From the time I entered elementary school I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my name. Although it rolled off my tongue nice and easy and its simplicity made it a breeze to pronounce, remember, and spell, I detested its commonality. I would ask my mom why she named me something so…regular. I would often hear my name called and not even respond because there were at least 4 other people in my school (or any other place) with the exact same name. This annoyed me and made me a bit envious of people with names like Raven or Simone. I wanted to be an individual. I wanted to be special.
What’s in a name?
As the years continued, I maintained this disdain, and not until recently, after hearing a TEDtalk by Sarah Kay, have I reconsidered. Sarah Kay recounts her journey as a performing poet and her mission to help others find their voice. Toward the end of her talk she mentions her parents naming her Sarah. She parallels her life with the Sarah in the bible who was told by God to do something impossible. The biblical Sarah laughed because she didn’t know what to do with “impossible” and just like that Sarah, Sarah Kay admits to not knowing what to do with “impossible.” But her confidence is in knowing that “possible” is always standing nearby waiting to prove itself just as it proved itself in the life of the biblical Sarah. There’s a depth that is sometimes overlooked when it comes to names. And quite honestly, I believe knowing the meaning of your name can truly shape who you become. Of course, you are not subjected to your name, but you surely have the power to walk out it’s meaning. Biblically, we see Judah, “praise”, living out his name. We see Samuel, “asked of God” or “heard by God”, living out his name. And then we see Jesus, “God saves”, fully living out His name. So what’s in a name? Potentially everything.
Sarah, the GREAT!
My husband loves to study the meaning of names. Whether we’re at the grocery store or in a taxi he is always eager to share the origin or etymology of the names of people we meet. To see the faces of some people when he tells them their name means “God given” (Jonathan) or “manly” (Andrew) is quite amusing. They are usually taken aback, but always walk away with their head held a little higher. I’ve grown up knowing my name means “princess or lady” (and often get serenaded by people who love the 80s hit “Sarah, Sarah” by Jonathan Butler), but I never connected my life with the great “Sarahs” past and present. Do you know what your name means? Do you think knowing what it means or the significance of a character who also carried your name is important?
Leave a comment below with your name and its meaning! And let’s walk out our name to the fullest!