Should I be Brown Owl or Fluffy Owl? I need a new name as I become a Brownie leader, and I apparently I get to pick my own…
The thing that keeps rising in my mind is that the Bible gives so much weight to names. They matter, and not so much the names that parents give to their children, but especially the names that God chooses to give to people… names that mark out something of their identity and destiny. And I especially love new names.
Abram- exalted father, became Abraham – father of a multitude.
Sarai – quarrelsome, became Sarah – princess or noblewoman
Simon- God has heard, became Peter – the rock.
I’ve known for a long while how important it is to step away from negative names that other people sometimes ‘give’ me. Even if they’re occasionally true about the way I behave – they’re not my name, and they don’t define who I am or who I’m going to be. Walking free of those names is important. But God isn’t just in the business of taking negative names away, he always wants to replace them with something new and better!
A while ago I started asking God what his names were for me. I’ve waited a while for an answer and then tried to step out and live in the truth of what I’m hearing. Some of those names I share with all of you who follow Jesus : Beloved, Precious, Righteous, Daughter (or Son), Princess (or Prince) and many others. They’re our family names. Our shared identity and destiny.
But I believe that God also has personal names for each of us, and that it’s OK to ask him about them. For example, one of the names he gave me, surprisingly through someone who didn’t really know me at all, is Map. It seems that one of my roles in the kingdom is to be a treasure map. Hunting out treasure and directing other people to where it can be found. Knowing that Map is one of God’s names for me has given me the courage (and sometimes the determination) to keep writing and painting this blog. It’s sometimes been about choosing to live in the truth of that name.
Thinking about and praying about and journaling about this name and others has been really powerful for me. So my question for you to ponder this week is: What new names does God have for you? You can make a list of ‘family’ names and ask him about them, and you can also ask him about personal names. Of course the only way to find out those is to ask him and then to listen!
The other names that are on my mind this week are from Isaiah 6 – The the names of identity and destiny that God the Father gave to his son, hundreds of years before he was born on Earth, but which resonate with so much of what our world is longing for right now. Miraculous wisdom, strength, love and peace. Come Lord Jesus.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given
and the government will be upon his shoulders
and he will be called
PRINCE OF PEACE
and of the increase of his government and peace, there will be no end.