Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"I Will Change Your Name..."

I will change your name
You shall no longer be called
Wounded, outcast, lonely or afraid

I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one
Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks My face

D.J Butler

I've been thinking, lately about the emotional and spiritual consequences of verbal abuse.  Actually, to be more specific, I've been thinking about how God is healing the wounds I carry within me, by sweetly and kindly changing "my name".  God truly is the lover of our souls!

When I talk about verbal abuse, I'm not referring to the times that people tell us truths that we don't want to hear.  If you are lying to someone, and they know it and tell you that you are lying, they are not putting you down.  You put yourself down by choosing to lie.  Sometimes we freely choose the harsh names that we wear.  If we kick doors in on people, hit and and punch, destroy cherished objects, threaten violence, then our names are Violence, Anger, Hate, Bully and Abuser.  Only we can change that, through confession and repentance before God.

Many of us, though, wear names that we were never meant to wear, that were placed on us repeatedly by others.  We tried to reject them.  At one time, we knew they weren't true.  We may even say, now, that we know they aren't true.  Still, in the deep recesses of our hearts, we carry the seeds of insecurity, planted there by words of anger and abuse.  Ugly. Stupid. Disgusting. Loser. Failure. Burden.  Reject.  Useless. 

Sometimes, the abuse is more personal than that.  More specific. Often, our abusers were people that we opened our hearts to, our lives, our vulnerabilities.  They knew things about us that made us vulnerable to them, an dour weaknesses became weapons.  So we became lousy lovers, terrible parents, losers at providing for our families or tending to our homes.  Parents, spouses, best friends, places where we should have been able to feel safe, became mine fields.

How do we trust again? How do we know that if we allow others into our lives, they won't see the same things, say them same things?  How do we stop holding people at arm's length for fear that we will find our hearts cut to shreds again?  How do we know that we are not who they said we are?

All I know is what God has done for me in this past year.  He has changed my name.  From Ugly, Stupid, Failure, to Wise One, Kind, Patient. 

Some of the names, He changed by changing me.  When Grace and I first moved here, we had been living in such an angry environment, with so much anxiety and fear, that we were intially very sharp with each other.  We didn't know how to relax, how to feel safe.  God helped us create a calm, peaceful environment, and began to heal us, and within a month or two, we had returned to ourselves.  Conflicts were dealt with by listening, with patience and kindness, and apologies flowed freely.  No longer was I called Angry, or Fearful One, but Gentle and Peaceful.

Sometimes God let me know my new name by offering it to me through another.  Recently, a young friend of mine told me that she had described me to someone who did not know me, as a "white Maya Angelou".  I don't know if she will ever know what a gift it was for me to hear that.  Learning how people see us, when we are free to be ourselves, can be a wonderful way to change our names.  My friend's gift was extravagant, but it served to blow away some of the names I have been carrying, and I cherish it.  Good friends, who love us and will be honest, are some of the best places to have our names changed.  We just need to give them the freedom to be true with us, and then believe them when they tell us who we are, taking their words to God for verification if we are unsure.

At some point, though, we are just going to have to be brave.  We are just going to have to trust God, and then allow our faith in Him to give us strength to trust others.    We have to own our new, God given names, and stop pulling away in fear that someone is going to find out who we really are.  God will give us wisdom, and there are people out there who will love us, no matter how flawed we are.  We are all flawed. 

I am chronically ill.  I have been named Burden because of it.  Burden is no longer one of my names, though.  In God's world, chronic illness has named me Patient, Compassionate, Understanding, Safe. 

Yes, we all have weaknesses.  Let God erase the names that the world has given you, and allow Him to rename You with His love and glory. 

Peace out.


Anonymous said...

I know your husband, I also know a relationship is a 2 way. Verbally were you always a blessing to him.

Kelly said...

I have replied to your comment here ~


My Zimbio