What’s in a Name?

~~ Proverbs 22:1 (NIV84) ~~  A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

by Carley Cooper

Microsoft Office Copyright Free Images
I walked into my apartment building after church dragging with me several bags of groceries that I had picked up on the way home.  As I was getting on the elevator Donna (not her real name), who also lives in the building, was getting off.  She said “Hi Kaylee.  How are you doing?”  My first thought was “Awwww, my name isn’t Kaylee.  It’s Carley!”  But I didn’t say that.  I just said, with a big smile, “I’m doing great thanks, and you?”.   I’ve told Donna several times that my name is Carley but she still gets it wrong.  But, I figured why fight it?  I will just go with it.  Besides, what’s in a name anyway; really? 

It’s not that I’m not used to that.  My given name on my birth certificate is Carla.  My family still calls me that.  Carley is what everyone else that calls me now, which started about twelve years ago as a pet name from my last relationship; and it stuck.  I like to think of it as a new name from God for the new me.  The old me before I had a relationship with Him, verses the new me that does have a relationship with Him.  It’s a little bit like when God renamed Abram to Abraham (Genesis 17:5 NIV84), Sarai to Sarah (Genesis 17:15 NIV84), Jacob to Israel (Genesis 32:28 NIV84), and Simon to Peter , (John 1:42 NIV84).  A new name for the new born again person with a new mission.  Out with the old, in with the new. 

All my life, Carla was a rather unusual name.  It seemed people always had a hard time with it.  I’d say “Hi, I’m Carla”.  They would respond with “Oh, you mean Carol!”, or “Karen”, “Caroline”, “Carly”, “Kaylee”, or any number of others that start with a hard C or K sound.  I always responded with “No, I mean Carla.”  Every time I got the most confused look on people’s faces.  I never understood that thought.  I mean, why would I introduce myself as Carla if I meant something else?  Don’t you think I would remember that?  Of course, with my Mom it was a whole different story.  You would think that she would remember the name of her first born child!  But, nooooo!  She often called me by someone else’s name.  I think everyone’s Mommy does that, but I don’t have any sisters for her to get me confused with like most parents would do.  But that didn’t stop her.  See, my Mom has three sisters.  I often got called by all three names of my aunts before she finally got out the name of her daughter!  I even got “Hey you” every once in a while. 

So, have you ever wondered about what’s in a name?  The truth is there is a lot in a name.  There’s so much in a name that it can direct the path of our lives sometimes.  Some even say that it can contribute to molding a child’s character as they grow.  I can see how the ‘Boy named Sue’ would have some issues on the playground.  Anyway, a problem develops when we give ourselves or others names that are horrible.  I’ve called myself things like ‘ugly’, ‘disgusting’, ‘evil’, ‘fat’, ‘stupid’, ‘loser’, ‘hopeless’, ‘useless’; and many others that are much worse.  Growing up, in school, I was given many bad names from other kids; such as ‘bean pole’, ‘skinny Minnie’, ‘stupid’, ‘that thing’.  Even as an adult situations often occur where people feel the need to label me as something bad; just like when I am going through stressful times I tend to name myself with awful words.  These things hurt.  My doc says that the old saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me’, is a load of (excuse me, but as he puts it...) “crap”.  He says that these things affect our mental and emotional well being drastically.  He says that these issues are often worse than physical problems because they can affect us for the rest of our lives.  Which I totally understand, because it does affect me daily even all these years later what the kids said to me in school.  What’s worse, though, is that I came to believe those things and started saying them to myself.  Now I’m in the middle of years of therapy, counseling and positive-thinking training to change all these things.    

My name; really, means something so different than all these other things.  Carla means ‘one who is strong’.  My middle name Yvonne comes from the root of ‘Eve’ meaning ‘Life’ and Anna meaning ‘Gracious’.  Carley means ‘Freed Woman’.  Looking at these definitions together seems to tell a lot about me.  Though I often don’t feel strong, I know that I have come through a lot in my life.  (Details coming in a book that is in progress!  Stay tuned loyal readers.  It’s coming.)  Actually, I have discovered in the past five or six years that I am much stronger than I had ever given myself credit for before.  I have to be, or I wouldn’t have survived this long.  The words Life and Gracious are things that I strive to be; someone that shows a vibrancy for life and a woman who is gracious showing the Holy Spirit within.  Freed woman is who and what I am, thanks to the sacrifice that God gave us through Jesus.  It all fits. 

The truth is that the names that people give us, or even those that we give ourselves means nothing; or shouldn’t mean anything.  It’s the names that God gives us that tell us who we are truly.  See, according to God's Word, I am:
Of all the names and labels that there is in the whole world, there is one name that has the greatest meaning and the biggest impact.  That is the name of Jesus.  The bible tells us that Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, which means ‘the LORD saves’ (Matthew 1:21 NIV84).  This, the name of Jesus, the  most beautiful name ever means these things:

Names of Jesus


Meaning / Significance

Reference (NIV84)

Son of God
The special relationship of Jesus to God
Son of Man
The human identity of Jesus
Son of David
Jesus is descendant of King David
Jesus revealed God
Lamb of God
Jesus is the sacrifice for world’s sin
The Greek for ‘Anointed One’
The one who saves
Rabbi / Teacher
Jesus taught people about God
Author of life
One who gives life
Alpha and Omega
The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, meaning that Jesus is the beginning and the end.
Lion of Judah
A title of the Messiah
King of Kings / Lord of Lords
The ruler of all people
Bright Morning Star
The one who gives light
Word of God
Jesus is the voice of God
Holy and Righteous
Attributes of Jesus
Head of the Church
The leader of all Christians
God with us
Prince of Peace
Jesus will bring everlasting peace
Wonderful Advisor
Jesus will always rule with honesty and justice
Mighty God
Jesus is supreme
Eternal Father
Jesus is eternal

Sometimes I wonder if I’m still called Carla as well as Carley in my life because now and then I revert back to being the old me?  The name above all names, Jesus, tells me that I am a freed woman with my roots in strength, life and graciousness.  He has freed me from the bondage of bad names.  I am royalty.  I am a daughter of the King; a child of the living God who created the universe.  So what’s in your name?

~~ Dear God ~~  Thank You for giving us Jesus; the name above all names, the most beautiful name ever spoken.  Please help me to see myself the way You see me.  Clear my mind of negative thinking and the horrible names that I tend to want to attach to myself.  Please help me to never put such harmful labels on anyone else.  Thank You for giving me the names that You have given me; that tell me I am strong, gracious and free in this wonderful life.  In Jesus name, AMEN.

‘Who am I?’ Labels list source: Barrie Free Methodist Church bookmark  
‘Names of Jesus’ chart source: JesusAnswers.com


Here’s a tribute to the one and only Man in Black, Johnny Cash.  He might have worn black but he was a wonderful man of God.  Here’s Johnny doing ‘The Boy Named Sue’ live in San Quentin Prison in 1969. 



 Here’s another song by Newsboys called ‘The Name Above All Names’. 


The Path of Least Resistance

~~ Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) ~~  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

by Carley Cooper

Microsoft Office Copyright Free Images
How often have you wondered over the years why it seems that you didn’t get an easy path like others do?  Everyone has bumps in their path that they have to climb over, get around, or sometimes even blast out of the way.  For me, my biggest obstacle is Bipolar Disorder.  It is something that I can’t get away from.  It’s there staring me in the face daily.  I can’t take a vacation from it.  Whether I’m feeling good or not; I’m still bipolar.  It took me many years to get the proper diagnosis.  I finally know what’s wrong with me.  I finally have a good medical team; and support from other sources.  I have found though, that it’s all limited.  Meds stop working after a while, the best counseling or therapy can’t prevent episodes from happening, friends and loved ones get tired of the roller coaster and walk away.  I’ve learned in my life that often other people just can’t take it anymore and push me away permanently.  It’s another obstacle that I have to live with.  I’m broken, and others can only offer so much support before they run out of energy themselves. 

I have always felt that if I could only help my friends and family understand it more than maybe they would have more tools to work with.  Maybe they wouldn’t walk away so quickly.  Maybe you have felt the same way, so I’ve compiled a list of resources that will help you to better understand this beast that we’re fighting.  If you a sufferer than this should give you some insight into your symptoms, and possibly give you something extra to talk to your doctors about.  I learned things about myself from some of these things that I wasn’t aware of before.  I learned about symptoms that I didn’t  know were symptoms.  If you’re someone who is living with a loved one who is suffering and you want or need to understand more this should  give you some insight as well. 

The Basic’s off Bipolar Disorder (BPD):

  • There are 2 types:
Bipolar 1 – More severe; often known by behaviour that will put the sufferer in danger.  For example, during a mania period s/he may believe they can fly, and attempt to jump  off a roof. 
Bipolar 2 – Less severe; sufferers do not usually put themselves in danger. 
  • Extreme mood swings beyond that of a normal healthy person.  These mood swings go from extreme depression to a manic high and back again.  The time limit in between mood changes vary from person to person. 
  • A depressive or a mania period is commonly referred to as an episode.  Some will have an episode that can last as long as years.  Others can have episodes that change in a matter of half an hour, and then back again.  These more frequent changing episodes are called ‘Rapid Cycling’. 
  • Severe changes in energy for most people accompany the changes in mood swings.  This can mean little to no energy that is needed to live life and care for one self.  It could also mean extreme energy highs that don’t allow the sufferer to stop and rest. 
  • Characteristics of a Manic Episode:
- Extreme irritability or distractibility
- Excessive high or euphoric feelings
- Sustained periods of impulsive, unusual or bizarre behaviour; often accompanied by risk taking.  (Which could possibly allow the sufferer to unknowingly put themselves in danger.)
- Increased energy and activity
- Rapid talking – the sufferer will talk fast and for prolonged periods, sometimes leaving the listener unable to understand what they’re talking about.
- Rapid thinking – often called racing thoughts.  Thoughts come at a rapid speed and usually about random subjects that are unrelated to each other.
- Hyper sexuality – often with the need to have sex several times per day.
- Provocative or obnoxious behaviour
- Agitation
- Decreased sleep
- Unrealistic beliefs in one’s on abilities
- Poor judgement
- Poor concentration
- Loss of appetite – sometimes forgetting to eat for, as long as, days.
- Addictions and Substance abuse
- Denial of a problem
- Often people are afraid to follow the path of happiness because they do not know if what they are feeling is really happiness or a mania episode. 
- In full-blown psychotic episodes paranoia, hallucinations (including sound, smell, and visual) and delusions are also possible.
  • Characteristics of a Depressive Episode:
- Persistent, sad, anxious or empty mood
- Feeling guilty or worthless
- Hopeless or pessimistic feelings
- Loss of pleasure in usual activities
- Decreased energy
- Loss of sex drive
- Loss of memory or concentration
- Irritability or restlessness
- Sleep disturbances or increased sleeping
- Loss of or increase in appetite
- Persistent thoughts of death
  • BPD can result in:
- Inability to function – which also varies in intensity from person to person.
- Damaged relationships – BPD sufferers have a difficult time keeping and maintaining relationships and friendships. 
- Bad work performance
- Suicide

More information can be found at:

Video Resources: 

Here is a list of videos that I have found to be helpful and informative.  Though there are many videos you could watch; these are those that have touched me; the ones I could relate to the most.  Most of these are a maximum of 12 minutes long.  A couple of the documentaries listed that are longer, I’ve noted the length of time.  Each of these videos contributes some important information to understanding the overall picture of Bipolar Disorder.  I suggest that over time, you watch all of them.


An Overall Look at Bipolar Disorder

From teamThrive with Bipolar Disorder

Living with Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder Documentary

Bipolar State of Being Videos  (This is a video blog of a woman living with BPD.  I find her video’s wonderful as I can relate to so much of what she goes through.  I’ve chosen these as the once that I can relate to the most, but she’s posted many others.)
Documentary: Stephen Fry Story


Documentary on Mental Illness

Social Anxiety Documentary: Afraid of People  (57 min.) - (Social Anxiety has been a very big part of my life for many years.)

Schizophrenia: A Recovery (26 min.) - (Though this is not BPD, it can give you a glimpse into the world of mental illness.  There is hope though, as this very brave young man shows.  My hat is off to this guy!)

Strictly for the non-sufferers who need to understand this, just let me give you this advice from the perspective of a suffer.  This is what we need most:
  • start by always having patience.  Don’t ever forget that the person you’re looking at, is suffering even when it doesn’t necessarily appear so.  Please be patient, caring, considerate, compassionate, and above all don’t judge.  Basically, love them purely.  I promise you that there is no greater therapy, comfort, advice, medication or support that you can give. 
  • Next, love them enough to want to inform yourself.  I know from experience that it hurts when I get brushed off as though I were a pesky mosquito.  To have someone love me enough to want to educate themselves for me, would show me a world that I have rarely seen before. 
  • Next, understand that when mistakes are made, relationships are damaged, harsh words are spoken, impulsive decisions are made; it’s all part of the disease.  This is not who your loved one is naturally; or highly unlikely.
  • Pray, constantly on their behalf.  Often times your loved one is not capable of knowing the best choice to make.  You can help by praying for this. 
  • Stigma – it’s real, it stare’s us in the face daily.  Do your part to kill it.  Help to inform others. 
  • Rejecting the sufferer, if you love them at all, should be an absolute last resort! 

I hope these lists help you in some way; that your struggles may become easier, if not disappear completely.  For myself, well I haven’t always been the one to chose the path of least resistance in this journey that is my life.  As a matter of fact, even when I do have a choice, often I chose the more difficult path.  Some would say this is... well, crazy.  I’ve certainly been accused of worse.  Of course, those are the paths where I have options and choices.  Mental health issues, in any format, is always the more difficult path; and it is not by choice that we who are suffering follow this course.  The difficulty level is escalated by medication side effects, that are as long and varied as people who are taking them; and the stigma in the world today regarding mental illness.  If I told someone that I had Cancer, Diabetes, AIDS, Crones Disease, or any of hundreds of other health problems; people would not judge me or be afraid.  The first mention of mental illness means I have often lost a potential friendship before it even got started, damaged current ones, or have been rejected by a (potential) dating partner. 

However, I have learned that I am an over-comer.  It has taken me a long time, but I’ve come to see that there is strength, pride in my accomplishments, and a bigger lesson to be learned by accepting a challenge.  My current obstacles have  left me feeling very tired; mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I would love to have a vacation from it now and then, but I can’t.  The best I can have is a quick pit stop.  More often than not I feel alone, isolated and rejected; but I never give up hope.  My hope comes from my faith in Jesus.  I am grateful for Him.  My heart is troubled for those who are sufferers and not believers.  As much as I go through on a daily basis, I know Jesus gives me hope.  Not only for my salvation, but as a child of God I know that there is a very real possibility of me being cured one day (if it is in His will).  It is a huge advantage over nonbelievers.  I also know that there is a very real possibility that my issues could in fact very well be in part, if not all, from spiritual warfare.  The ‘symptoms’ of my struggles also fit into that category, but that’s a whole other blog post.  God is in the miracle business.  I am His child, and He loves me.  There was a time when I lived very successfully without medication for about four years.  I only went back on medication when my life was filled with extreme stress (an abusive situation and having to face a possibility of being homeless).  My faith in Jesus gives me the hope that one day I will be medication free again; and it will last forever this time.  I will be able to live a healthy, productive life without rejection or stigma.  You see, I know that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)).   

~~ Dear God ~~  Thank You for the path that You have chosen for me, and the obstacles that You place in front of me.  Help me to overcome each one in a way that will make You proud of me, and will help me to help others the most.  In Jesus name, AMEN.