Conntecting the Dots

Guest Post — Hurtful Names, Hope-filled Names

Today’s post is by Canadian writer Janet Sketchley.

Sticks and stones can break our bones, and name-calling and negative labels hurt us, too. Australian novelist Paula Vince has an excellent post about this: To get rid of the reproach of Egypt.

In crawling out from under hurtful labels, I wanted to step into my identity as one who is shepherded by the Lord Jesus Christ, secure in His love, provision and care. I figured that I didn’t need a label of any sort other than the new name He will give me at the end. And then I heard the words, “You are a worshipper.” When I heard them, they seemed to fit me. They described what I want to grow into.

People have called me plenty of good things since my schooldays, but their words never stuck. Perhaps not being able to receive compliments is due to my own insecurity. Perhaps it’s due to self knowledge—like every other person on the planet, I know the darkness that lives in me with the light.

“You are kind.” No, I’m not kind, but God is growing kindness in me.

“You are honest.” No, I’m not honest, but God is growing honesty in me.

“You are a worshipper.” Well, I’m not yet, not completely. Not like I want to be someday. But I can receive that as an affirmation, an encouragement and perhaps a signpost. God is growing worship in me.

How about you? The next time someone identifies good in you, instead of thinking how far short you fall from perfection in that area, can you recognize a spark of the good? Instead of denial and defeat, can you speak hope for what God is growing?

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