh and too negative not to do those things that bring you joy. 

There is one thing that I'm sure of--you can always tell the women who are selfless, are rooted deeply in the Lord, and genuinely love those around them. They're the ones you see breathing life into each other, letting go of labels, and building others up, not tearing them down. And that's the kind of woman I want to be. 

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