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In What’s in a Name? – Pt. 1, I talked about the importance of the names we use with each other. In this segment, I’m shifting to focus on the names God gives us.

A while back, I went through a study on Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers – the story of the prophet Hosea set in the 1850s California Gold Rush. It is quite possibly the most powerful book I have ever read. It also deals a lot with the power of names. Angel, the lead character of the story, goes by many names throughout the book, but she keeps her real name carefully guarded. She shares it with no one, not even her husband.

The incredible part is that in her real name is all the promise of who she really is, who she wants to be, and who she is so afraid she never will be. (I won’t spoil the book for you by telling you her names and how it all turns out – I want you to read it for yourself!)

My God-given Name

It is amazing to me just how like Angel I am sometimes. Confused by the names other people call me, struggling to trust who God says that I am. Several years ago, my best friend and I went through the Captivating materials by John & Stasi Eldredge. It was my first introduction to the concept of God giving us names.

Over and over throughout Scripture God changes the name of someone because the old name no longer fits who they are. He gives them a new identity in Him and announces the change to the world through the new name. Through our study of Captivating, we were challenged to ask God what our new names were. I never would have thought to even ask that before, but I did. And it was insane to hear what it was:

Belle.

I just sat in shock for a minute. Belle? Beauty?? Are you serious, God?  Apparently He was. That name was confirmed for me over and over again through different people in my life without their even knowing I was asking God about it. I realized, too, that my grandfather had called me Laura Belle my entire life. It’s not my actual middle name, just what he always called me. Who knew Grampa Jack was that perceptive about who God had created me to be?! As I grew up, I wanted to be beautiful; I just never thought it could actually be true.

Remembering to Just Be Who God Says I Am

Years later, that name still tugs at something deep in me, reminding me that is who God created me to be. He created me to offer beauty to the world, to those around me. It’s a weighty thing to know my life has a purpose even beyond what I do.

Being beautiful, reflecting God’s beauty to the world, isn’t something I can accomplish by will power, ambition, or sheer determination. I just have to be. And just being has never been an easy thing for me to do.

I know I don’t live up to the name every day, but I want to, and that desire keeps me coming back to God. It keeps me asking Him to fill me up with His Beauty, with something more substantial, more lasting, more life-changing than anything I could ever offer on my own.

I don’t know what all is going on in your world right now, but I’m willing to bet it’s crazy. I’m juggling everyday life with a three-year-old, a job-hunting husband, a new job, chemo treatments… And as I am currently running on day 2 without a shower, I am feeling decidedly less than beautiful.

So, I’m praying for moments in which God can remind me of who He created me to be, and I pray that for you, as well. Take some time to ask God how He sees you, who He created you to be, and what His name for you is. I hope it is everything you never dared to dream it could be!