Friday, April 28, 2017

Name Calling

Drop off/pick up time at my son's preschool is usually pretty uneventful, but one morning offered a small adventure.
I was getting back into my car when I noticed a little white dog running around the parking lot.  A lady was trying unsuccessfully to coax him back into her car so a few of the other preschool parents and I tried to help herd him over to her.
We called to him, whistled, and tried to corral him. He was having none of our directions but heaps of fun. It was a glorious game for the little white dog.
"What's his name?" I asked the self-conscious handler of the naughty dog.
She smiled at me apologetically. 
"Chase" was her amusing answer.
I think about names often. Naming characters, for me, is one of the hardest things about story writing. I work in a library and I'm always looking up names of patrons to process their transactions and it's fun to see how many "Susans" or how few "Scarlets" there are in the Evergreen program.
I think one of the reasons names hold fascination for me is that my name (except, perhaps, for the spelling) is so very ordinary. Just today I came across at least two people with the same name as me.  Having the same name as so many others makes me feel common and uninteresting sometimes. It's silly, I know.
But there is one thing about my name that I love: the meaning. My name means "beloved" and like Chase the mischievous dog, it fits. Not because I'm especially charming or adorable or anything, but because of The One who goes by many, many names. Here are just a few:


I am loved beyond comprehension by Him. 
And so are you.
 He takes away our orphan status and calls us sons. No matter how ordinary, rejected, unworthy or forgotten we feel we are His Beloved. 
Check out this very exciting, mysterious verse from Revelation. This was the passage was the message of a recent sermon at church and I've been thinking of it ever since:

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. 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

Maybe others have given you names. The enemy sure has. Maybe you've given even yourself some. I know how that feels. Hello My Name is...Ugly? Weird? Irrelevant? Ordinary? I've worn all those names and more on my lapel. 
But no one has the authority to tell us who we are except the One who created us. Not even ourselves.
 Our Father is going to give us a new name. Something special that tells us what we really are to him. I don't really understand  all that this verse means and I certainly have no idea what sort of new name Jesus would have for us, but I know one thing: While, like Chase the dog, our name will suit us, our new name will not be one of the  soul-killing, untrue labels we've  worn here on earth. Our name will not be "Ordinary" because we are extraordinarily loved. 

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