Tag Archives: identity

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: 21 Things That Don’t Define You

Shared from here.

Eddie Becker sheds light on where our identity lies…in Christ alone.

——————–

Examining the many identities we take on and the only one that truly matters.

m I loved? Am I respected? Am I important?

These are questions that saunter quietly through our mind each morning as we look in the mirror. Questions that focus in on our identity: who we say we are, who we think we are and who the world perceives us to be.

You are identified by:

Your occupation. This is one of the biggest ways we identify ourselves to other people. When we meet someone, the first question we ask is “what do you do?” Be it teacher, lawyer or ditch digger, where we spend at least 40 hours of our week is a big factor in our identity.

When we meet someone, the first question we ask is “what do you do?”

Your family relationship. Are you a mom or dad? Son or daughter? Brother or sister? Many times our identity is tied directly to our family. For example, no matter what she does, Lisa Marie will always be Elvis’ daughter.

Your friends. Do you have a group of friends you’ve been with for years? Or maybe you wish you had just one friend to be close to and confide in. We’re known by those we hang out with and spend our free time with.

Your vices. These are the things we try our hardest to hide from those around us and the outside world. Ironically, these are often the things that consume us the most. Alcohol, gambling, porn, junk food, etc.

Your politics. Few things divide us in the workplace, in social circles and, sadly, in church like political affiliation. Good thing Jesus and the disciples didn’t have a (R) or (D) beside their names in the New Testament anywhere.

Your view on social issues. Like politics, these can also sharply divide us. Contrasting views on issues like abortion, poverty, affirmative action and gay rights can drive deep wedges between people, yet we use them as sole identifiers too many times, not seeing people for anything other than their stance on an issue.

Your race. This is one identifier we cannot change. Yet still keeps our love and concern for our fellow man only (pun intended) skin deep. If you are Black, White, Latino, Asian or a different race, you are that way from birth until death.

Your marital status. Are you married or single? Divorced? Widowed? We are identified by our decision to spend our lives with someone or not. And our identity as married people is linked to our spouse.

Your age. Young or old, this identifier is another one we cannot change. Strangely enough, too many teenage girls dress like they’re 25, and many 50-year-old women use various methods to look 32. Your age is an identifier as to your world experience, fair or not.

Your religion. Protestant? Catholic? Buddhist? Muslim? Jewish? Our religion identifies us in terms of who we will serve and worship. Certainly, the labels of various religions stoke the fires of prejudice and hatred too many times.

Your hobbies and interests. You identify yourself with these because you enjoy doing them. Did you spend the weekend on your photography? Or did you run some insane marathon where someone was throwing paint or mud or some combo of the two on you at the finish line?

Your ability/disability. Another unchangeable trait, our ability to do certain things is important and valuable to the world around us. The disabled around us, however, are too often treated as second-class citizens, identified solely for what they cannot do.

Your geographical location. Are you a Yankee or Southerner? Perhaps from a different country, speaking a different language? We get identified by the area we live or were raised in.

Your intellect and education. Do you have more degrees than a thermometer? Or did you struggle in school, dropping out early on? This means of identification often shows society how useful we are.

Your gender. Male or female, often we are labeled by various stereotypes as to what our gender is supposed to say and do.

Your sexuality. Your sexual preference, sexual “accomplishments” or sexual “failures” can play a large role in how others perceive you and how you perceive yourself.

Your physical appearance. Do you look like a real life Ken or Barbie doll? Do others envy you? Or are you plain, kind of chubby with a bit of acne on your face, feeling rejected by others?

Your health. Are you more fit than the crazy guy from Insanity? Or do you fit in with many Americans, obese and tipping the scales of diabetes? Or perhaps there’s a health issue you can’t control, that, unfortunately, others can’t seem to look past?

Your emotions. This identifier seems to force us to wear masks. We may be happy in our interactions with people, but deep down we’re wrapped up in deep anger, depression and regret.

Your potential. Like the five-star stud recruit out of high school committing to play ball at a big university, we all have a certain amount of potential. You have the tools and the smarts. Can you put it all together? Potential is scary, because if untapped it can lead to severe regret.

Your economic status. Does any identifier prove our success today more than money? Do you have a six-figure income with a house three times the size you need? Or are you struggling to even have a place to live at all?

These are 21 major categories we use to define ourselves and that others use to tell us our worth. But, last but not least, the only identifier that really matters: Your identity in Christ.

“In Christ” gives us the opportunity … to see people for who they truly are.

We read in Ephesians chapter 1 that Christ “chose us in Him before the creation of the world” (1:4) and that we were “included in Christ when you heard the message of truth … when you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal” (1:13). Once we have believed in Christ, our old labels from the world fall meaningless.

Our identity starts initially not in Christ, but being “dead in our sins” (Ephesians 2:1). We were all “by nature deserving of wrath” (2:3). Yet through God’s grace, we have been made alive with Christ. “Now in Christ Jesus you have been brought near … ” (2:13). “In Christ” grants us freedom, freedom from chains of being identified for anything less than being a child of God. “In Christ” gives us the opportunity to understand the identity of those around us, to see beyond the skin colors and the dollar signs, to see people for who they truly are. “In Christ” means all can come, leaving behind their sins, and join together to be identified once and for all as children of God.