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Our new name is God's way of healing us

You are named by your parents, then you are named by God.  Until you discover the secret name he's given you, your story won't make sense to you and your wounds will haunt you.

He gives us our new names so that we may be healed. 

When I heard my new name, it felt like I was making it up.  The skeptic would say that because I wanted to hear it, I fabricated it in order to make myself feel better.  That certainly could happen -- if you leave God out of my story.

It happened when I was watching Tolkein's Lord of the Rings - the Return of the King for a second time.  God whispered something like, "You have a strength like Aragorn's."  Aragorn is the warrior-wanderer who would one day assume the throne as the true heir to the kingdom.   (Again, all this will sound self-serving unless we understand what God is up to.)   By the way, God renamed people all the time in Scripture:  'Abram' to 'Abraham,' 'Saul' to 'Paul,' 'Simon' to 'Peter.'  He hasn't stopped renaming people.

Why call me, 'Aragorn?"  I'd heard God whisper that name to me before.  The answer is that all men doubt their strength.  But in my case, there was more:  I had been a young pastor who challenged the unquestioned authority of those in positions of power.  I stepped out of my "proper role" to dispute the status quo.  Older and more tenured men in leadership saw it as insubordination and threat.  I was tossed out on my ear and kicked out of the pastorate. 

Congregation members who knew what was really happening voluntarily wrote letters on my behalf to the district leadership and to the bishop.  They fell on deaf ears.  The system wasn't designed to hear opinions other than its own.

Here's the parallel:  Aragorn faced a similar challenge with established leadership.  You may remember the scene in which King Theodin has just been released from the grasp of Worm Tongue's poisonous lying.  Under this spell of deception, Theodin had no mind of his own.  He was easily deceived.  The light in his eyes had gone out, his skin pasty and prematurely aged.  Then Gandalf banishes Worm Tongue and his foul counsel from the great hall, and King Theodin becomes himself again.

But Theodin is reluctant to expose his people to war.  The younger, inexperienced Aragorn challenges him:  "Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not."  Theodin is taken aback by what he thinks is Aragorn's brash arrogance -- but the would-be heir to the throne is simply speaking what needed to be said.  And Aragorn's unwelcomed counsel ended up moving the elder King to rescue his people from a dark army approaching their doorstep.

"Jim.  You have a strength like Aragorn." 
So my wounds began to heal as God spoke the name meant for me:  the pain of rejection (being thrown out of 'ministry'), as well as the doubting:  "Was I justified in what I did?  Was I the one who was wrong?"   And through the new name I hear, "No Jim.  That was your strength coming through.  It cost you, but they don't write your story.  I do."

Over the last 6 years, on several occassions, God continues unwrapping more layers of meaning to "Aragorn."  And so the healing continues. 

Have you begun to hear your secret name?

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Reader Comments (10)

Next time, I'll show you something I've created to remind me of my new name - something you can create as well.

February 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJim Robbinss

Beautiful Jim, thanks for sharing that. I'm not sure yet that God has spoken my identity in a name, but He has certainly spoken truths that displaced the accusations and lies of the enemy, bringing healing to old wounds.

February 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

I'm so glad, Linda. There's no formula to discovering our unique name (sometimes, he'll give us more than one.). It's just an open posture to hearing God speak our name -- and often, it comes unexpectedly when we're not even praying about it.

Mine have come through movies, as well as spoken words from friends who had no idea God was speaking through them.

February 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJim Robbinss

I like this, Jim!

Now I have to see the movie!

I think God named me "Star". People always say I'm glowing or shining, and I feel God has led me to scriptures dealing with stars. I always stand out in a crowd, although that's not my goal and people misunderstand me and think I am trying to get attention, when in fact, I try to avoid it because most people can be nasty towards me because of it.

Like you, I think that people come after me for who God made me to be and I think they would like to extinguish how I "shine". One beautiful woman in a church once told me that people dislike me because she says that when I enter a room I turn heads for how I shine and because God is very present within me. I cried because people had been particularly brutal towards me that week in the church and this lady didn't know (from me) anyway all that was happening.

On your other site, I mentioned that in Ireland at St. Patrick's Cathedral, my name was there and the scripture read "Proverb 4: 18 The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day." There is the "shine" reference again...

Thanks for posting this. Remembering what God named me strengthens me when I think about it.


February 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith

Jim you could write books on pain - no pun intended- LOL. I have no idea what my God name is, hope to discover it one day. There have been times that I felt so close to God, either made a wrong turn, stopped off at a rest stop - or can't see the forest for the trees, I require a spiritual retreat, renewal.

Your story doesn''t end there. The foundation that YOU built has sprouted a church - non-denominational, no ritual, no legalism - God centered and God focused.

Art said to tell you hi....hi.

February 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarsha

Hey Meredith -- what a beautiful name God spoke to you. It will be interesting to see how he continues to unfold that for you.

February 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJim Robbinss

Hey Marsha -- you're so kind. Please say 'hi' to Art for me as well. It sometimes takes a while for us to hear our new name (s), and it often catches us by surprise.

February 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJim Robbinss

Hey Aragorn,

I can't wait to see what you made to remember your name!

Sometimes, if I see a really cool piece of jewelry with a star motif I'll get it. Last year I found a long fashion necklace with a star motif...just *gorgeous* and there was only one left! So I grabbed it----good designer, too. Well....when I got to the check out the lady that was ringing me up looked at me and looked at the necklace and shook her head and said "No, I don't think this will work for you. It's really long and you're kind of short." She actually tried to talk me out of it!!!!! I asked her nicely to just ring me up. By the way, it was perfect for me and I get a lot of compliments on it and I've never seen another like it.

Star :0)

February 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith

My name is Ahuvia! It is Hebrew and means loved by God.

March 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAhuvia

Hi Ahuvia. What a great discovery of your name! Thanks for sharing that with us.

March 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJim Robbinss

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