Hello, my name is Anna, and I name everything. Seriously, ev-er-y-thing. There’s Milo, my car. Hester, my laptop. Katniss, my Kindle Fire (that one wasn’t on purpose, but you get bonus points if you can make the connection). My plastic fish even have names (not everyone is gifted with keeping things alive, okay?). And our real pets? They have middle names in addition to their first names.
My sisters call my room The Cave, because I’ll disappear into it for hours while I study, read, write, or take some necessary me time. The other day, I decided their rooms needed names, too. So one is now The Cavern (it has thick curtains that can block out all light), and the other is The Last Frontier (Abby’s not exactly thrilled about that one).
The point is, names are important to me. Sure, it may seem pointless at times, but it’s a way to identify someone (or something). Each name is significant because it shows what we feel is most important about that thing. Maybe there’s a story behind how a name came to be, or maybe the name itself is symbolic. Either way, a name is a definition; a way of defining you.
So what’s your name? I don’t mean the name you were given when you were born, but rather, one word to describe you. One word that completely, totally, wholly sums you up. In other words, when you arrive to class on the first day of school and you have to do those awkward ice breaker activities, what do you tell people?
Me? I’m a Christian. That’s a loaded word, right there, depending on who you’re talking to. But in it’s truest, purest form, it’s a word that tells the world you belong to Jesus. And not only that, but it also says you’re living your life in His service, so that He can be most glorified in your life and the lives of people around you.
When people who know me hear the name Anna Schaeffer, they immediately associate different things to my name. I have no way of knowing exactly what people think of when they hear my name (scary…), but they think of something. Maybe they immediately see an image of me in their minds, or maybe they think of one of my personality quirks traits.
For example, when I hear the name of one of my closest friends, I immediately picture her, followed closely by things I love about her. Like how she can make me smile or a great memory we’ve shared. Or if I hear the name of someone who…how should I put this?…God is using to teach me to be more like Him, I’ll picture him or her, then most likely think of things that contribute to why I feel a certain way about a person.
The name Anna means grace—God’s grace. If I want to live up to my first name, I must learn to fully accept God’s grace, to let go of unnecessary perfectionist tendencies, and truly believe He loves me unconditionally. Likewise, I must also learn to share God’s grace; to allow God’s grace to shine through my words, thoughts, and actions when interacting with other people. To love them and offer grace just like Jesus does for me each day.
I desperately want to live up to the name Christian, too. When others think of me, I don’t want them to see my faults, or even my talents, but Jesus. I want to allow God’s love to shine so brightly that the first thing anyone sees when they look at me is Him. I know I can’t do this on my own, though. Another part of being a Christian is acknowledging that we can’t make it on our own; we need Him.
So what’s your word? If you’re a Christian, what do people think of when they hear that you follow Christ? Do they quickly respond with, “I see Jesus in his/her life,” or do they say, “Oh, really? I never would’ve guessed.” Do you reflect the love of Jesus, or is His love something you stuff into your pocket to pull out the next time you mess up and need a way out? Does the name Christian really, truly define you, or is it more of a status symbol?
If our identity is in Christ, we’re Christians; we’ve been given new names. We’re now sons and daughters of the King. Let’s live like it.
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” – Galatians 3:26-27
“I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.” – 2 Corinthians 6:18
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” – Romans 8:14
“Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out,“Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child…” – Galatians 4:6-7
In His love,
P.S. I didn’t remember this until after I’d finished writing this post, but Matthew West has a song called “Hello, My Name Is,” and it’s all about who we are in Christ. I recommend it: