Call Me by My Name

When it comes to inconsequential matters like ordering food or making minor reservations, I never give my real name. Celestial just seems nine letters too troublesome for a box of pizza. Besides, why put people through the bother of fumbling around the spelling and pronunciation? So to avoid any unnecessary confusion, when asked for my name, I respond: “Sure. It’s Ashley.”

In the first place, Ashley is a far simpler name than Celestial. But beyond that, it’s familiarity gives people a sense of comfort, however wrong or right they may be. Still, no matter my reasons for providing an alias to passing strangers, my name isn’t Ashley: it’s Celestial. And were I to develop a real relationship with one of these strangers, they could no longer go on calling me Ashley. To do so would be an indication that they still don’t know me, regardless of how familiar I may seem.

Familiarity: the thief of intimacy. Indeed, I am familiar with quantum physics, but I couldn’t begin to tell you even the most major concept of that theory. (Although, I probably could now because I just looked it up.) Likewise, just because we hear about or see someone often doesn’t mean that we know them deeply. For example, you know that friend of a friend who you occasionally see at gatherings? You always mistake her name for Brenda, when really it’s Shannon. Yes, that girl: take a moment to consider why you always forget her name. Could it be because you have no real relationship or ties to her and therefore her name could be Kjgwqeoigesokgn and she would still just be a friend of a friend, better known as Brenda?

Yet, isn’t that what many of us have done to God? We’ve put him in the friend of a friend zone, and as a result, we often forget his name. So instead of God, we call him The Universe today, Good Vibes tomorrow, and Positive Energy the next day. I admit these names are easier to digest than the mystifying name of God, but they hold no true value. They’re simply titles we use to circumvent the name of God because we’ve decided that his is far too difficult a name for us to be concerned with. 

What’s interesting though, is that we still want the benefits of God’s nature. We send positive vibes to The Universe in hopes of receiving the grace, love, and hope that is solely God’s to give. We don’t want to submit to his ways that are in place purely for our benefit, yet we want to reap the rewards that come through obedience. In any other iteration of life, this line of thinking would be illogical.

It’d be like asking me to help you come up with a budget even though you know I’m imprudent with money. Tiffany, however, is an accountant and frugal, but you don’t like her. So instead, you choose me and my likeability to help you budget, while somehow expecting the money conscious rewards Tiffany has to offer.

Life doesn’t work that way. At all. We don’t get to cherry-pick the characteristics of God we like, and with them, create our own deity. 

It’s easy to call God anything but God when we don’t really know him. I’m not talking about being religious, I’m speaking of relationship and spirituality. For Christians, we shouldn’t be reading the Bible and praying strictly because it’s our “religious duty,” we should be doing these things to forge a deeper relationship with God. I’m not saying it happens overnight, and yes, sometimes we will have to force ourselves to pray and read our Bible. Discipline is required, but the reward of our faithfulness is being one with our creator and thirsting no more.

Running from God to false names may provide a temporary balm to our plight, but ultimately, it will lead to further confusion. I know that living in this world can make it hard to believe in an all-powerful God who is allegedly good. I won’t pretend to have all the answers.

If I may, however, offer my advice: call God by his name even in your uncertainty. Don’t be afraid to confront him with your questions. But be ready for the answers. God is not daunted by your inquiries. He wants to show you who he is, and the wonderful plans he has for you.

Step one to finding God: call him by his name.

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12 thoughts on “Call Me by My Name

  1. That really hit home for me! As Christians, we struggle with who Gods really is. Keep sending those wonderful words of wisdom! Favorite line of mine…We don’t want to submit to his ways that are in place purely for our benefit, yet we want to reap the rewards that come through obedience.

    • Hey Natalie, thanks for reading!! I’m glad this post hit home for you. I think it’s something that we all have to decide on at some point: what we believe about God and who he is.

  2. You are so right. Did you know that God calls Himself ” I Am”? He says that’s His name. During homeschooling I told my kids that and they were shocked and laughed because they were confused. So I explained to them why that’s His name. And they now have a deeper understanding of who He really is. On another note I too have a different name I tell people my name is because my real name is long and hard to remember. On the internet I’m J.S but that is for protection purposes. 😊

    • See, you know my plight when the difficult name. Lol I love that you told your kids that God is also called “I Am,” and their amazement at what that definition encompasses will be beautiful as they grow in their relationship with God. Thanks for stopping by and reading my rambles!

  3. Yes, let’s call Him by His name – but which one?
    He has many names in the OT but let’s call Him “Father” or “Abba” or “Papa”. This is what Jesus taught us in the famous Lord’s Prayer.
    He IS God, but personally I find that calling Him “God” when talking to Him would be a bit like addressing my earthly father or mother as “Parent” – it’s what he is, but doesn’t express our relationship in the same intimate way as “Dad” or “Mum”, for example.
    So let’s call Him “Father” – and certainly not “positive vibes” or “the universe”.

    • Yes Stephen! That’s such a good point about personalizing God and getting to the point where we do can him father, friend, brother, and confidant. I do think though, that in order to get to these more personal names, we must first recognize him for who he is. In the same way that in order for me to call my mom “mommy,” I must first recognize that she is my parent. Thank you for your insight! That a really interesting point you made.
      🙂

  4. Oh goodness, us millennials and our good vibes. That’s a whole other post. And it has just bled into our culture. I wish we would just be honest with ourselves and admit that we’re drowning and we need help. Thanks for reading Lily.

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