Your Real NameAs a middle schooler, Starbucks was THE place to be. That white cup accessory brought a whole new level of cool to any outfit, and I’d hope might even take people’s eyes off the mesmerizing combination of my braces and rubber bands.
There was a certain pride in seeing your name and personalized order scribbled on that crisp-looking cup. In my case, it was always a gamble, as the baristas would frequently misspell my name, Cassie, on the cup. I had seen it altered in a myriad of creative ways… “Cathy” or “Casey” or “Kasi” or even “Taxi” (yes, true story) to name a few.
Tired of this nonsense, my 8th-grade logic decided it would be best to rebrand myself with a new, different name whenever I would visit Starbucks… something simple, that couldn’t be misspelled on my cool white cup.
As a result, my new pretend identity of “Kelly” was born. Whenever I went to Starbucks, my name was Kelly. At least that’s what I would tell the baristas.
Everyone knows how to spell Kelly. I would never have a misspelling issue again. Problem solved!
However, embarrassment will always find its way into the life of an 8th grader. On this occasion, I went to Starbucks… with my mom.
An order for 2 lattes was placed and my mom rifled through her purse for cash. “Your name?” asked the Barista, her black Sharpie poised on the cup.
Out of habit, my response:
“Oh! I’m Kelly”
I’ll never forget my mom’s face when she whipped around and looked at me. “Your name is what?!” Her jaw dropped with an expression of surprise, confusion, and a hint of amusement.
My face flamed red. Explaining the situation about using a fake name to my mom and a cool Starbucks barista lady was flat out embarrassing.
Thinking of my mom’s face in that moment still makes me laugh. As my mother, she knew my name was certainly not Kelly. She was the one who had given me my name, and no matter how much I tried to tell people I was Kelly, even if they believed me, it didn’t change the truth of who I was. My name was Cassie and it always would be.
I’m learning a lot these days about my new identity as a believer in Christ. I think the hardest part is to actually believe who God says you are, even when you feel so strongly that you don’t fit your new name.
In Scripture, a new name symbolizes a total transformation of identity. God redeemed the Christian-hating Saul and turned him into the powerhouse preacher Apostle Paul. Jesus took his disciple Simon and renamed him Peter, “the Rock” on which He would build His Church. God transformed Jacob, a name meaning Deceiver, and called him Israel, “One who has prevailed with God”.
The only one who has the right to name you is the One who has created you. Because of your faith in Christ, you have been given a new name and a new identity. Beloved. Chosen. Daughter. Son. Righteous. Forgiven. Saved. Anything less than such is a lie.
But what if all my emotions, my thoughts or even other people tell me otherwise-- that I am unworthy, guilty, and shameful? These are lies from the enemy. Don’t give him the privilege of defining you. Why not ask God in prayer what His specific new name for you is, or what word makes Him think of you? You might be surprised at what He says.
You are now a child of the King. You have the Holy Spirit living within you. You are bold and strong and have been given authority in Jesus’ name. You’ve been freed from sin, forgiven and made completely new. When God sees you, He sees the perfection of Christ in you. You are fully known, fully loved and fully righteous in His eyes.
God has already renamed and redefined you. You are who He says you are. Go live like it.
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” Ephesians 1:4-5
“For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” Galatians 3:26
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
“Sons and Daughters” – Iron Bell Music
“I Am Loved” – Mack Brock
“More than Ashes” – Tim Reimherr