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You Are My Beloved, Part II -- Names that Label Us

Part 2 -- Names that Label Us

Beyond our given names, we have other names. Some of these names come through our status. We may be “Miss” or “Mrs” or “Doctor”. “Daughter”, “Mom”, “Grandma”, “Sister”, “Aunt”, “Wife” are other names that come because of where we are at a certain point in life.

You may also be called by an endearment or a nickname. Maybe your husband or boyfriend calls you “Honey” or “Babe”. Maybe your parents or grandparents have a special nickname for you. My grandpa used to call his grandkids “Little Widgets”. My sister was called “Shadow” by our other grandpa because she followed him everywhere. Often nicknames or endearments are given to us because of characteristics we have. What is your nickname? Why are you called that?

Sometimes we receive a name that labels us. When I was a little girl going off to our mission boarding school where all the missionary kids went, my dad would say, “Try to be brave”. He never gave me “Brave” as a nickname, but in my heart it has become one of my names. I have said so many times to myself, “You have to be brave”, that it has become part of who I am. While bravery is a positive character trait and it has served me well, sometimes the need to always be brave is to my detriment as it prevents me from admitting I need help or that I am going through a hard time. 

Maybe you’ve been called a similar name. The Shy One. The Talkative One. The Helpful One. The name isn’t unkind, but you are more complex than just that name indicates.

Or perhaps the names have even been mean. Kids at school are so unkind to each other and sadly bullying isn’t a new thing. Kids may tell other kids, “You’re so Stupid”, “You’re so Mean”, “Why are your clothes so weird?” “You’re Ugly”, “You’re Fat”, “You’re so Skinny.” 

We may say, “Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me.” But these names do harm us and we do take them to heart and we do begin, at least in our minds and deep in our hearts to call ourselves Brave. Shy. Talkative. Helpful. Stupid. Mean. Weird. Ugly. Fat. Skinny. We believe these names and they become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We become those names because we believe them. 

Maybe life’s circumstances have given you a name. Maybe you see your name as Ruined. Hopeless. Despairing. Regret. Deprived. Bitter. You have gotten into a pit you can’t climb out of, defining yourself by your circumstances. Your circumstance has become your name. 

No matter your age and no matter what you’ve been called or what you believe about yourself, I want you to know that God wants to give you a new name! Isaiah 62:2-4 says 

The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory;you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate.But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah;for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married.
This passage was written to Israel. Throughout the book we see Isaiah pleading with the people to repent from sin and to return to their God. We also see the promise of a Messiah and how those promises apply to all who follow Him. Since Jesus has come, I believe this prophecy has already, at least in part, been fulfilled to us, His Church. He is giving us a new Name!

To be continued.....Part 3 -- Two Women Whose Names Were Changed
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