Deane's Blog

God's love

Need a new name?

FaithDeane Watters3 Comments

One Friday afternoon I stepped into a roomful of women who were new to me!  They had asked me to be their speaker for the weekend and I sincerely wanted to learn their names so we could feel more relaxed together. I consciously made an effort to remember them. It went something like this: “Hi, Rhonda, (I had a friend in high school named Rhonda.) nice to meet you."

"Jane, hello! (My middle name is Jane.) Happy to meet you."

"Rachel, greetings! (Our daughter-in-law’s name is Rachel.) How are you?"

And on it went. I felt like I got to know them sooner because I could connect with them using their names, a very important part of them.

In our society we place importance on names but not necessarily the meaning of those names. When I met Donna, (I know a Donna who goes to my church.)  I knew nothing about what her name meant so it did not add more information to what I was already collecting from her.

But God, in the Bible, was always naming or renaming people, and the names always meant more than met the eye.

Like Jacob. When he met God in the wilderness, God asked him, ”What is your name?"

When he answered, Jacob was really saying that his name was trickster, heel grabber. That meaning added more to his listener’s understanding of his character.

God responded with, "OK, but no longer. You are not going to be tagged with such an awful name for the rest of history. I rename you, Israel, which means, one who clings firmly to God, or who strives with God." (paraphrase)(Genesis 32:22-32)

Or like Ruth’s mother-in-law. She said, “Don’t call me Naomi. (which means pleasantness) Call me Mara, because the Almighty as made my life very bitter.” (Ruth 1:20)

If someone was to ask you "What name do you call yourself?" What might you say?

I recently read through a list from women who answered that question. I imagine they wrote the label they most often find lingering, hanging out in their heads at the end of a long day.

weary

failure

prideful, lazy, undisciplined

broken, weak, doubting, bitter, not enough

self absorbed

timid, weak

tired, lazy

despair, hopeless, lost

fearful/controlling

unreachable

unfaithful

impulsive

selfish

critical

damaged

unsuccessful in relationships

wishy-washy

alone

bitter

gossiper

 

Maybe you resonate with one or more of these. I know I do. They seem so familiar.

Ten years ago I would have answered that question with: My name is Little Miss Am-I-OK?

My unsureness, shyness and need for affirmation kept me captive to always performing and looking for approval. Little Miss Am-I-OK? is a tough taskmaster because she requires that someone validate her. I will not forget the day I realized that the one she was really needing a firm answer from was me, myself. Such a wonder. God already gave me his approval at my conception and on the cross. I only needed mine. She needed a new name from me and the One who created and loved her.

And Little Miss Am-I-OK? got her name changed to beloved daughter. She now knows who she is.

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How can we go about finding a name that is true to who we really are rather than the one the deceiver whispers in our ear?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Be patient! Name changes often happen slowly because they grow out of a healed heart, and that.takes.time.
  • Pray. Ask God to give you your true name. Sit silently and wait for it. He has one just for you.
  • When thinking through the names you call yourself, recall what has happened in your life to make you come to this conclusion. Perhaps you could write out these thoughts to discover what feels true to you about these names and search the Bible to see what God has to say.
  • Then go after it. Go about letting God direct you to discover a new name. I did some powerful classes at House of Hope that helped me in this search. (The Ultimate Journey and Changes that Heal) I entered into some counseling to untangle the mysteries of why I felt the way I did about myself. I read tons of books and took a few personality/strength finder tests. I wrote endlessly to learn & listen to myself and talked to those close to me. I took some risks and tried out new names. I have come alongside many women who have done the same thing. They search, do the work, and find something new and fresh with freedom from the old heavy classification that kept them stuck.

Of course, God and his love for us as individuals is a huge part of this search. Jeremiah 31:3 tells us, The LORD appeared to us in the past saying, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness."

Zephaniah 3:17 says, "The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

Ephesians 3:17 - 18, "I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ..."

I can give up the mean-girl-name-calling in face of such deep and knowing love.

 

 

What name do you find batting around in your head? What name would you prefer? Do you have some ideas that will help you believe it is truly who you are?

 

Let me know and I will pray for you and ask God to lead you to His favorite name picked out just for you.

the invitations

House of HopeDeane Watters2 Comments

2015-03-12_0028A little pink envelope waited on the kitchen table.Nervously I tore into it. "You are invited to my birthday party!" Surprised and delighted I ran to tell mom that this time I was asked to join in the fun!

Last time another girl in our class asked all the girls to her party. Everyone was invited, except me. Awkwardly I watched as they giggled their excitement and made plans for Saturday's fun.

But on this day, just a few weeks later, all of us found an envelope ready to be opened when we got home from school.

I was asked to the party but another invitation was waiting for me as well. It held an offer which I readily accepted and embraced, unaware of the future impact of my consent.

On party day my mom drove me into town, across the river and to a neighborhood of humble houses, clean, painted and well kept with nice-enough cars in the driveways. Stepping out of our car I felt shy, not knowing what to expect.

Looking back, I wonder if the soft carpeting and indoor plumbing held as much fascination as the party itself because my memory skips the actual celebration. It starts up again as the car load of girls and the birthday girl's mom turn from the gravel road onto our long winding lane, leading to the rented farmhouse my family and I called home.

As the car slowly made its way closer to the house, our little group suddenly became quiet. Looking up, my heart nearly stopped. Oh. No. I hadn't even considered this part of being included. The house, unpainted, dirty and stark in comparison to the one we just left, made me wish I could become invisible. The grayness of the boards blended with the darkening colorless sky. All I could see was the muddy yard and broken front porch door. With flushed face, I could hardly breathe.

What must they be thinking?

I could hardly stand it. What must they be thinking?

I wish I had never been invited.

That's when the second invitation arrived. Swift and direct as a well-aimed arrow, it found my heart and slipped right in. Confirming what I feared to be true, the message was clear: not as good. Not as good. Not as good. Lesser-than. Not as good. Not good enough.

Agreeing, I took it willingly, folded it into the fabric of my being, and stepped out of the car. After politely thanking the birthday girl’s mom with a shining little cover-up smile, I turned away, trudging slowly toward the dilapidated house.

Today that second invitation gets a second look. At the time, it felt so accurate. The filter of shame distorted who I thought I was. ‘Not good enough’ and ‘what must they be thinking’, felt so spot-on. But now I examine another view of that house, my family and me.

I have taken a steady, honest, determined look at my life in my growing up years. I’ve come to learn of Father God's deep love for me that has nothing to do with being poor or rich, included or left out. Every person has worth unconnected to what their house looks like or the family they came from. Now I recognize that devastating messages often slip in with painful experiences.

Now I know. I really don't have to accept those kinds of invitations any more. Healthy boundaries now allow me to say, “No thank you. Return to sender.”

I am loved. I am known. I am free from the burden of shame.

Thank you, thank you, Father God.