Tuesday, September 3, 2019

What's in a name?

Sunday was the Norris family reunion, and I was asked to give the devotional.

So, yeah...talking in front of people is probably my biggest irrational fear, and I have a physiological reaction to it each time.

I'm not talking just something little like sweaty hands or something. I turn red--bright red that starts on my chest and quickly makes its way up to turn my face scarlet. My hands and voice get shaky, I start losing my voice (Nathan lovingly told me it was like I was a teenage boy in puberty...yeah, lots of support there), I barely breathe...

You know, just exactly the type of thing you want to see in a speaker.

I wrote out everything I was going to say, fully intending to "stick to the script" and just read. I could do that, right? I'm a writer, not a speaker; surely, though, just reading my writing wouldn't be that big a deal.

And then, I started talking...and instantly I had this crazy thought that it would somehow be a bad thing for me to just read. I mean, who does that? Isn't it a bad thing to simply read a speech? So I started going off script, and losing my words, and feeling myself turn red, and hearing my voice betray me... So, not really a pretty sight.

Honestly, I don't know what I ended up managing to say. Here's what I intended to say, though...


When Nathan and I were expecting our kids, we spent a whole lot of time trying to pick out the right names. It was a big deal, and we wrestled over what name was right up until we were about to leave the hospital with our tiny baby girl, to the point that the nurses were prodding a bit because they wanted a name for the birth certificate.

Raiden means "fiery one." Honestly, I chose it because I thought she would end up with Nathan's red hair. That didn't happen, but she very quickly lived up to her name in other ways: she's daring and adventurous on the positive side; on the negative sometimes, her personality is pretty fiery, too.

"Jane" has a deeper, more personal meaning. It's a family name, alternating with "Jean" on my mom's side: Raiden Jane, Amanda Jean, Tammy Jane, Dilla Jean, Prudence Jane... It's her middle name, so it isn't necessarily one a lot of people are going to know and even fewer people will know the story behind. I hope, though, that she will always hold to the importance of the legacy it represents.

Conan Scott was chosen in a pretty similar way. Conan was chosen as a strong name for our almost 9-pound baby who was so much bigger than all the tiny babies in the hospital nursery. It is a Celtic name derived from "conn" which means wisdom and strength. It didn't hurt that it's a writer name (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). My hope is that he continues to grow into his name. Scott is the personal side, following in the footsteps of his Pa and Grandpa. For both our kids, their middle name was chosen to help them remember where they came from.

Biblically, a name is an incredibly important thing. Proverbs 22:1 tells us that a good name is worth more than great riches. Time after time, we're given the meaning behind people's names. In Isaiah 9"6, about 400 years before Jesus was born, some of the names of the Messiah are laid out: Wonderful Counselor, Might God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Those names gave a glimpse of the character of Christ before He came to earth, a picture of who He is and who He will be for us. Likewise, the names of God are used throughout the scriptures to help us understand His character. There are whole studies out there that focus on the names of God and what they mean (Tony Evans has a great study if you're interested) because the names of God provide one of the best pictures of His nature that we can get before we get to see Him face to face.

Our goal, then, should be to live in such a way that our name alone tells everyone our character. I was blessed to be born into a family with a good name: "Goins" tells a lot of people here in my little corner of the world where I come from and, I hope, a lot about who I am. People who really know me know the DeLozier side and all that entails (the good and the bad). 15 years ago, I was blessed to marry into the name "Kilbourn," which tied me to "Norris" by default. Those names and all those conencted to them have been earned by a lot of people through a lot of years. Each generation is tasked with preserving and bettering that name, keeping it intact for those who come after us. If we want them to reflect well on us, we should reflect well on those who came before us.

More than that, though, the name we should always keep in mind is that of "Follower of Christ." When we hold ourselves up as Christians, we are bearing the name of Christ. That means we are responsible for the reputation of the name we carry. My actions are a reflection on the name I've been given, and it's a responsibility I shouldn't take lightly. Ephesians 4:1 tells us to live a life worthy of the calling we've received. I think that can easily be extended to say we are to live a life worthy of the name we've been given. If I am a daughter of the King and bear His name, my goal should be to present His name in the best possible light. His name is worth more than all the riches of this world, so who am I to taint it?

And how amazing will it be on the day that He looks at me and tells me my true name, the one only He knows!

And I will give him a white stone,
and on the stone a new name written which no one knows
except him who receives it.
Revelation 2:17 


For some crazy reason, they've asked me to share next year. I think I'll ignore all the lessons I have in public speaking and just read...surely it would be the better choice!

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