Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What's in a name?

Have you ever researched the meaning of your name?

When you dig into the Word, you find that names often had a purpose. Even in the Old Testament, names were given with reason. I mean, Jacob and Esau's names were based solely on how they presented at birth - "holder of the heel" and "hairy" respectively (Genesis 25:19-34).

(Can I just take a moment to thank my parents for not naming my twin sister and me based on how we looked at birth? I can't imagine what those names would be.)

But let's think about Jesus. Jesus was named for the will of God and ultimate purpose of His life: to save the world (Matthew 1:21).

Jesus fulfilled, and continues to fulfill, the purpose for which He was named. I want to do the same. I want to live by the definition of the word that was assigned to my life.

When I researched my name, I found that it could hold any of the following meanings: defender of mankind, joy, courage, full of risk, going on a voyage, or happy angel. I'd be pretty content with any of those life missions, really, but my favorite definition is this one: offering with both hands.

Offering with both hands...that hits me. What would my life look like if I lived it as a constant offering, giving of everything that I have? That's a challenge for me - a big one - but whoever said that our life purposes were supposed to be easy to fulfill? I think the best ones are the ones that capture our hearts but challenge us to do really hard things for the betterment of the Lord's kingdom.

So, what would it look like to live out my life purpose? It would look like two hands covered in the dirt of the ground and the dirt of messy lives. It would look like two hands strengthened by carrying the burdens of my brothers and sisters. It would look like two hands handing out love and grace like the free gifts that they are. And it would look like two hands reaching up to meet the hands of God in praise, awe, and surrender.

It would be a picture that could encapsulate every one of the remaining definitions my name might carry. It would be a picture of selflessness. Those hands would be taking the hands of others to lead them to Christ, embracing everyday people in a message of safety and warmth, and holding broken hearts while working diligently to patch up wounds. And there would be cuts and scrapes, resulting in lasting scars...each one labeling a valuable, life-shaping memory.

It would be hard.

But doesn't that sound like an offering worth making? Doesn't that sound like a life truly worth living? One that would be blessed by the Heavenly Father?

It's a challenge I'm willing to accept.

What about you?

Now, I get it. Not all names have deep, profound meanings that motivate you to change the world or change your life. And not all people have names that really coincide with who they were designed to be. However, I challenge you to reflect upon your own name and the meaning behind it. Is that meaning a real part of you? Might it help you define a purpose? And if it doesn't, then what name would? What word or phrase do you want to truly define your life? What words would you want people to read and think, "Yup, that's him" or "This is how she lived in a nutshell"? What message is God really placing on your heart in this time of your life on earth?

Find it. Define it. And pursue it...with everything God has given you.

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