What is your name?
I was meeting with my counselor last week and we had been discussing some issue in my life and I asked her, “Is it normal for people too.” She immediately interrupts and says, “Is it normal for who.” I continue, “Is it normal for people,” she cuts in again and says, “We are meeting today to talk about you and what you need and what the next right decision is for you to do in these situations. A better question is; is it normal for you.”
There is a story in the Bible of someone who is struggling with a person for hours alongside a river. At sunset; the man says to Jacob, “Let me go.” Jacob replies, “I will not let you go until you blessed me.” The man says, “What is your name?”
The question, back at that time, had more significance than simply a label. In the story, much earlier, a person would find Jacob trying to deceive Isaac, his father who is blind, into thinking he was the oldest son Esau. At that time the father would give the oldest son some kind of blessing. Jacob was wearing a disguise to fool his father into believing he was Esau. Isaac thought something with Esau did not seem right. Isaac asks, “What is your name?” and “Who are you?” Jacob answers, “Esau.” When Esau heard of these lies he is infuriated and threatened to kill his brother.
Jacob, then, is on the run. In the ancient near East, your name and more than just a title. Your name meant identity, character, and gave substance. Your name meant the very fiber that made you, you. Your name told how you behave as a person. How much pain comes from not knowing how to answer this question?
Jesus is having a meal with his disciples. He pulled Peter aside and asked him to feed his sheep with God’s word. In other words, Jesus gives Peter this job so he finds meaning in life. He, finally, says follow me. Peter looked around and asks, “What about him pointing to the other disciples?” Jesus replied, “What is it to you, you follow me.” We all have this divine calling or destiny God has given and Jesus invites us to be our true selves. If God is calling us then why do we see so many differences between people?
I feel all the time like Peter. For example, how come I am not like him or her. Some people are smarter, stronger, have more money and that is just how it is. We keep asking the wrong questions. We will never live from our true selves when we compare ourselves to others. How much life do we lose when we compare?
The struggle that Jacob has is the struggle of all of us, “What is your name,” but at a deeper level, “Who are you as a person?” Put your defense mechanisms are down and we bare our souls to God. We all have pasts, mistakes we made, and where we have been in life has shaped us. We have to cherish our history, we do not have to be proud of it, but we must claim it. Only when we can claim our good or bad past events can we ever begin to answer the question, “What is your name?” For the longest time I have always wished I was never a “Francour” or never had these abilities or expectations. I think; what is that to you?
He has his path and she has her path and you have your path. We all have limitations. The ailments are all kinds of things we are not. Jesus may have thought, maybe, this is why calls us love our neighbor as we so love ourselves. How can we love someone when we do not even love ourselves?
Some people may live life from the expectations of others. It is like this script that has already been written and we are the puppets. We see some that give his or her hopes and dreams to another person only to be let down and then losing the person’s identity. We also have others feel guilty for not living to his or her fullest potential. These persons are defined by these mistakes and live with the sense that life will not be any better. If you need a friend, parent, or just someone to help then go get it because there is nothing more important than your name.
The Sun was rising and that man Jacob was brawling with asked Jacob again, “What is your name?” Jacob was broken, tired, and beat down and do you know what Jacob said? He replied, “My name is Jacob.” He is ready to be Jacob. He is ready to face his father and brother. He is ready, most importantly, for the life God has given him. Jacob lets God into his life and finally realizes we have a lot of work to do together. It is written in the Bible that we work out our salvation. What do we need to do to be saved from?
We need to be saved from all those times we have not been our true selves. We missed the voice of Jesus saying, “follow me.” May you find your path or nitch in life that has been made by God for you and only you. May you find your name…
Thank you Rob Bell for putting together these Noomia videos.
What you think of this post? How have you owned your name or how have you put your name to shame? Connect with me…