When We Don’t Like The Name God Gives Us

Last May I went to Israel on a trip led by Bianca and Matt Olthoff and Mariners Church. I was so excited to walk where Jesus walked, visit the Holy sites, and to see the Bible come to life. I really hoped it would change the way I read the Bible {something that has always felt a little cumbersome for me and I’m a smart girl who loves to read — ugh — what is wrong with me?} and it did do that. And so much more.

One of the highlights of the trip for me was when we went to Gideon’s Spring. Do you know about Gideon’s Spring? I didn’t because like I said…I wasn’t the girl who was camped out in the book of Judges. But Gideon’s Spring is where God appeared to Gideon and called him a “Mighty Warrior.”

When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:12

Instead of just recapping the story of how Gideon was called to free the people of Israel, Matt challenged us to spend some time asking God what name He was giving us for this season. So off I went to pick a table with my Bible and a journal and to hear from God.

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I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t hear much of anything. But also hopeful that God might give me a name to usher in a new season.

{You know like…Beautiful Bride, Mother of Many, or something anything new and exciting? Heck, I’d take Mighty Warrior.}

But do you know what name I heard instead?

Faithful Servant.

{Bleh.}

And do you know how I know it was from God?

Well, I know it was from God, because that would be THE LAST NAME I would give myself.

{I kind of hated it. No, I really hated it. Like I cried I hated it so much.}

“Faithful Servant” meant I would have to keep laying down myself and my desires for God and for others. And y’all, sometimes that stinks. I know it is good and right but it is hard and seemingly never-ending.

Even so, I came home and put it on A Giving Key to remind myself that is my name and my calling. For the time being at least.

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Now I wear it around my neck and know that I am walking in obedience. And try to be thankful that I am loved and I have a purpose. Even if some days I own it begrudgingly.

What is God calling you to in this season?

Has He given you a name? 

Do you kind of hate it like I kind of hated mine? 

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club. She spends her days (and some nights) laboring to end childhood hunger at Feed the Children and to gather, equip and unleash women at IF:Gathering.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • AnnVoskamp_HolyExperience

    Yesterday’s post and this post?
    NAILING IT.
    Lindsey Nobles? The Kingdom needs you, your voice, your vision, your faithful servant heart and the way you are calling all of us to come to the table exactly how God’s made and named us.
    Yeah, right here — ministered to and ridiculously grateful.
    Love you something fierce…

    • Ann, I was just going to comment the same thing–nailing it with these two posts!

      • lindseyrnobles

        Thanks Amy.

    • lindseyrnobles

      Thanks Ann. Finding words again feels good. Love you.

  • Maranda Miller

    Thanks so much Lindsey for your honesty and willingness to share your heart. I am encouraged by your openness as your share how God works through your sin . Your posts have been really helping me in my walk as I find myself in the same place as you.

    • lindseyrnobles

      Thanks Miranda. 🙂

  • estherhavens

    soooo love this! love you!

    • lindseyrnobles

      Love you Esther Havens.

  • Deborah (Debbie)

    I keep thinking though, Lindsey, that the wonderous thing about your name “Servant” is that you are servant to THE KING and only Him…it may be worked out in your ministry to others, but ultimately only in the ways He assigns…you are HIS faithful servant…and I’m thinking that’s a grand thing 🙂 God Bless you BIG!

    • lindseyrnobles

      You’re so right. 🙂

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  • Your post yesterday and this post today? Speaking right to my heart in this season of life. I love how God puts his “faithful servants” in my newsfeed to help me think through these things. Thank you for your words. They are like a balm for me. I am not digging God’s name for me right now either and sometimes that is a hard pill to swallow. It’s nice to not feel like I’m the only one is trying to own it less begrudgingly!

    • lindseyrnobles

      Megan, We are not alone. And I suppose He’s working in us….as much as He’s working through us.

  • manda

    I’ve only just found you… and I’ve only just learned that God ‘names us’… this has been big news to me. So many thank yous for this word…

  • Bette Bronson

    I can relate….AND I bought a key with “my name” on it at IF last year…it was scary for me. However, there is power in naming the name and wearing it around your neck and telling people what it means. power.

    • lindseyrnobles

      I agree.

  • Lindsey, I love this! Remember, when God called Gideon a Mighty Warrior, he was hiding in a cave, threshing wheat in a winepress. Nothing about Gideon SEEMED to be like a mighty warrior. He argued with God, but God never addressed those arguments. He simply continued pointing Gideon to the picture of how God saw him. That’s what God’s doing for you now. For me. For all of us, right?

    Beautiful, beautiful post.

    I will be praying for you, like Gideon, to step into your identity with courage and boldness!

    • lindseyrnobles

      So good Cheryl.

  • Lindsey, you’ve had such a great privilege in visiting the Holy Land. That’s what I blog about and it’s been so transforming for me. I love this post about your name (my name means “wagon maker”). Hey, take courage . . . for God promises to give you a new name.

    • lindseyrnobles

      Thanks Wayne. It was amazing.

      • Hannah Kallio

        Lindsey, I just got back from 3 life-altering months as a missionary in Israel. We left only because we were forced to by the Israeli government. I can very much relate to that feeling of being given a name and a path that I never would have chosen for myself.
        But in my case that hasn’t always been a bad thing. The most recent name change has felt really reaaly right. God led me to haggai 2:23 and said he is making me like a signet ring: bearing his identity and authority, and also serving as a symbol of creativity and intimacy (I’m wrapped around his finger).
        Clearly you ARE a faithful servant, but that’s not your only name. You are so much more.

  • Jennifer Sheedy

    I am about to get a tattoo saying “doulos” – translated ‘bondservant’ – which Paul and Peter used to begin many of their letters. Historically, it signified the lowest ranking in the scale of servitude; one
    who chooses to give himself up to the will of another; devoted to another to
    the disregard of one’s own interests; a servant or attendant of a king. For 3 years I have been counting the cost of following Jesus and I am embarrassed to say, my weak flesh hopes for a day when Jesus is so alive in me that the cost does not weigh so heavily.

  • Professori Marco

    Professori Marco God is making things happen in an old life with an old name that came to an end.