Names Are Difficult

Written by: Kelsey Dougherty

One of the hardest things my husband and I have ever done is name our children.  We even struggled to name our dog when we brought her home; she was nameless for a few days until we could determine the name that best suited her.  Giving something a name is an enormous responsibility.   When naming our daughters, we thought about how the names sounded, what they meant, what they would convey about our children, and we pondered on them for a long time.  Names identify us throughout our entire lives.  
We don’t just answer to names; we also like to have a label.  We want to classify ourselves and each other based on attributes, roles, and jobs.  When meeting new people, we often introduce ourselves and follow it up by asking about “What do you do?”  Generally, people will give a description of their line of work detailing what they do professionally.   In interviews, people are often asked, “How would you describe yourself?”    Most people will use descriptors such as hardworking, motivated, detail-oriented, driven, focused, and the list goes on.  Many people may find it easy to describe their work or their attributes for the purpose related to work, but when asked to dig deeper into who we are as people, it is more challenging.  
If you are like me, you’ve sat in small groups or around gathering tables with people who challenge you to grow your walk in faith.  In these settings, if we are truly questioned about our inner thoughts on who we are, it can often be much harder to answer.   Up close, we all know our flaws and shortcomings; we feel the tensions between who we are and who we want to be.  It is harder to recognize, at times, the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our own lives.  
In The Chosen, Mary of Magdala, as a young girl, was taught the prayer of Adonai.  She learns to depend on these words when she is afraid as a little girl.  
“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.’”

In the show, it portrays her fighting through dark times, and when she is in between attacks from the devil, she quotes and remembers these words.  In her darkest days, she is able to call out that she is His.  The show depicts her walking through dark times alone.  Yet, Jesus finds her.  He calls her by name.  He uses the exact words from the Torah she learned as a little girl.   By him calling her name, she is redeemed and changed forever.    
We quickly assume the labels we are given.  We believe that we are defined by a profession or attributes so much that we often forget who the Bible says we are.  
God says:  
You are strong.  Philippians 4:13
You are his child.   Galatians 3:26
You are a conqueror.   Romans 8:37
You are loved.   John 3:16
You are chosen. Ephesians 1:4
You are redeemed. Isaiah 43:1
These words are all found throughout scripture.   In a world where we love to wear our labels and tag descriptions of who we are supposed to be, rehearse these names about yourself.  YOU are so loved.

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