This post was inspired by the community book read students and I participated in this past quarter. The book is Dr. Brene Brown’s Gifts of Imperfection. For this blog entry, Peer Coach, Megan Lowell read and responded to Brown’s Guidepost #9: Cultivating Meaningful Work; Letting Go of Self- Doubt and “Supposed To”
Guest Blogger – Megan Lowell, BHS Senior Academic Peer Coach
All my life, I have been interested in names. When I was young and learning Bible stories, the story of Adam naming the animals enthralled me. What special meanings did the names have? What did it mean about the animal if it received a particular name? Back then, I thought only of the positive aspects that names bore. My name means “great;” I was a very proud six-year-old the day I found that out. I believed that if it was in the name given to me, it must be true.
As time passed, names began to hold other connotations. As a middle schooler, I was insecure about the fact that I was a head taller than everyone else, had bright red hair, and was loud. I desired the names that others could give me: Pretty, Worthy, Important, and Good. This need was problematic. I was relying on others to define me and determine my value. When they saw me as something other than what I wanted to be seen as, it destroyed my confidence. I imagined that people only saw me as I saw myself through my insecurities
Soon, I began to criticize my name. “Megan,” without the ‘n,’ is “Mega.” To me, Mega represented the parts of me that I was uncomfortable with. Mega did not fit the mold; she was awkward. I was absolutely convinced that being Mega– tall, with bright colored hair and a loud voice– was the epitome of unattractiveness and unworthiness.
Several times, my appraisal of myself as Mega was validated by others. I was made fun of in middle school for being tall, for my red hair, and for being loud and opinionated. The ghost of Mega followed me into high school; one boy told me I don’t have a boyfriend because I’m too “mouthy,” another said that I’m cute except for my red hair. I have been rejected countless times in a myriad of ways for the parts of myself that I was constantly insecure about– the parts I deemed Mega.
During my sophomore year, the Holy Spirit began tugging at my heart. The beautiful thing about Jesus is that he knows the people he’s created. He made Megan– big, red-haired, loud Mega– and he wanted to love me exactly as I was. I didn’t need to have a perfect identity, didn’t need to be Pretty, Worthy, Important, or Good for him to love me. He didn’t even want me to pretend that I was those things. He knows that I am completely imperfect, but he has completely immersed me in his love.
Now, I am about to graduate high school. My fascination with names holds true, but in a different context than in my elementary and middle school years. When I’m given a name– Ugly, Unworthy, Unimportant, or Bad– it doesn’t shatter me. I might be Ugly to someone. To them, that’s what I am, and no amount of arguing with them or upset-ed-ness with myself will change that name. My true name, though, is Megan. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and there is a holy, holy God that created me. Within my name, within me, is Mega. Qualities that cannot be subdued, the things that are noisy and obnoxious, are a part of who I am. I was made with a purpose and with love. I will no longer condemn elements of who I am because they do not fit in a mold. My identity is in Jesus. If he can accept me, with sins, flaws, and weaknesses, than I can accept myself.