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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

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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

Name

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
Word
Jesus revealed God
Lamb of God
Jesus is the sacrifice for world’s sin
Christ
The Greek for ‘Anointed One’
Savior
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
Immanuel
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’. 

 




40 comments :

  1. Hi Carley. I really liked this blog. I'm Vali_T on Sparkpeople. My name is Vali, which means absolutely nothing because my father made it up just for me. I used to get really uptight when people would call me Valerie because it's not my name and I'm still not overly fond of having people shorten it to Val, but that I've come to accept and not get irritated about.

    I guess we choose our battles...and I guess I get to decide what my name means for myself since nobody ever had this name before me.

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    1. I disagree. Your name means lots. It means YOU... you are unique and there's no one else like you. God made you so extra super special that He had to give you a one of a kind name to match! It's a good thing. Feel joy about it. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  2. LADYROSE49April 30, 2012

    Great! Thanks. I enjoyed reading What's in a Name.

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    1. You are so very welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hope it brings you blessings. HUGS.

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  3. I feel like maybe I should spell my name differently or something so that people will pronounce it correctly. like Lie-La... NOT Lil -a....

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    1. It can get tiring sometimes to keep repeating yourself. Though this is something that many people would never think to bring to God; you should do just that. Give it to God and see how He handles it. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  4. Downright inspired blog, Carley - love the link to Johnny's video, too!
    Hugs

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    1. Thanks Kasey. I'm so glad that you liked it. I hope it blessed you. Blessings to you and your family. HUGS.

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  5. No other name like the name of Jesus, No.

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    1. Thanks for reading. I hope it blessed you. Blessings to you and your family. HUGS.

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  6. ANGELREJOICES54April 30, 2012

    THANK YOU CARLEY
    HUGS

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    1. You are so very welcome. I hope you were blessed by it. Blessings to you and your family. HUGS.

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    2. ANGELREJOICES54April 30, 2012

      THERE IS NO ONE ELSE LIK THE LORD
      FAMILY JUST WANTED TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. AND KNOW WITH IN YOU THAT GOD IS YOUR PORTION. THE LORD IS WORKING IN YOUR LIFE AND HE IS DOING GREAT THINGS IN YOU. YOU SEE THERE IS NOBODY LIKE THE LORD, CAN'T NOBODY DO YOU LIKE JESUS. JUST GIVE HIM THE PRAISE AND WATCH THE
      LORD MOVE. BELIEVE THAT HE IS AND ALL THINGS WILL COME TOGETHER.

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    3. Thank you so very much for the support and encouragement. It really does bless me and help me. Thanks. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  7. Hi
    thank you for that link What's in a Name?. I am going to use those names that God has given me (especially "loved" ) when I need to recall that I mean so much to Him. Isn't it wonderful to belong to such a loving Father.

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    1. You are so very welcome. I'm glad you liked it. Blessings to you and your family. HUGS.

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    2. Thank you for your blog posts and the links. I am learning a lot through them.

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    3. Thanks for the SparkGoodie, and for the message. It blesses me so much to know that people are being helped by my writing. I pray always that God leads me in my work; and I know He does because it is helping others. Thanks. HUGS.

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  8. This one hit home with me... I have been called so many names growing up... Now I'm a little more respected! Excellent Blog Carley!

    Ray

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    1. Thanks Ray. I am happy that you were blessed by it. It means so much to me to know that. Thanks. HUGS

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    2. I remember my Mom going through the whole list: Brian David Kevin...BOY... everything but Ray... Now it seems funny and she laughs when we remind her of it!

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    3. LOL That's quite a list!

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    4. Thats all of my brothers... She knew she would eventually get to the right one!

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    5. What got me thinking about this one day was when someone told me that her Mother would name out her sisters before getting to her. I said that I think all Mom's do that. She said to me that it was different for me because I don't have sisters. LOL I told her, no I don't but my Mom does; and she would name out all of them before getting to me. LOL

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  9. HEALTHYONE2008April 30, 2012

    thanks Carla (Carley) for the lovely blog today, it fit in so well with our Sunday school lesson today. We were also talking about names that we have been called

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    1. Awesome. Thanks so much for reading it. I hope you were blessed by it. Blessings to you and your whole Sunday School class. HUGS.

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  10. Replies
    1. You are so very welcome. I hope you were blessed by it. Blessings to you and your family. HUGS.

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  11. Thanks for sharing

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    1. You are so welcome. I hope you were blessed by it. Blessings to you and your family. HUGS

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  12. CALAMITYJANE53April 30, 2012

    Fantastic blog! I like blogs that encourage me to ponder and this posting has done so. Thank you for sharing what's in a name.

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    1. You are so very welcome. I'm glad you liked it. I hope you are blessed by it. Blessings to you and your family. HUGS.

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  13. I have a hard time with my name also-but just with english speaking people.
    "Lise" does not translate well in english.
    So i've been called Lisa a lot.
    My father-in-law called me Elise,like his sister, all his life.
    And my last name is spelled like 100 different ways,so I always have to spell it.
    I wasn't nice to my daughters either,because i've named one Carina(like if anybody could spell that!) and my other one Natalie. The problem with her name is it's the english spelling,so french people misspell it all the time. She actually writes it Natalee.
    Kind of cute.
    I don't care what people call me. I know who i am! ;-)
    I'm sure I kill other peoples name also sometimes. :-o

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    1. You are a beautiful child of the almighty Lord, creator of the universe! He loves you, and so do I. :-) Thanks for reading, and thanks for sharing. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  14. JUSTYNA7May 02, 2012

    Some of the names I have been called have been pretty humourous in retrospect. I think I have mellowed over time. I'll answer to anything now.

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    1. Ha... yea. I have been called all sorts of names too. Some are actually good. I had one BF that had a new playful pet name for me every other day it seemed. lol My Dad says "call me anything you want, just don't call me late for dinner." LOL Blessings to you. Thanks for reading and for sharing. HUGS.

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  15. HUZZAH39May 10, 2012

    Carley, I read your piece "What's in a Name?" and I was very blessed by it. Thank you!


    Hugs, Christine

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    1. Thank you so much for reading my blog. It blesses me to know that it touched you. I always ask that God use me to do His work. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  16. I enjoyed your blog. It was really interesting.

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    1. Thanks for reading. I am happy that you enjoyed it. I hope you are blessed. HUGS.

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