The concept of Frankenstein has been rolling around in my brain the last few weeks.
It started at work. It seems the goal of my company the last few weeks has been to define me as a monster. To color me as difficult and somewhat impossible. To shape me as an overwhelming and judgmental perfectionist who delights in the errors of others.
And yes, it stings a little. I’m human, and these words hurt. Especially when it seems the accusations are just misconceived perceptions. Because these people don’t realize how much grace they are shown on a daily basis. Because these people haven’t gotten to know me. Because these people assume to know my intentions and intonations without ever asking me.
And as I turn to God to figure it all out, I jokingly tell myself that I should change my name to Frankenstein.
So I think about Frankenstein and remember that this is the creator’s name, not the creature’s. The creature did not have a name – he was created and then given this identity as a monster based on the nature of his creation.
Then I remember this quote by Shakespeare, who asked in Romeo and Juliet “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.”
But names are important. No matter how much we argue about it, your name is important. And the identity associated with that name is important. For society, your name is the start of your identity – and your labels.
It starts with simple labels: daughter (son), sister (brother), granddaughter (grandson), cousin. Then we get a little older, and our world expands to include “more important” labels: girlfriend (boyfriend), fiancee (fiance), wife (husband), mother (father), aunt (uncle), grandmother (grandfather).
But these labels are never good enough for society. Because everyone I meet and interact with is going to try to “define” me. They need to know what box or category to put me in so they can understand me. If I am ____, then they can say ____. If I act like ____, then they can react like ____. If I refuse to ____, then they can judge me as ___. For society, it’s a simple A-B formula.
So as we’re enjoying our life and our simple labels, the world steps in and tries to label us with new and categorical labels with their A-B formula: hard worker, lazy, know it all, slow, easy, troublemaker, quiet, loud, easy going, bossy, imaginative, boring.
It seems these labels are the boxes that define how (easily) society can interact with us. Boxes that describe who we are as people, friends, and employees. Boxes of who society judges us to be.
But we’re humans, and we weren’t designed to live in such rigid boxes. We are complex, multi-emotional creatures that feel things on so many levels. We can’t be rightly described or accurately summarized by two or three adjectives.
So where does that leave us? I keep reminding myself of this simple truth – these people don’t define me. They don’t determine my worth, and they don’t control my joy.
And why? Because they don’t really know me. They haven’t taken the time to know me. They have judged me by their standards based on a few things they have seen or heard or assumed.
And why? Because God is in control of all. He is the loving Father who created me and knows me and cares enough about me to want a better life for me. He is the one who put these people in my path to help shape me, mold me, change me, and grow me.
And God definitely doesn’t fit into any human boxes. He is I AM, an ever-present, all-knowing, unconditionally loving Father who wants the absolute best for us.
And His work definitely cannot be contained by human boxes and labels. Because the box won’t expand to accommodate all the changes God is bringing about.
So you can call me Frankenstein. You can call me perfect. You can call me impossible. I’ll take it all and consider it part of God’s process. Sure, I’ll have a moment or two where I am frustrated and possibly obnoxious. But I will stop and pause before I react. I’ll ask God to show me the truth in each label, for in each description there may exist a kernel of truth that I am not seeing. And I will also ask Him to empower me as He walks with me to grow beyond the label into the fullness of Him.
Because this Frankenstein wants to experience the abundance and fullness of life He has promised. And that doesn’t include terrorizing the villagers. So Lord, please help me to accept the truth of the label in the light of Your unconditional love and grace – and change me as I need to be changed to be more like You. AMEN!
Marie Fremin, 6/9/15 and 6/14/15