Do you ever feel nameless?
In Cambodia I called everyone by a family name, like sister or auntie or grandfather. It is comforting in a way when your neighbor uses the word for daughter when she talks to you. It can also be a bit confusing, and I’m not sure I ever quite got the hang of it. How do I know when to switch to grandmother from older auntie? I’m sure I offended some people by choosing the wrong label.
But I realized after years using and hearing these familial terms that I longed to hear my own name. It matters doesn’t it? It might feel small but there is something powerful about being known in this way.
As we read about in chapter four of Glorious Weakness, we can hear or call ourselves names that are not true. These labels or names can fill our hearts with shame, cause us to shrink back in fear or push us to believe our whole identity is formed solely on this one thing.
Alia (once again) bravely shares her journey of moving from being labeled, by herself and others, to a deeper understanding of who she is in Christ.
So often those names we call ourselves are hidden. We jump on the thought train that takes us to name-calling in the dark moments of overwhelm or guilt. We don’t speak them out loud but let those labels wash over us internally over and over again.
But Jesus knows. Alia said, “Jesus knows the voices we face, and his promise to send a Comforter to be with us forever anticipates that our lives will be filled with grief and sorrow, with desert wanderings and our consuming and ever-present weakness. Why would we need a Comforter unless he knew we would be uncomfortable?”
This thought shifts something in me. Uncovered shame can lead to freedom, and there’s something freeing in the thought that the comfort of the Holy Spirit is available to me when the lies and accusations come. He is there and knows, and he is also the source of Truth.
More than that, He gives us a new name. Chosen. His. Forever Loved. During the 2019 Velvet Ashes Retreat last April, we had the opportunity to spend time with Jesus and let Him give us a new name. It was a sweet time for me as I thought about all the names I usually use for myself, but lining them up against who God says I am. (If you haven’t participated in the Velvet Ashes retreat before, check out this post and the retreat site!)
Alia said, “The antidote for the voices that come for us is our true identity as beloved. The cross tells us the truth. I don’t know of a fiercer love than this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We are not shamed or self-satisfied, we are saved. We return to the slippery-tongued serpent and hear the hissing in the whole world, and even though lies come easier, we tell ourselves a new story. We hear the good news.”
I don’t know a fiercer love than that either. And what a gift it is!
What resonated with your heart in this chapter? What are ways you run after truth when the lies and accusations come?
If you are just stopping by and want to join in with us as we read Glorious Weakness, it’s not too late! Go back and read the first few posts about the Intro and Chapter 1, and Chapters 2 and 3. Then join us next week!
October 29: Chapter 5
November 5: Chapters 6 & 7
November 12: Chapter 8
November 19: Chapter 9
November 26: Chapters 10 & 11