Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Identity

What is it about identity that's so important? For years, I've let people misspell & mispronounce my name. I thought nothing of it. Why insist that a name be heard, understood and said correctly? What's in a name?

I was under the false impression that a name is simply a categorization.
The name Bill distinguishes Bill from Bob. Other things can just as effectively distinguish one from the other. A name is not necessary in this respect.
Which begs the question, when is a name, a label, a categorization necessary?

We do not choose our names. We are born into our surnames and we are given our first names at birth. Nicknames and other identifiers come later on in life, either to shorten syllables or transfer a term of endearment to the individual. Is there significance to the fact that we are born into a name, given a name by the people we are born under, the family we are born into? And if so, are we bound to live under the shadow of those names, real or implied for the rest of our lives?

I have always disliked my name. Incidentally, it means courage & courage is not something I've felt like I've had much of in my life. It just didn't seem to fit. But lately I've been feeling differently- getting used to the idea that perhaps my name is fitting. Perhaps it can be equated with courage to share a thoughtful piece of writing, to engage in a good cause, to lead a significant movement, to embark on a worthwhile endeavor. Because of life circumstances, I've equated my name with instant degradation. Speaking it only seemed to reinforce my worthlessness.

However, it's come to my attention that it's my perception & mine alone that determines the true worth of my name. Though others may weigh in, it's my responsibility to own it & wear my name with the worth I place upon it. I need not depend on or wait for another to defend my worth or even recognize it. That's my job. I have every right to defend my employment & success of such a task. Of course, as a Christian, I firstly acknowledge that my inherent worth comes from God. While I have the responsibility to accept or deny it, it's still truth beyond my will. The point is, no human can tell me with any real authority that I am worth more or less and though my perception may tell me I am worth less, I am truly worth so much more. Will I own it? Will I strive to see it manifested in the things I do?