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What's In a Name?

Updated: Sep 11, 2021

"The tongue has no bones, but is strong enough to break a heart."

Week of Monday September 13th, 2021 - Friday the 17th

People like to poke fun at celebrities who give their kids unique, hipster, modern - or even just plain out there- names like "Apple" or "Stormi". Names are serious business. Couples may take weeks or months considering the perfect baby name. In the Bible there are many people and chapters with significant names. Psalms means hymns or songs of praise. Ezekiel means strengthened by God. Matthew means gift of Yahweh. Hallelujah means praise be to God, and shalom is a Hebrew word meaning peace, harmony, prosperity or completeness (it can also mean hello or goodbye).

I believe that the name you were given is not a coincidence, and can be used as a tool of empowerment, change, strength and faith. My mom's name is Karen, but she's anything from the now infamous, obnoxious "Karens" we see in the media, calling the police on people of color for doing literally the most normal, everyday things. No, Karen can mean pure- and that my mom is. She is selfless, generous, and humble. Alexandra, my name, comes from Alexander and means defender of mankind. I've been a teacher, a volunteer, a writer and an advocate. And though I fail a lot, I try really hard to do the right thing and stand up for people.

I encourage you to look up the meaning of your name, your siblings, your spouse, etc. Do the names fit their personality, passions, worldview or way of life? It would be interesting to see. As a writer, I know that words are a powerful thing. Words can impact history and change the world. But we see that we are a microcosm of the world because, more importantly, our words affect real people who in turn affect the world. The things we say, and how we say them, truly matter. They can be magic used for good or bad, and just like our names, they carry a heavy weight. Do we live up to our names? What if we don't like the meaning of our names? Can we reinvent them? Let our words and our actions go hand in hand. If we want to work for peace, let our words be peaceful. If we want to encourage others, let our words be helpful. If we want to be fearless, let us practice, be confident, and pray. If we want to have self-control, let us bite our tongues, and if we want to have joy, let us give thanks and praise. We didn't choose our names, but we were each chosen for this world, and certainly can choose what it means to be us.

Reflect on these verses this week and be blessed!

Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up

For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Proverbs 15:4

Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.

Proverbs 16:24

Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

Proverbs 18:4

A person's words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.

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