Friday, September 23, 2011

what's in a name?

There's something to a name.  Do you know what I mean?  You are your name.  It doesn't define you, does.  It is you.  And there's sometime to be said for the actual use of it, I think.  When you want to know someone, you start by knowing their name.  And there's a special something--subconscious, perhaps--when someone doesn't just talk to you generally, but they use your name.

Yours.  It belongs to you.  Or maybe, you belong to it.

Think about it.  There are people I know who rarely say my name.  Not that it bothers me at's just something I've been musing over.  How much better is it when someone not only says, "Hi," but "Hi Jenn"?  It adds a meaning, a depth, a recognized individuality.  A level of something that shows that the person speaking your name cares.

It maybe...almost...shows that that person wants to know you.  Starting with that most basic and key of things--your name.  Starting by reaching out in that personal way.  Starting by acknowledging that they've begun to know who you are.

Your closest friends come up with their own names for you.  You don't give your name to people you want to avoid.  There's something truly special and meaningful about the name that is attached to your person and personality.

I believe in using people's names.  If you know it and if you know them, speak it.  After all, why not?

Think of when God says our names.  He called Moses by name, from the burning bush, and great things took place.  He called Samuel by name, at night, and got his attention.  And us, even us, he calls by name and saves.

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  Isaiah 43:1

God's word tells us over and over and over again to call on God's name.  It has power.  And when he gives us his name, we have that power in his name.

Revelation reiterates countless times how our names will be made new--we will be recreated--no longer identifying with our mortal sinful selves, but with a God who is eternal and perfect.  And the ones who get a new name?  The ones who are given God's name?  How are they described?

Victorious.  Triumphant, joyful, purposefully winning, in Jesus.  The victorious are rewarded for their perseverance and faith.  For following even when hope looks lost and far away.

what if I told you we were so far away?
what if I told you--would you go with me anyway?
what if I told you we were so far, so far away?
we gotta hold onto hope
in this heartless world we gotta hold onto hope

That last book of the Bible spells it out.  And look how important that name feature is: for those victorious--Jesus will never blot out your name from the book of life, but acknowledge it before the Lord.  Wowzers.

To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.  //  The one who is victorious . . . I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God . . and I will also write on them my new name.  //  Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.  //  To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.  //  To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations.  //  The one who is victorious . . . I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.

Beautiful, no?  But one of my very favorite verses is this one:

To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.  Revelation 2:17

A white stone, with a new name, known only by me and Jesus.  That name--I'm telling you--that name has got to be something extraordinary.  And not only is that name wonderful, it is individual.  Jesus gives it just to me.  He has called me by name.  And so I follow.

dear God, I was terribly lost
when the galaxies crossed
and the sun went dark
dear God, you're the only north star
I would follow this far
for he is the saving grace of the galaxies
he is the saving grace of the galaxies

It's just astounding, isn't it?  The fact that Jesus calls me, calls you, personally.  "Jesus did not die for all of us; he died for each of us."  And take a look at this:

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  1 Peter 2:9

God's special possession.  I, Jennifer Noelle, am God's special possession.  Chosen.  It's a crazy beautiful thing, this name-calling.


  1. Praise God for choosing us!! We have a great Savior.


  2. I LOVE this post! So many amazing things to think about...annnnd I've always had a thing for noticing when and how people say my name. ;)

  3. I LOVE this! You have such a way with words my dear. And I agree. Names are so powerful. Love you! <3

  4. I always like it when people use my name--simi. (my full name is simplicity grace.) when I was younger I didn't like my name because no one else had it, but now I can appreciate individuality and originality. I've never heard of anyone else named Simplicity!

  5. Bravada. One couldn't say it much better. Oh, by the way, I was thinking about what my last name means, and it's really not a half bad meaning, considering that that's what we've been called to be for God. *watching you*


Sweet comments are the best thing since sliced bread. Unkind comments are the worst thing since hamsters.

But really. Comments make me happy.