Lately, our youngest little spitfire has been complaining about her name. The following conversation has been on constant repeat over the past couple weeks.
Me: Hey, Vivi…
Vivi: No… Finish my name.
And because she has become so particular about being called “Vivienne” instead of a shortened version, our other precious children just egg her on, calling her “Viv” or “Vivi.”
All. Day. Long.
Sometimes I love my life, and sometimes I just can’t handle it.
Maybe it’s a girl thing, but I think a lot children go through a phase where they really don’t like their names. I remember being in third grade and deciding that I wanted to be called by my middle name, Nicole. Looking back, I realize just how patient and grace-filled my mom was during that time. She didn’t fuss about this radical name change. Instead, she sort of went with it; however, she also happened to mention how much she had prayed for a little girl named Adrienne.
Nice touch, right? So you know what I did? I stopped trying to change my name to Nicole.
The Holy Spirit can reach out into the tender heart of a child and bring conviction about anything. Even a name change.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but scripture is full of characters, real people actually, who were born with one name but given new names once the Lord got ahold of them. Abram became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, Saul became Paul.
I’ve recently been walking through Beth Moore’s new study, The Quest. This week we were in Genesis, studying the story of Jacob. Jacob’s name literally meant “deceiver” or “trickster” and he definitely lived up to that name. He tricked his brother into giving him his birthright and later he lied about his identity so he could steal his brother’s blessing from their father.
But do you know what God did for Jacob? He gave him a new name. The name Israel. Israel means “wrestling with God” and is an indication that Jacob had wrestled out his past and was now clinging to the Lord. God showed Jacob that He would fulfill His promise to make a great nation and He would do it through him.
Have you ever looked up your own name to see its meaning? In our current culture, we don’t usually pick a name based on its definition, but in other cultures, naming a child is a sacred and holy decision.
My name means “dark one.” (I don’t even know how to take that, Mom.)
In naming our own children, we honestly just went with what we liked. We named our oldest Brienne because we wanted something with a French flair to go with our last name. Later we discovered that Brienne means “strong” and “she ascends.”
Peter named our son Jonah because he felt it was indicative of his running away from God’s purposes for so long only to be drawn back into His presence with the possibility of this new child we were given.
We named our youngest daughter Vivienne basically because we wanted something that ended with “-enne” and I thought it was cute. (Yeah. We are contemplative and profound like that.) Vivienne means “full of life.” And she definitely lives up to it!
I want you to think about your name for a second. And this time, I’m not talking about the name on your birth certificate. Think about the names you’ve been called in the past. Or the names you call yourself.
Sometimes, like Jacob, when we’ve been called a name for so long, we begin to live it out.
But now I want you to think about your new name. The name Jesus gave you when you trusted Him.
Daughter of the King
One of my favorite scriptures is Ephesians 2:10. Read it and see what God says about you.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” (NLT)
Now insert your name into this verse.
“For ____________ is God’s masterpiece. He has created _______________ anew in Christ Jesus…”
No matter what name you’ve been known by in your past, today you can be assured that God sees you as His masterpiece. So stop living according to your old name and begin living according to the name Jesus Christ has bestowed upon you.
He calls you Beloved Daughter. Precious Child. Redeemed.
Live in that knowledge today, friend.