What's In A Name?
The coolest thing happened last night. Kate was reading Luke to me.She just turned 13 a hot minute ago, and we’ve been reading the gospels together. We were at one of my favorite parts of Luke. Mary comes to visit Elizabeth and the baby in Elizabeth’s womb jumps when he recognizes the Messiah in Mary’s womb. We had some fun imagining them growing up as cousins, Jesus and John that is. We started talking about how John was sent to make a way for Jesus, even before he knew that it was Jesus he would be making a way for. Kate knows that I love name meanings and their biblical significance (It’s one of my things, like believing bubble baths can fix almost anything or always drinking tea on our screened in porch when it rains), so we looked up what John’s name meant: God is gracious. God was graciously calling His people back to himself through John. She was suddenly curious to know what my name means. It struck her funny that we had never talked about it before.
I’ve always known the meaning of my name, I had one of those bookmarks I was given as a child. You know the ones in every bookstore, it was pink with flowers and said that my name meant “laurel crowned” or “beauty crowned”. When I think back on my earlier years, that was a large piece of my identity. For a lot of my life, I let beauty define me. I let those words speak over me and tell me who I was. They became entwined in all my thoughts and actions. I was always chasing beauty. This caused a lot of heartache and endless tension because that isn’t who I am. It always causes tension when we lose who we are to what we think defines us.
Before I could answer her question, Kate googled the meaning of my name and read to me that in Greek my name literally means “victorious” or “victory of wisdom”. It is derived from the crown of laurel that was presented to victors in the coliseum. It was like God whispered my real name to my heart, and tonight I still haven’t gotten over it.
All these thoughts keep crashing in my head about how God knows our real names, and what we are becoming, what He is recreating and speaking into us. I keep getting a little teary. That old name meaning spoke so much over my youth, but this new name – “victorious” or “victory of wisdom” – is speaking to my heart right now. In Christ I am the victor; I win. When I look back at my life, there are so many things that God has brought me victoriously through. He has always known my name. I want to spend the rest of my days walking in this new identity and believing it. I want to hear only what Jesus says and let that define my every day.
God has named me victorious, and no matter what your name means, if you are in Christ, He has spoken victory over you as well. In Revelation Chapter 2 it says: “to the one who is victorious I will give a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.” When we make it to heaven, standing in Jesus victory, God will give us a new name, or more specifically He will reveal our true name to us. It will be between us and Him, His special selection for what He has worked in us.
“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared;
but we know that when he appears we shall be like him,
because we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2
He knows what we are becoming. He is speaking over us, and His word is working and recreating us into who we are meant to be, and one day when we arrive where we are meant to be, when we put our feet down in our eternal home, we will walk in that new name.