Recently, Brandon, our college-aged son asked me, “Mom, why did you give me a name that means, ‘a hill covered with broom’?”
Basically, we named our child after a prolific weed. Oops, parent fail.
Funny, but I don’t recall my Christian baby name book informing me about this one! I’m certain the definition in the book was rich with meaning and more profound.
Names are a funny thing, aren’t they? They’re given to us at birth and we have no say in the deal. But in many ways, our name shapes us, defines us and gives us worth.
Growing up, I always wanted to be named, Katie. Anytime we played school or house with the neighborhood kids, I wanted to be called Katie. I thought it was the most awesome name in the world.
But my parents named me Kristan – with an “a”. Nobody could ever spell my name properly. Even worse, I could never find my name on those cool personalized license plates in the souvenir stores. *Sigh*
However, there are other “names” we pick up throughout our life. Some names are healthy and good and some aren’t so good. Some of these names increase our self-worth, shaping us and molding us into becoming better people and some of these names scar us and hurt us deeply. Consider some of them with me…
- Names we give ourselves
- Names other people give us
- Names that come as a result of past choices we made
- Names we’ve come to believe are true about us
- Names we’ve internalized and buried so deep sometimes we’re even unaware of the effect they have on us.
In the Gospel of Luke, we see Jesus interact with a woman who had been given a name by the people in her community.
Please take a moment to read the entire interaction from Luke 7:36-50.
When the Pharisee who was hosting the dinner party saw how Jesus interacted with this woman, he said to himself,
“If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Luke 7:39
While this Pharisee and perhaps the entire community had named this woman “a sinner”, Jesus saw her differently. He saw the woman God created her to be. He saw potential, purpose, and He provided an opportunity for her to experience a fresh start.
It’s so important for us to allow the right Person to name us. If we allow other people or even our past to name us, it will adversely affect everything – our relationships, our job, our self-worth, sometimes even our health.
These false names will steal our confidence, destroy our self-worth, hinder our ability to make decisions and keep us from moving forward in fulfilling the life God created us to live.
As a young mom, the name that continually haunted me was, “I’m not good enough”.
- Not a good enough as a mom,
- Not a good enough as a wife
- Not a good enough as a friend
- Not good enough at my job
- Not a good enough as a pastor’s wife
And the more I allowed not good enough to define me, the more I tried to be good enough– to prove to myself that the name I believed was wrong.
As a result, I wore myself out to try to be enough. The harder I worked, I still felt like I was constantly falling short – not really from the expectations of others, but from expectations I put on myself.
Because of a name I had given myself.
Not good enough affected my confidence and led me to be insecure. It caused me to avoid situations when I felt it was too risky – too vulnerable and I may fail.
I worked like crazy trying to be the person that I thought everyone wanted me to be and I was horrible at it.
How about you?
What name do you have that you’ve yet to break free from?
Perhaps it’s a name someone called you or perhaps you gave it to yourself? Maybe it’s a label someone used to define you? Maybe you’re laboring under the guilt or shame of your past and you can’t seem to break free from it?
Let me encourage you today –
The way God sees you is bigger than your past.
His opinion of you is more valuable than the opinion of others.
My hope is that you will come to see – through God’s Word – a God-centered view of YOU!
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1:12-13
- What name have you given yourself that you need to get rid of?
- How has this false “name” has impacted you and shaped your identity?
- What step can you take this week to embrace your identity as a child of God?