Daily Archives: August 21, 2013

what’s in a name

You know what song is pouring through my mind as I write this?

Hello, My Name Is… by Matthew West – click here

It’s a popular one on most major CCM radio stations in the Twin Cities and I’ve heard it twice already today.

The verses start out with “Hello, my name is regret…defeat…” You know those words. I do. With every fiber of my being. They’re familiar. And we think they’re comfortable. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

What you name something is immeasurably important. Kate Middleton, for instance, no longer goes by Kate. She goes by Catherine. See the difference? Kate is more of your modern, day-to-day name. It’s a name of normalcy. It’s fun. But Catherine… now that’s a dignified name and more appropriate to her role as a royal.

What is your name? What names do you go by to those who love you? What do they mean?

Without going into too much detail (this is the internet after all), the name I was given at birth means grace.

My middle name means God is gracious.

I like that, personally. But do I really live it out? Have I truly embraced that part of me?

How about the names of some important biblical characters?

Sarah means princess.
David means beloved, friend.
Daniel means God is my judge.
Elizabeth means My God is bountiful.
Peter means Rock.

Let me take this one step further (along with the assistance of Stasi Eldredge) and ask you the following:

What names do you call yourself? What do you say to yourself when you pass a mirror? What do you tell yourself about your post-weight-loss body or your post-delivery body or your premenopausal tummy or your memory that so often seems to be slipping away? What words do you use?

Or what have others called you? What have you believed yourself to be true because of those words?

Growing up, I didn’t fit in. I still don’t, but I’ve grown to be okay with that. I’ve accepted it. But, not fitting in when you’re a child leads to territory I wish no one would have to claim or endure. I don’t remember many of the names or statements that were carelessly tossed around, but terms like stupid, idiot, ugly, short, and inadequate still stand out to me. Perhaps you had a similar childhood or home life while growing up. Maybe you still do.

There is power in what we name ourselves and in what we believe ourselves to be. There is power in what others name us as well. Both the power to bless and the power to curse come from the heart and flows out of the mouth through words. What we call something, what we are called, whether good or evil, will play itself out in our lives.

What you call yourself, someone or something is powerful. It affects your life, your relationships, and your walk with God. Stasi would also say that what you call yourself “affects your ability to become who you are meant to be” (pg. 217 of Becoming Myself).

God knows this. And He calls you Beloved.

I love that term. It has a deep, personal meaning to me, so much so that I now wear it permanently on the inside of my left wrist. It’s a constant reminder of Whose I am and it rings loud and clear on some of my darkest days, when I need it most.

Beloved

What does that mean?

It means one greatly loved.

Dear to the heart

It means admired, adored, cherished, and darling.

Beloved means dear, dear one, dearest, esteemed, favorite, honey.

It means ladylove, light of love, loved one, lover, precious, prized, respected and revered.

Beloved means you.

It means who you are to Him.

And who you are to Him means everything.

Everything

This is where your true identity lies. It’s also where mine lies…often as I seem to forget it.

God calls you to believe this. Time and time again.

He endlessly pursues you and won’t stop until you are completely His. It’s a transformation process; it starts on the inside and eventually illuminates everything you are and eventually, those around will see it and won’t be able to help wanting that too. I’m on my way there. So are you. He simply calls you to believe it.

The fruit of knowing this, of truly believing that you are His beloved, is intimacy with him and is shown through humility in your life.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” – C.S. Lewis

Wise words. We cannot live our lives thinking highly of ourselves (being puffed up – that’s pride) or thinking less of our selves (also pride…God opinion does not lie here). This thinking is dangerous. You cannot live well, you cannot love well, and you cannot fulfill your destiny if you do not know who you are. You cannot become your true self if you do not know who you are to become.

So…

Who are you?

You might be like me in the fact that I just got so irritated with my last caller’s request that I rushed through getting her connected with the right department rather than taking a moment to let her feel that she is loved and cared for. I’ll be right back…

Okay, I’m back…needed to clear the air between Jesus and me for a second before I continue.

Who are you?

Going back to the song that’s been pouring through my head as I pen this: The chorus continues with this truth: “my name is child of the one true King. I’ve been saved. I’ve been changed. I’ve been set free. Amazing Grace is the song I sing..”

That couldn’t be closer to the truth.

God sees me as lovely, but lovely thoughts have not been filling my mind just now. Actually, they haven’t been for days and I need to give those thoughts to Jesus and let him take care of them. There are days when I really need help… When you and I believe that our truest identity lies in being a sinner. What we call ourselves and when we put equal weight on what others say, we believe those lies. It affects how we live, move and and have our being (which shoul only be in Him). We walk around ashamed, accused, condemned and unworthy of being called His. We are separated from God and this is exactly what the Enemy wants us to believe and how he would prefer we live.

I’d like to hit this one home with Staci’s help: “When the focus of our heart is solely on our failings, then our heart spirals down. God tells us not to focus on our failings but on his faithfulness. He calls us to gaze not on our brokenness but on our Healer.”

We tend to move toward what we focus on.

Keep your eyes on Him and learn to believe the truth of your identity. You are His.

Wholly

Completely

Entirely

His Beloved

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12.2

Sources: “Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream of You” by Staci Eldredge…found here

Shared Post: 11 Questions Every Twentysomething Should Ask by Paul Angone

I’m a twentysomething and upon reading this article, written by Paul Angone and shared at RelevantMagazine.com (here), I couldn’t help but share this with my readers. I do not want to stand at the end of my 20s thinking I didn’t do something for God’s Kingdom, rather than it all being for my own.

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11 Questions Every Twentysomething Should Ask : Questions to help move on from “what now?”

Your twenties can be a rough time. You graduate college. You get a job—not necessarily the one you always dreamed of. You may move to a new city and start trying to establish yourself. But a lot of the time, you’re just not sure where you’re headed—or even where you want to be going.

Often, the question of “what now?” plagues us in our twenties like chickenpox. The more we scratch, the worse it itches. The overwhelming vagueness of “what am I doing with my life?” can crush us like the bully who sat on our head in third grade.

Our twenties can feel like being smothered in questions, but if we don’t ask the right questions, we will forever remain stuck.

After years of struggle, studying, searching and being un-glamorously squashed over and over again, here are 11 questions I believe every twentysomething needs to ask to be successful:

Our twenties can feel like being smothered in questions, but if we don’t ask the right questions, then we’ll forever remain stuck.

1. Do the people I’m surrounded by bring me life?

Are your friends taking steps forward or are they still playing beer pong in the basement? Do you leave from hanging out with friends feeling anxious or alive? Are your friends anvils tied around your ankles or jetpacks helping you fly?

Your life will resemble the lives of your closest friends—does that fact excite you or freak you out?

2. Who inspires me the most?

Think about the one person you most want to emulate. Who is it? Now what is it about their story or character that draws you to them? Write down the words that come to mind. The person you want to be like the most tells you a lot about who you hope to become.

3. What are my favorite stories?

What are your top three movies? Is there a common thread that runs through each story?

If you want to see what matters most to you, look at the stories that resonate the closest. For me, the common thread in my favorite movies is the underdog who perseveres through pain, thrives from their authentic self and succeeds at something sane people would never attempt.

Your core values are lying on the surface of your favorite stories.

4. Would I want to live with me?

Before you start thinking about living with someone else, do you even want to live with yourself? Have you opened up your closet doors and faced your monsters?Too many people go into relationships hoping that they will fix all their problems, when relationships actually have the magical ability to show you how many problems you really have. Like a third-rate magician, marriage puts big things behind a curtain, but does nothing to make them disappear.

If you don’t like living with yourself, is it fair to ask someone else to live with you?

5. Do I love from my insecurities or do I love from my strengths?

Loving from your insecurities demands from others. Loving from your strengths gives to them. Loving out of your insecurities means you don’t want to see people succeed more than yourself. Loving from your strengths means you are the first to celebrate with others when you hear of their successes. Loving from insecurities daily demands “what are you going to do for me?” Loving from strengths asks others, “what can I do for you?” Too many people love from their insecurities, and that’s not love.

6. Where am I ripe with talent and where do I quickly deflate?

We all have talent. And we all have loads of non-talent we keep trying to transform into talent. Write down a few things you’re talented at and a few things you’re not. Then focus on the things you’re good at. Stop trying to chip away at that solid cement block when you have a soft block of cheese just waiting to be devoured.

7. What are my favorite hobbies/things I do for fun, and are they something I can leverage into a career or product?

I recently heard John Saddington speak, a serial entrepreneur who’s probably best known for creating Standard Theme for WordPress, and he urged the crowd to examine our hobbies.

There is something you have spent more time doing than most people in the world. How can you leverage that experience into something that could make you money? For Saddington, he loved online computer games, so he started an online dating service for gamers. He knew the gaming world and he knew websites, so he put those two together and had an overnight success.

For me, it’s telling stories. So I started writing them down.

8. What’s the main thing holding me back?

Is it an addiction? Anxiety attacks? Depression? An obsession with pinning pictures of rock-hard abs on Pinterest while drinking? What is the main thing that is keeping you from moving forward and who can help you cut the chain?

What are you willing to give up and what are you going to cling tight to?

9. What are my negotiables and non-negotiables?

What are you willing to give up and what are you going to cling tightly to? Are you willing to move anywhere, but you’ll never take a job that expects more than 40 hours a week? Is job flexibility a non-negotiable, or is it job-stability? Write a list of non-negotiables and negotiables, and then do your best to stick to that list.

10. What breaks my heart?

What injustice makes you angrier than a parrot being poked with a stick? And what’s something you can do about it right now? Knowing what breaks your heart can clarify what makes you feel whole.

11. At 29 years and 364 days, if I have accomplished just one thing, what do I want it to be?

If you only had the choice to accomplish just one thing in your twenties, what would it be? How do you take one step toward that today? Our twenties can feel like trying to walk with shoes covered in fast-dry cement, so how do we keep moving forward? Is it a phone call to ask for an informational interview? Is it asking a crush out on a date? Is it making an appointment with a counselor? What’s one small thing you can do today so that you can go even further tomorrow?

Shared Post: Is Swearing a Big Deal? by Eric Tippin

Great question. I grew up on a farm and am surrounded by it living in the city. It’s on TV. People don’t seem to care what flies out of their mouths any more.

Matthew 12:34 reads “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart…”

His Word speaks truth and I can’t help but question and pray for the hearts of so many. I can’t help but even question my own heart at times. I know I’m being transformed from the inside out, but how can I seek to speak the way God calls me to while I’m being transformed?

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Is Swearing a Big Deal? :: How should we feel about the growing acceptance of profanity?

Answer: J. Clemente’s first two words as a weekend news anchor were a certain word that begins with ‘f’ and a certain word that begins with ‘s.” It was an accidental, verbal response to his fumbling over his first report.

Those words also got him fired.

We all know words matter. Clemente isn’t the first to lose his job over careless words. In public and on-air we censor ourselves, bleeping or blacking out unsavory words, substituting less controversial expletives.

As Christians, we are told that words, specifically spoken words, “Have the power of life and death.”

As Christians, we are told that words, specifically spoken words, “Have the power of life and death.” Yet, there is a feeling among some Christians that those bleeped words and even flippant references to the Deity shouldn’t be sweated.

After all, a spoken word is merely air vibrating a couple flaps of skin and running an obstacle course in the mouth. It seems silly to categorize certain words—mere fluctuating symbols given meaning by society’s whims—as sinful.

Further, profanity is said to be the speech of a culture—the language of certain identity groups. It seems insensitive to call it sinful. But the fact remains that the Christian Bible treats profanity extensively and seriously as sin.

That said, it is important to understand what is meant by profanity before we go around calling it wrong and stomping on cultural and linguistic toes. Profane speech, in its Biblical context, is any unholy talk. To be holy is to be set apart, completely pure and different—like God. “Obscene,” “corrupt,” “crooked,” “filthy,” “foolish,” “irreverent” words—to borrow a few adjectives from scripture—are considered unholy and are to be left unspoken by those who follow Christ.

Just like it would feel improper to use a Van Gogh as a dartboard or a kazoo for a Debussy sonata, the mouth of a Christian is to be set apart for God-honoring speech.

It should be understood that language and its usage do change with time and culture. For instance, the word “damn” has grown in its potency since the morally conscious Dickens centered a humorous character of Nicholas Nickleby around its usage and C.S. Lewis chose a variation of it as the third-to-last word in his children’s book, The Magician’s Nephew.

Words can be more or less profane depending on the country in which they are used or even the city. But these are exceptions and are becoming rarities. The digital dissemination of mainstream culture across the English-speaking world has begun to standardize obscene language, and it is not difficult for the Christian to discover what words and phrases are currently considered obscene.

There is the argument that profanity is a vital part of certain cultures and identity groups. But it is important to differentiate between cultural variations within Biblical morals and cultures that promote immoral practices. Just because something is a part of a culture does not make it right in the sight of God.

For the Christian, pluralism must have limits. If a people group were to declare wife-beating vital to its citizens’ identity, God’s word on a husband’s gentle, sacrificial love for his wife would not quietly step aside.

On the other hand, we must make allowance for cultural changes. Certain words and phrases a Bible Belt Baptist may consider offensive may be used daily in good conscience by someone near Mack Avenue, Detroit without sin being involved. To borrow and change a popular phrase, “It’s partially relative.”

Where socially fabricated “cuss words” are involved, it is more about the heart of the speaker than the word spoken; though, in the spirit of Romans 14, the speaker should defer to the conscience of anyone in hearing distance who might take offense at your language. Cussing to assert your freedom to cuss in front of those who think it wrong is bad manners and morally reprehensible.

Is profanity a problem that should be addressed in others’ lives or is it just personal? Above, I compared profanity to wife beating. That was slightly unfair. Profanity is not on the same plane as wife beating. There is nothing relative about the immorality of beating your wife. And while profanity is sinful no matter the culture, it can be tricky (though doable) to address its use in those around you.

Christians can fall into one of two errors regarding profanity: overemphasizing it at the expense of more pressing issues or underemphasizing it to the point of encouraging sin.

Christians can fall into one of two errors regarding profanity: overemphasizing it at the expense of more pressing issues or underemphasizing it to the point of encouraging sin. I think becoming more holy and spirit-filled will include becoming less profane, but a Christian should proceed with gentleness, balance and caution when confronting the sin in others.

Of course, profanity is more than “cuss words.” It includes “crude joking” and “irreverent babble,3” for they fall into the unholy category. Just because something is so funny it makes you laugh out loud and roll on the floor laughing (weird to see those written out?), that pleasure does not justify an off-color joke.

Again, it’s partially relative, and it is not the task of this article to define the line you can’t cross. Seek to please God with your whole heart (and mouth), and you may find that line begins to be less interesting to you. The same holds true in the use of God’s name.

As you seek and are filled with goodness—one of those delicious fruit of the spirit—you will learn to know when it is flippant to say His name and when it is reverent.