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By this time in the pregnancy we usually have a name.
This is our fourth child and we’re having a hard time deciding what to call him. Baby boy? Number 4? Axel?
There’s a lot of names that we have found that sound nice…but none of them have that neon sign flashing over it saying, “Winner.”
I’ve always had a hard time with naming things. Names are so permanent. When I was younger, it was so hard for me to stick to one name for a new pet or stuffed animal. I remember I got a cat in high school and I ended up just calling it Kitty because I couldn’t choose a suitable name for it.
I have this same problem with applying names to myself.
Friend. Woman. Leader. Writer.
It’s one thing to hear someone else call you a name, it’s another to attribute it to yourself.
When I was in 7th grade I befriended the new girl at our small, Christian school. A month later, we were asked by a classmate if we were best friends. I panicked. I didn’t want to be the first one to clarify our relationship. It terrified me to step out and say, “Yes, she’s my best friend.” What if she didn’t feel the same way?
I got married at 20-years-old. I still felt, in many ways, like a child. I recognized my youth and inexperience; I was acutely aware of it! When “women’s” events would be announced at church I felt hesitant about counting myself in. I wasn’t a woman, I was a girl.
A few years into marriage we stepped into our first ministry position. The transition between the old and new leadership left me wondering if we were really the leaders. I felt awkward about telling people we were the college pastors. I hadn’t earned that title and no one had specifically called us that.
Writer…that one’s the scariest for me because it’s the newest. I’ve gotten used to the idea of myself as a friend, woman and leader. Although I still have problems with initiating the name of friend or leader, I now recognize my potential to be seen as that. But a writer? I enjoy writing. I am a blogger (that’s different, to me). I have no training. I have minimal experience. There are so many better than me.
So the question that plagues me is: Who determines our names?
Throughout the Bible there are instances of God changing people’s names: Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Judah to Israel. These are just the big ones. God also has a say in the naming of children before they’re born: Ishmael, John the Baptist, and Jesus, to name a few.
Nowadays there are so many resources for parents in naming their children: websites, books, quizzes, and more. It can get overwhelming! The comfort for me comes in remembering that God knows who this child inside of me is. He has a name for him and it’s up to my husband and I to hear from God regarding who he is.
The same goes with my “names.” When I see that God has strategically placed me in a position to be a friend to someone, it’s easier for me to call myself Friend. When I recognize the unique gifts that God has bestowed on me, the name Woman sits lightly upon my shoulders. If God is the one who has called me to step forth in a ministry, I no longer hesitate at the word Leader. Still the name Writer stumbles out of my mouth…it’s a baby dream, one I’m still growing inside. It’s only through the confidence that God has planted this dream in me that I am able to utter it now.
Hopefully soon He’ll also give us the name of Baby Boy “Axel” #4 so we can begin to get to know him better.
What about you? Do you have any names that God has given you that you have been hesitant to step out in? Or, has someone else given you a name that you have seen God change through His lovingkindness and grace? I’d love to hear about it!