I also seem to remember a trend of writing I Love _______ repeatedly on paper. Now this was a time passer for sure, but also a waste of paper. And what did it prove? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. But I can admit to doing this because I wasn't the only girl who did it. Clearly, there was something inherently in us, even at such a young age, that was determined to prove our love.
Unfortunately these tenedencies follow us for what seems like a lifetime. As we get older the way we prove our love matures into more meaningful activities (laundry, cooking, cleaning, gift-giving, etc) but we are still more often than not trying to prove our love and therefore earn love in return.
Part of me wonders if this name writing habit is part of our DNA. Sounds odd, doesn't it? But it's not. Why? Because God etched our names into the palms of His hands according to Isaiah 49:16. (Is it just me, or does that sound like a tattoo?) But that's not the point I want to make today, it's just a nice sidebar.
If our names are ethed into His palm like it says, what does the name say? Is it our individual names? Does it say Jenn, Kim, Faith, or Holly? Or does it say what He calls us? Beloved, Chosen, Redeemed, Loved? Either way, I can say for sure what it doesn't say.....overweight, lazy, selfish, worthless.
Indulge me for just a moment......
If someone called us the names we call ourselves, would we be their friend?
If someone called us the names we call ourselves, will God hold them accountable?
Why do we call ourselves anything but the names God has given us and think He won't hold us accountable?
In Matthew 11:26 Jesus says, But I tell you that EVERYONE will have to give an account on the day of judgement for every empty word they have spoken. (CSB, emphasis mine)
Do you know what that word empty means? Thoughtless. Unprofitable. Injurious. And I'll be honest, I didn't look up the word everyone, because I'm pretty sure it's self-explanatory.
The negative tirade we have going on in our heads and hearts isn't going unnoticed. Because even if we are displaying self-confidence to the world, God is fully and completely aware of what we are telling ourselves on a regular basis. And whether or not we realize it, there is evidence of its fruit in our lives. We act out of that which we most believe to be true.
Now, I am not about to advocate going back to inking names on our hands or writing them on our shoes. (Seriously, I am shaking my head over the sheer number of Keds I decorated.) No one wants to have their picture snapped that isn't at a retro dance with a caption that reads "stuck in the 80's." (Could you even imagine breathing in that many hairspray fumes?) But I do think we need to become more aware of the inner dialogue we have going on and what it is giving birth to in our lives.
As I have struggled with this, and I suspect I am not alone, I have printed out numerous papers over the years with the names that God has given us. And they are nice to read and look at. But until I started intentionally putting myself in front of something every day, I didn't realize just how far I have yet to go in this area.
Twenty-eight days ago I started a new devotional I Am by Michele Cushatt. I have to say, she not only tells it like it is, she tells exactly why she is able to write it. She isn't writing from a place of "I've done this right all along and so now I am here to teach you." Far from it. She's the "I have been where you are and am working my way out of it and I am taking you out from under this with me."
If you are like me and tired of seeing the bad fruit, we can decide to start planting good seeds. Seeds that we've been given through God's Word that will accomplish purposes beyond our wildest imagination. All we need to do is ask Him for the name He has written on His hands that remind Him of us and start using that instead of the default ones we've been given or have gave ourselves. He changed Abram's and Jacob's names, He can certainly help us change ours.