Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. [Isaiah 43:1]
We named our house on a hill, Haven Hill. We’ve gotten some questions about why we chose to give our home a name. Simply put, Bruce and I chose to name our home because it reiterates its meaning and purpose whenever we refer to it out loud. Home is a good name to start with, but what kind of home? What’s the purpose of our home? What are our dreams for our home? We’re reminded of those things whenever we say, “Haven Hill.”
It was my father who taught me the power of a name.
When I was younger, my father gave my siblings and I these cards that had the meaning of our names on them. I still have mine. Throughout the years, he would remind us the meaning of our names. He often did it by calling us by our full names. “Lindsay Lee,” he would say, “The Linden Tree Isle…a peaceful isle.” Or, he would highlight my middle name, Lee, “A peaceful meadow.” Often parents call their children by their full names when their children are in trouble. My father calls us by our full names when he is delighting in us.
However, at the time, I took no pride in my name. First of all, it was spelled differently than every other Lindsey/Lynsey/Lindsy/Lyndsey I knew. To this day, people still ask me, “So, is it pronounced Lind-sAy? Because it’s not spelled Lind-see.” When you’re an adult, it’s not really a big deal to explain your name to people, but when you’re 11, it’s mortifying to be told “your name is spelled wrong.”
Second, I thought the meaning of my name was not cool. My friends had names that meant “princess” and “beloved” and “warrior,” and that seemed way more meaningful than a piece of land.
But my father was always very proud of my name. He would remind me of it’s history (a Scottish surname), he would be remind me of the day when he and my mother decided to name me Lindsay (it’s amazing how parents can remember such vivid details of special moments), and he would remind me of its deeper meaning (not just a place, a place of peace).
As I got older, I began to embrace my name and its meaning. I stopped shrugging off my father’s words about me and started to believe them.
I am a place of peace.
The more I believed it, the more I became it.
As you can imagine, I’ve been called a lot of things over the years by others. Some good things and some bad things. Lots of people have tried to define me with their own names for me.
I don’t know why, but it’s always easier to remember the negative names I’ve been called.
There’s one name I still wrestle with sometimes.
I’ve been told, I’m not for people.
And I’ve been called all its nicknames…
“You’re not really pastoral.”
“You’re not very loving.”
“You’re not friendly.”
“You’re better suited to lead projects than you are to lead people.“
This name used to cut me to the core. Why? Because it violates my real name. It’s not who I am. In fact, it’s the opposite of who I am.
When you’re called a name, you’re handed an invitation that says, “Is this what you’re going to answer to?”
If I’m called “Leslie” over and over again, it doesn’t change my real name. It doesn’t matter if the person calling me “Leslie” wholeheartedly believes that it’s my name, it still isn’t my real name. It doesn’t matter if the person calling me “Leslie” is my boss, my teacher, or my president. No one, no matter their authority over me, has the authority to legally change my name.
When I was born, the only people who had the authority to give me a name were my parents. When I became an adult that authority transferred to me. I can go legally change my name whenever I want. I can be Leslie if I choose to be.
But I don’t want to be Leslie (which is a great name, by the way!). I’m Lindsay. I’m a place of peace. I’m a place people can come to find peace. I’m a refuge. I’m a pillar.
I only answer to my real name. I’m quick to graciously correct people if they call me by a fake name, even if it’s embarrassing to do so. In the long run, it’s even more awkward for me to answer to a fake name because sooner or later that person is going to find out my real name.
I know my real name because I have a father who has called me by it for years, and he made sure I had the legal documentation to prove it is my name whenever I need to (birth certificate, social security card, etc). You also have a Father who calls you by your real name.
Maybe your natural father was a real jerk and he called you a fake name, or he wasn’t even around to call you any name. I’m heartbroken for you if that was your experience, however, I have tremendous hope for you. Because you have a Father God who has called you by your real name for years (much longer than your natural father), and you’re His. [Isaiah 43:1]
It’s time to shrug off all the fake names and start answering to your real one. It doesn’t matter if you’ve answered to a fake name for years, you have the authority to change your name right now.
How do you find out your real name?
- What fake name has cut me to the core?
- What’s the one negative name I keep playing over and over in my head?
- What’s the name that immediately surfaces and strangles my heart when life gets hard or someone is cruel to me?
You’re most likely the opposite of that fake name and its nicknames.
Have you been called unloved? You’re beloved. [Jeremiah 31:3]
Have you been called weak? You’re strong. [Isaiah 40:29]
Have you been called a failure? You’re victorious. [1 John 5:4]
Have you been called a mistake? You’re God’s plan. [Ephesians 1:4]
Have you been called anxious? You’re blessed with peace. [Psalm 29:11]
Have you been called depressed? You’re filled with all joy. [Romans 15:13]
Have you been called sick? You’re healed. [1 Peter 2:24]
Have you been called broken? You’re whole. [Colossians 2:10]
Have you been called a worrier? You’re bold. [2 Corinthians 3:12]
Have you been called limited? You’re unlimited. [Ephesians 3:16]
Have you been called unqualified? You’re qualified. [Colossians 1:12]
Have you been called lacking? You’re lacking nothing. [Psalm 23:1]
Have you been called hopeless? You’re filled with a living hope. [Proverbs 23:18]
Have you been called a loser? You’re more than a conqueror. [Romans 8:37]
Have you been called barren? You’re abundant. [2 Corinthians 9:8]
Have you been called a reject? You’re accepted. [Romans 8:10]
Have you been called a sinner? You’re the righteousness of God. [2 Corinthians 5:21]
It doesn’t matter what you’ve been called. It’s the name you choose to answer to that carries defining power. What you believe is who you’re going to be.
Your Father God’s words are powerful. [Hebrews 4:12]
Jesus is God’s word made flesh, He’s the living expression of what God says. [John 1:14]
Your belief in Jesus puts that power of God’s word into action in your life. [Mark 9:23]
Jesus gave you that authority. [Matthew 16:19]
Don’t waste God’s power and your authority by answering to a fake name or by calling others by fake names.
Decide today what your real name is going to be and shrug off the fake.
I’ve kept this card from my father for over 20 years.