Most everyone has a hidden name.
I was having a conversation with my Mom a few months back. I was in a really dark place, struggling to find hope, not seeing clearly through the pain and sorrow that I was seeing around the world, the mundane and crazy of everyday life, the anger that was in my own heart. "Mom I just feel like God is looking down from heaven just wagging his finger at me and shaking his head... I can hear him say 'Oh Aimee come on, when will you ever learn...' with this big disappointed look on his face."
Failure. I feel like a failure. I'm failing as a wife, mother, daughter, friend, Christian. It seemed so simple when I was younger. You get graded in school you can be measured, compare yourself against your peers. I did this. I aligned myself with the smartest class mates and studied with them, I worked hard, played hard, and I felt accomplished. My self worth was measurable. When I got married and had a job I was paid and so there was some self worth in doing that, but when I started having children and stopped working I was no longer getting graded, or paid and so I started feeling uncomfortable and out of control. I needed that measuring stick to measure up to or else I didn't know who I was. You can only hold things together for so long when you have children and when I had my third child I started to fall apart. I wasn't doing anything right. I looked around at all the things I could measure myself up against and I just saw failure. My house wasn't organized right, the meals I was making weren't completely whole nourishing foods, my children weren't advanced in every subject in school and I was the teacher so I had no one to blame, and I was doubting the faith I had professed since my childhood. I wasn't enough. I was just a failure. I didn't just think this, I would say it out loud sometimes sobbing this to my husband after the kids had gone to bed. It became my hidden mantra.
My Mom spoke up after a few seconds "Aimee what does your name mean? It means beloved and that is what you are, you are the beloved of God and my prayer for you is that you would know this truth."
A few days later my sister-in-law urged me to go to a morning long prayer retreat for Moms at the Chattanooga House of Prayer. I had been wanting to get away for a weekend retreat for along time but nothing had worked out except this event so I went along hoping for some fresh perspective.
At one point in the prayer meeting a very pregnant mama stood up and shared what the Lord had been working in her own heart. She mentioned how early on in her pregnancy she had been in a low place, struggling with her faith. She went to church with her family on Easter Sunday not really wanting to engage in worship, but as she stood there she imagined what it would be like if God was standing before her. She said she thought he would be wagging his finger at her looking on saying how disappointed he had been in her, but instead she said that she saw the Spirit of Christ hovering around her. In that moment she noticed that God wasn't looking at her in all her failure and sin but at Christ and his Spirit encircling her. When she shared her testimony it was like a door was unlocked in my heart and I was able to receive this beautiful truth. I am covered in Christ, God doesn't see my failures he sees his Son! What freedom. I began to laugh at how silly I had been, for so many years I had believed these lies. I started crying tears of joy and I felt a weight release from me. I went to the bathroom to compose myself and taped onto the bathroom mirror was the word Beloved.
All of us have hidden names we listen to and we accept. Mine was failure. In every possible way I thought I was a failure because I couldn't measure up to the standards that I or other people had set for me. I was angry and bitter and I believed this lie. What about you? What name do you listen to? Ugly, Dirty, Sinner, Basket Case, A Mess, Fat, Loser, Failure...? What you are is the Beloved of Christ. You are covered, you are loved, and you are free.