Wednesday, February 26, 2020

What's in a Name?

I started a personal assessment based on Will Mancini's Younique: Designing the Life that God Dreamed for You. While I am still in the early stages, one of the exercises has me thinking.

Does it Mean Anything?
The exercise consists of looking for a hint about God's purpose for you from the meaning of your name. Names are important, and the thinking goes that maybe God directed the steps of our naming even if our parents might not have put much thought into it.

My name is David Brewer Cecil. David means "beloved". Brewer means "one who brews". Cecil means "blind". Wow! I am the beloved blind brewer! I need to start hanging out at the craft breweries and figure out how to do it blindfolded!

Or, maybe I am blind to how to brew, so the truth is I am doomed to failure in brewing!

While the full application still needs some work, I wonder if there might be some truth to this for my first name. Brewer and Cecil are surnames, passed down by heredity, but David is my Christian name, given only to me (my siblings absolutely refuse to bequeath it to my nieces and nephews!). The funny thing, though, is I wasn't born a David. I was born a Matthew.

God's Mercy?
Well, that is to say, my parents had picked Matthew for me before I was born. As the story goes, however, my mom was cradling me in her arms and looked up at my dad and said, "He isn't a Matthew." "No? Who is he, then?" my dad asked. "He's a David." I've been David ever since. I wonder if God put that notion into her mind. Did He change her mind because He knew I would need this name, this meaning, some day?

In the last Harry Potter book, Ron is given a deluminator, which, among other things, gives him the ability to return to Harry and Hermione. He didn't understand why it was given to him originally, but later suggests that Dumbledore left it for Ron because "...he knew that somehow I'd need it to find my way back."

I wonder if it isn't something like that with my name, like maybe I'm David because God knew I would struggle with being loved.

Am I Really Beloved?
I've always struggled with feeling loved. I don't think I knew it at the time, but looking back I can see this aspect of me. I know my parents love me, and I know my wife loves me, but this is really head knowledge - like when someone can say they believe in Jesus (mentally) but do they really believe in Him (with their heart)? So, while I know in my mind they love me, I struggle to know it in my heart.

This extends to God as well. I have only recently put this to words, maybe in the last couple of years, but I can look back and see it in my feelings and attitude all my life. I firmly believe God heals, that He works in people's lives, that He cares for them and does not forget them. Yes! I believe God will do that for them! Them. Do I believe He will for me? Me? Not so much.

I see the same thing in how I relate to others. I generally don't feel that people like or love me, but they do like my kids. Maybe they won't help me, but they will help my kids. Maybe I'm not deserving of love, but my kids are, and so maybe...

Once, while trying to convey how I felt about an issue, I substituted my kids in my place and essentially said What if it was happening to them? Would you understand what I am saying then? That was the first time I really understood that I processed things this way. While not overt, what I was saying underneath was, "The only way for you to consider my side is if I substitute my kids for me."

I was once told that the Central American focus on Mary is partially rooted in the importance of motherhood in that culture. The way I heard it was you pray to Mary because, while Jesus may not listen to you, He'll listen to His mother. While I disagree with that view, I sort of get it. You may not love me, but you love my kids...

I Hope
So, I have largely felt unloved and I do feel unloved, but I have been working on it lately, and not just because of this name thing. Instead, I have been trying to take it on faith that I am loved. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. - Hebrews 11:1 I have been trying to live this out, to live with conviction that God does love me, even if I do not actually see it.

And maybe that is what this name does for me. Maybe I was named David so that I would constantly be reminded that I am loved. I want to believe it, to live it out with conviction, but it is something not seen, I am blind to it. Maybe Cecil is a true name for me after all. Maybe I need to ask Jesus to heal me so that I can see again, like Bartimaeus; to see like I did when I was a child. Maybe I should stop brewing over these things...

Are there things you know to be true from Scripture, but that you struggle to really believe? What things do you hope for that you want to live out with conviction and assurance that they will happen?