A New Name
Yesterday, I posted a list of 250 Questions to Ask God. I've asked Him a few of these questions so far, sometimes not getting any answer at all. But I want to share about one answer I did get. One that makes me smile when I think of it.
One morning, I was sitting there in prayer and looking at this list of questions to see which I should ask. And I found this one, “Do You have a new name for me?” That question seems so huge to me, so exciting to think that maybe God would have a meaningful name picked out for me that He might share with me. (It also seemed a little silly to ask. And a little scary ... because I might learn how God really saw me.)
And so I prayed, “Lord, do You have a new name that You want to give . . .” And even before I could finish the sentence, a name popped into my head. It didn’t just vaguely float to the surface; it POPPED.
And I have to admit, I was rather shocked. I know God answers prayer and I am learning to discern His voice over my own thoughts; but I was surprised that it happened so quickly. And funny enough, I was a little disappointed. I didn’t expect it to be over so soon. I thought that I would sit quietly with that question in prayer for a few minutes, the anticipation building, until God revealed the name to me. Like opening a present on Christmas morning. But – boom – there it was.
I knew that this name wasn’t from my own thoughts, because I hadn’t even been thinking about it. I wasn’t even ready for it. I hadn’t even finished my prayer. And so considering all of that, I knew that this was the name God wanted to give me. And it just so happened to be the name of a plant that I have always loved. But I never would have pictured myself with that as a name. It is much too frilly and fluffy and, frankly, ditzy for me. It didn’t fit. It wasn’t “me.” While I loved this plant, it was a little bit of a disappointment and a wonder that this was how He saw me.
And so I began trying to think about why God might have picked that name. I began to explore the qualities and characteristics of that plant. Maybe this name means that I am resilient like this plant? Maybe God thinks I can bounce back easily? Maybe it’s because it stands straight and tall? On and on I went, thinking of how this name might fit me. (None of which did seem to fit.)
When I couldn’t come to any satisfactory explanation, I decided to pray about it. “Lord, why did You give me this name? What does it mean?” And when I didn’t get an answer, I prayed it again.
While the name came to me very quickly, the explanation did not. I ended up praying this prayer for about two weeks before God answered it.
One morning, I was sitting in the car waiting to pick someone up when this prayer popped into my head again. I had just about given up on the idea that God would give me special insight into this name, but I decided to pray again.
“Lord, I know that this plant is really nothing special. It’s actually more like a glorified weed. But ... I don’t know why ... it just means so much to me anyway. I just delight in it so much and it brings me so much joy.”
And that’s when the answer hit me. It wasn’t a voice or anything, but the clear sense that God was speaking this message to my heart and mind:
“Exactly! The way you feel about this plant is how I feel about you. You bring me so much joy and I delight in you so much. You are My fill in plant name here!” (I’m just saying “plant” here because I feel like the name is really just between me and God. It means too much to me to share it with others.)
Since then, I have often thought fondly of this plant. And every time I see one or a picture of one, I smile. Because I am reminded of God’s love for me and that I mean something to Him, even if I usually feel like I’m “nothing special, just a weed, really.” So even if God never answers another of these questions for me, this one answer has so enriched my days and my life.