Friday, January 12, 2007

A New Name

An out-of-town restaurant we frequent has a walk-up order counter and then patrons wait at their tables while their food is prepared. The clerk asks for a name to place on the meal receipt. For fun one day and on a whim, I falsely identified myself. I don’t remember what new name I gave the clerk, but the antics made my husband smile.

As long as I was giving a name, he didn’t care what name I gave, because he’s not fond of having his first name “yelled” out in a restaurant. Since then, when we order at that restaurant, I try on a new name, sort of like a stage name. The only trouble—when our order takes too long, I tend to forget my current name.

Sometimes I give my middle name “Lee.” On other visits, I’ve been Nadine, Elizabeth, Charlene, and one time I was Lucy. When we walked away from the counter, I whispered to David, now you can say, “I love Lucy.”

The fun may get me into trouble if the IRS ever checks our out-of-town restaurant stubs because my “new” names are on the tickets. Maybe I’ll save this article as substantial proof of my many identities.

Many adults would like to shed nicknames or names they’ve earned, but Thomas C. Haliburton said, “Nicknames stick to people, and the most ridiculous are the most adhesive.”

Renaming is not a novel idea. God renamed people. Usually when he did gift a new name that person was at a crossroad in their life, one where they traveled in a better direction. Jacob’s name meant “deceiver,” but after many heart rending lessons about deception, God renamed him “Israel” which means “ruling with God” (Genesis 32:28). The fresh name suited his new track and was much more desirable than a name suggesting fraud.

Occasionally, God let parents know before a child’s birth that the baby was chosen for a special work. Samson, future judge of the Israelites, was such a child, and his Danite mother chose a name that meant “distinguished, strong” (Judges 13:24). Jesus means “savior,” and long before his birth and naming ceremony, a herald angel announced his name to Mary and then to Joseph.

Here’s something to contemplate: If God named you instead of your parents, what might it be? Or if God renamed you based on your current path, what might your new name be? God is good at naming. The Psalmist said He named trillions of stars (Psalm 147:4), and I like to think he has a special defining name for each of us, one that fits perfectly.
You may contact Cathy at

No comments:

Post a Comment