Monday, May 2, 2016

Claiming our New Name

This past week, I was back on the East Coast (yippee!) for some continuing education. There was a lot of good stuff that happened at Stony Point Center (reconnecting with old friends, walking with one another through the challenges of ministry, HILARIOUS card games) one of the worship services that we did really stood out to me. I remember thinking, "I'll definitely need to write some reflections on my blog about this!"

So here we are.

The worship was all about remembering that we are God's beloved by remembering our baptism. What struck me particularly was this: towards the end of worship, we were invited to come forward "as the Spirit leads" and take a nametag with our "new name" on it. But at the end of our time together, there were still many, many nametags still unclaimed on the table.

I did take mine.

This was especially poignant to me, because I often struggle with feelings of unworthiness (and I'm not just talking about a passing thought once in a while--we're talking full-blown impostor syndrome, with a fun side of "Why am I even here?" and "What could people possibly love about me?). I know that there have been many, MANY times that God has offered me this new name, but I've left it on the table, assuming it was for someone else. I've thought, "Well, I don't deserve that name yet; I'll just leave it there until I earn it. If someone more worthy than me comes along and claims it before I do, it's for the best."

I'm not sharing all this in order to end my thoughts by saying, "I am beloved, and so are you! Don't ever think otherwise!" I mean, it's true, but when you're so convinced that you're unworthy and unlovable, statements like that are profoundly unhelpful. In fact, someone's lonely heart might twist something like that into, "Welp, you can't even recognize your own worth, even though it's OBVIOUS to everyone else. What a failure!"

The reason I'm sharing this is because I've found that the best way to combat this (mis)understanding of God's view of us and our innate worth is to make sure to be reminded of it as frequently as possible. You might not buy it every time--you might not even believe it ever--but that sort of reminder of holy love can't help but seep into some part of your being...probably your soul. Even if you don't believe you are beloved, it makes a difference to hear it every day.

Case in point: I found a picture in (of all places) the bathroom of a Whole Foods, and I almost broke into tears when I saw it. I promptly made it the wallpaper on my phone, so that it's the first thing I see whenever I look at my phone (which is, admittedly, probably more often than necessary):

You may not believe it. But I'll believe it for you, and I'll do my best to remind you as often as I can. You remind yourself, too. God promises that this is true, and if we can't trust God, who CAN we trust? Claim your nametag, even if it doesn't feel like a good fit to you, because God has declared it so.


  1. This is powerful in it's raw truth. Thank you, Katey. Can I share it in the PPC enews?

  2. Thank you for such a thoughtful blog...