What’s in a Name?

I remember seeing a television show years ago where someone made the comment that, “a woman named Edna is never afforded the same advantages in life as a woman named Tiffany.”

Do our names predetermine the patterns of our lives or have the power to change our destiny?

Our Biblical forefathers placed a great deal of importance and significance on the names they gave their offspring. Our Biblical ancestors knew what their names meant and lived their lives accordingly. Nowadays, so many parents give their children names based on whatever celebrity or athlete has the hottest career at the time of their child’s birth.

Back in Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’s day, when a child was given a name, there was a specific reason for that particular moniker; as was the case with Jacob. Jacob’s name is described as meaning schemer, trickster and swindler, which apparently described Jacob’s character as he spent his early years trying to cheat his brother Esau out of his birth right.  (Genesis 25)

After reading Jacob’s story, I decided to do a search on the meaning of my first name.  I found a site that believes that by applying universal principles of language, logic, and mathematics we can establish the paramount importance of names and the critical role they play in our lives. I’m not so sure I believe 100% of their philosophy, but found the site informative and interesting.

Several of the meanings of my name were so surprisingly accurate in describing my personality, I was quite taken aback. It got me wondering – do women that share my first name share all of these same qualities?  Apparently, Kathleen prefers peaceful conditions; desires security in the home, where life follows a definite pattern because we don’t like to make major decisions.  In addition, we find it difficult to take a definite stand, because we lack confidence and dislike any issues which create dissension between people?  Hel-lo … could that statement be any more accurate? That is me to a tee.

How could my parents have known the pattern my life would take or how my personality would develop? Would my personality be different if I would have been named Irish Colleen (my father’s pick)? Did my six weeks premature birth date change my personality disposition because I was born in August rather than the expected October?  How did the universe know all of this beforehand so that my name would fit me to perfection?

I could spend hours questioning the powers that be trying to figure out the unexplainable. I gave myself a headache pondering what I perceive as my personality flaws versus the meaning of my name. Can those flaws be traced all the way back to the day of my birth when my parents gave me this name?

Rather than driving myself crazy I opted not to give the enemy a foothold picking apart my perceived shortcomings. I choose rather to dwell on one of my favorite passages of Scripture, Psalm 139.  I like to read this chapter regularly to remind myself that God saw before I was born as I was being knit together in my mother’s womb.

God knew full well what my character would develop into one day. He knew every path my life would take that would lay the foundation for all of the nuances about my personality – the ones I tend to question. God handcrafted me to be the unique individual that I am just as He handcrafted each and every one of us.

We need to stop letting the enemy steal our joy and make us miserable because we have personality quirks that we’re embarrassed about. We need to ask God to change those things in us that aren’t pleasing to Him (because we certainly have no power to change anything in our own strength). We need to ask Him to help us fully live the second greatest commandment (from Matthew 22:39) which is, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

I learned that my name also means pure, unsullied; not stained or tarnished and spotlessly clean. I am saved by grace and washed clean by the blood of  Jesus, so on that note I am delighted that my name truly is who I am in Christ.

14Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.  Psalm 139:14-16 (NLT)

Blessings in Christ and as always … Happy reading!

Kathleen (Kathy K.)