Thursday, January 13, 2011

Who Are You?

In response to Your Secret Name by Kary Oberbrunner, Chapters 1-4:

Do you know who you are? I mean, REALLY know who you are?? Or do you merely know who you've been TOLD you are? Have you become more and more the person that your family, friends, peers, teachers, circumstances, and/or environment made you? Do you know what it is to strive against a reputation? Or to strive toward it? Have you ever wondered why your parents named you what they did? Or have you ever looked up the meaning of your birth name?

It's a hard question to answer really: Who are you? I'm afraid I don't entirely know what the question even means. I certainly think there are a lot of things that get in the way of ME. Things that I've added to my life unnecessarily. Things that take up space in the picture of "me," and I'm not sure those things ever really belonged there. But neither do I know what DOES. Not with any certainty anyway.

I have a friend who used to theorize that whatever your name means...that is how Satan will choose to attack you. For instance, if your name is Joy, he will try to keep you from having joy. If your name means "pure," well, he will obviously do everything in his power to keep you from being pure. This theory always made me laugh a little, as my firstborn son's name means "rest," and that child gave me such fits with not napping!!

Anyway, our birth names are supposed to give us some form of identity. To some extent, even some knowledge--if only for our own benefit--of who we are inside. I don't know about you, but I've always felt sort of unattached to my name. Not that I don't like it. But just that thinking of myself as being this "Lori" person is something I can only do when I step outside myself. And, frankly, I find that whole process surreal and sort of something on which I'll never quite get a grasp.

Our "given names" are another story entirely. These are the ones which have been handed down to you, based on some known or unknown circumstance. Maybe it was the kids in the schoolyard who "named" you. Or maybe it was an unsatisfied parent. Or maybe it was you, looking in the mirror and seeing yourself falsely; maybe it was you who named yourself. These are the names we have a hard time shaking. There's a whole list of these "given names," and I honestly had a tough time figuring out what mine might be. Because I kept struggling with WHO thinks so: me or others? others or me? Sometimes the two became one, making it a little easier, but mostly I was unsure.

Thankfully, this book is providing a little insight into why I may have trouble knowing myself. 

You see? God didn't name Adam and Eve "Adam and Eve" before the fall. He didn't need to. They found their identity in Him. They knew Him intimately, and He them. They had nothing to be ashamed of; they walked with God. Who were they??? They were His. 

His creation, His beloved, His worshipers, His friends, His family, His people. And all was right with the world. 

But it didn't last. The day Eve, and then Adam, decided they wanted to be like God, they lost their identity in Him. And they no longer knew who they were anymore. They only knew their shame. And their need. Go here and read what Adam did first after being banished from the garden. (I had never noticed that before!) Adam, who had been given authority to name the animals but not his wife (that was God's job), immediately named her. There was suddenly a need for a name--now that they no longer walked hand-in-hand through the garden with their Maker. 

And, in a sense, that is where WE all are today. Because so much of our identity is found in this world, in our upbringings, in the labels people have placed on us, in the struggles we've faced, in our dreams and desires, in our reputations, and, of course, in the names given to us at birth. Yet many of us are still searching. Searching to discover WHO we really are. Why? Because apart from God, our Creator, we have no true identity. Only facades that cover up who we really are--who God created us to be. And it is only THROUGH Him and BY Him that we are truly named.

Now that I have the first four chapters under my belt, I am left with one dangling question. One I'm a little uncomfortable with. Who have I been (all this time)? Who have I been...pretending to be? Because, as Satan had hoped, the one I've pretended to be has hidden the true ME from myself. And only God can reveal her to me.

(After taking part in the Radical Read-Along, I am now reading another book along with Marla Taviano. Check it out: Your Secret Name by Kary Oberbrunner. And I'm starting a bit late. If you know me, you are not one bit surprised by that. Now THERE'S a "given name" (earned name? whatever...) I'd like to get rid of.)


  1. Very deep thoughts Lori. Thanks for inviting us into your journey.

  2. That is A LOT to digest! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights.
    "You see? God didn't name Adam and Eve "Adam and Eve" before the fall. He didn't need to. They found their identity in Him. They knew Him intimately, and He them. They had nothing to be ashamed of; they walked with God. Who were they??? They were His." - I had never thought about that before. I think I will have to mull that over for awhile!

  3. Well written post, Lori. Mark Driscoll ( of Mars Hill) once said in a sermon that Satan will tell us a certain lie over and over regarding our identity. I recognized RIGHT away that the enemy of my soul tells me...."You are not wanted. You are rejected. You do not fit in." Once I realized this, the thoughts did not stop, but now I can recognize that there is absolutely no evidence for this lie.
    I really like my birth name but it means "small and wise." Haha! I have definitely struggled to be BOTH of those.


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