Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's In A Name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

"Stories are able to help us to become more whole, to become Named.
And Naming is one of the impulses behind all art;
to give a name to the cosmos we see despite all the chaos."
Madeleine L'Engle, Walking On Water 

What does it mean to be Named?  Have you ever thought about what your Name is?  I don't necessarily mean the one your parents gave you, but the Name that is you?

I've been thinking about it a lot.

God loves names.  He has always set great importance on names, from teaching us how to revere His Name, to the curious way He has of changing a name to reflect His transformation of the person who wears it.  We are told that at the Name of Jesus Christ, one day, every knee will bow to His authority--that's a powerful Name!  God graciously reveals His personality and character through the Names He tells us are His, each one a story, each one a promise.

What Name is written on the real you?
What story does it tell?
What promise does it hold?

Just over a year ago, with this L'Engle quote somewhere in the corner of my mind, I wrote, "I hope to become more real, more named . . . more His."  I wrote it . . . and meant it . . . not even knowing really what that would look like, how to get there, except to keep showing up for the story God was writing in me.

That line has been on continuous echo ever since the day I wrote it.  The more I think about it, those three things I said I wanted, are all really the same thing--
  • More real -- more purely the person God intended when He knit me together in the secret place . . .
  • More named -- more identified with Him today than ever before, and not as much as I will be tomorrow. . .
  • More His -- more surrendered to His Lordship, minute by minute until He comes to take me home.
John the Baptist said it this way, "He must increase and I must decrease."  Contrary to how that sounds to our Western, 21st century sensibilities, it's not that God wants me to disappear.  What He wants is to release the real me from myself into the glory of wearing His Name!  I am not meant to just be Shaunie, but HIS-Shaunie!  Uniquely me, but HIS-me!

Oh that the words and pictures here would call out His Name, framing cosmos in the midst of chaos!  Oh that in Naming thoughts and images, the Name being revealed in me and my work and my art would be "His!"

It is the essence of the rose that tells us its real Name, rose is just what we call it.

How is your work an act of Naming?
What does your Name mean to you? 

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