I had a conversation with my third grader this morning that may have gone over his head a bit, but I’m hoping it made its way into his heart as well.

He’s been having some issues with a friend, feeling left out, left behind, and “replaced,” to use his own word. My heart, as his mother, was broken at the inevitability of pain in life. What I shared with him this morning was a phrase that my counselor shared with me just a few months ago.

Don’t let anyone else name you. 

We talked about the desire to fit in, to feel like you belong, and to be considered cool. We talked about the pressure we can feel to change ourselves in order to ensure that we belong. I told him that I know it’s hard, but to try to resist that. I told him that God created him to be uniquely him. He gave him desires and interests that set him apart and he shouldn’t squelch those because someone else doesn’t like them. I told him that it’s really hard to do; hence, his 33-year-old mother still learning the same lesson.

I am far too easily swayed by the opinions of others. It makes me a lousy American citizen and a very insecure person. My filter is such that everything gets in and becomes a value statement. Remember the mean boys I told you about? The boy who told me to “move my fat?” This is a pretty accurate picture of the girl he was talking to at the time. Scan 153

This was before my eighth grade Valentine’s dance. See those red marks on my collar-bone? That was from me self-consciously grabbing all my “exposed” flesh. See that odd way I’m holding my arms away from my body? That was because I didn’t want them to be pressed against my side and look fat. I was 14 years old and in pretty amazing shape, thanks to basketball, but I had allowed myself to be named a fat girl.

I still allow myself to be named and labeled. Good or bad, what people say about me pierces my heart and becomes a part of my identity. The things that are affirmed and encouraged become most important- “You’re so funny! You crack me up! You go above and beyond.” Those things aren’t bad, and they might be true, but as my counselor so desperately wants me to grasp, they aren’t the only true things about me. I’m strong, but I’m also weak and needy. I’m dependable, but I also have limitations and I need help. There are other facets of my personality and things that are unique to me that are worthy because Jesus loves me and makes me worthy. He’s the only one who can name me, because he created me and died for me to seal my ultimate worth.

Don’t let anyone else name you. 


2 thoughts on “Fifty-three

  1. Pingback: The Gospel from the Inside Out | CityPres OKC

  2. Pingback: Sixty-six | numbered days

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