“What’s in a name?” A famous line from Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet. In the play, Juliet is using that question to say that the name doesn’t matter, the rose is still a rose even if you called it a skunk because of its fragrance. I would argue that the name is part of the of the whole thing, which is a rose. You can’t take away the name, even though the fragrance would still be the same, the item would be different because the name would be different. Giving something a name is important.
Names are thrown around without a lot of thought. The name given to us at birth is relatively arbitrary and by that I mean, it isn’t really based much on who we are as a person. We are given a name to honor someone else, to honor a moment in time or to honor a place, but our parents have no idea if that name will “fit” us as we grow up. I’ve met some amazingly lovely people named Miriam which means bitter. I’ve also met some super unhappy folks named Joy. I think you get my point, our names given to us at birth have everything to do with the giver of the name and really, nothing to do with the receiver. But there are names given to us that define us, and in those names we find freedom or we find death. Those are the names we give ourselves, or others give ourselves, as we journey through life.
Until I was 45 years old, I would have told you that my life had some ups-and-downs but nothing major, no trauma of any kind really. This was my truth and what I believed because I had named myself unworthy and I didn’t see it. In my mind, I wasn’t important enough to have had any trauma or anything noteworthy. The actual truth was, I had named myself unworthy, unremarkable and unimportant by my trauma and I just hadn’t learned how to see that truth. So, I operated in a realm of a secondary character that was always replaceable. My internal monologue was filled with language like “don’t rock the boat”, “don’t think differently”, “don’t wake him up”, “don’t tell anyone”. My trauma, my story, was screaming to be named but I didn’t have the skills to do that so I numbed myself with alcohol.
Typically, I celebrate November 10th as the day I gave my life most fully to Jesus and He released me from addiction. I’m realizing today that so much more happened on that day 6 years ago and I have to name it. FREEDOM! REDEMPTION! RESTORATION! WORTH! VALUE! REMARKABLE! God took a story that was dark and full of pain and He released me, freed me and renamed me. I didn’t realize it at the time but God set me on a path that carried more pain than I could imagine but it was good pain, necessary pain, healing pain. I have spent the past 6 years looking at my trauma and giving it to God to help me name and bless and release.
We can’t process something we can’t name.
We can’t name something we won’t face.
We won’t face something that holds shame.
So what do we do? How do we name our trauma and then name our freedom? Trust. Trust that God is with you always, in the darkness and the light, and that He is holding you tight. Trust that God does know the names of your trauma and the He will gently lead you to the naming. Trust that on the other side of the pain of processing is freedom. Be open to the journey of healing and I promise you, God will not disappoint you. God isn’t interested in bringing a quick fix, He’s interested in true healing and a deep relationship. I begged God for YEARS to release me from addiction and abuse and He wouldn’t do it because He wanted so much more for me. See the deal is, if He had just fixed the situation I wouldn’t be writing this now because I wouldn’t have entered into the journey of healing. I wouldn’t be any better off now then I was when I was at my darkest. God wanted more for me and He wants more for you.
Tomorrow, November 10th, I celebrate a new name and it’s a name that God has given me through the journey of the last several years: remarkable. I am operating in freedom and it is remarkable. God is in love with me and it is remarkable. I still have things to process and name and that’s just the truth for all of us. But what I don’t have is fear of facing those things. God has shown Himself faithful and as new triggers arise and new issues need to be processed, He will continue to bring names and freedom.
I don’t know where you are in life, but I hope you are considering trusting God. It’s not an easy process, it hurts to face your trauma, and yet, it is absolutely worth it. If you aren’t sure where to start or know you just want a prayer partner, will you please simply reply with “pray” and I will pray for you.