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Growing up I never really liked my name. I didn’t think it sounded cool enough, and it seemed rather boring and plain to me.
Then you add in my last name (McEldowney…my maiden name) which no one could ever pronounce and well, it was a recipe for extreme dislike.
That is, until I realized my name was very significant and important to the destiny and purpose God had for me. God had a hand in choosing my name, whether my parents knew it or not.
A few weeks ago, I started a series called No More Excuses about God calling out our destiny just like He did for Gideon (Judges 6-8). Then last week, I shared about four lessons from Gideon’s life as we Boldly Go forward in what God has for us to do. So what do these previous post have to do with me not liking my name?
Wait, I promise, I will get there.
Last week, lesson #2 was Awaken to your Destiny! I shared the following:
2. Awaken to your Destiny
Gideon had to be awakened to his destiny and often the same is true of us. God expands and uses the abilities He has already given us.
In spite of what we see as our limitations and failures – God see’s our potential and gives us a name in line with our destiny.
When the angel shows up, he speaks Gideon’s destiny!
Mighty Warrior – Mighty Man of Valor
He calls out the answer to all of Gideon’s and the Israelites feelings and presenting problems. Gideon couldn’t see anything other than his own limitations and weaknesses.
Gideon was so focused on what he was NOT that he needed someone to remind him of who he already was and who he was to become. Gideon had to be awaken to the destiny that was already in him. His very name speaks of a Mighty Warrior, or as some versions of the Bible say, a Mighty Man of Valor. Gideon just needed the treasure buried deep inside of him to be uncovered.
The name Gideon literally means: Tree cutter. The spiritual connotation is: Victorious.
However, as we read Gideon’s story Judges 6-8 we know that Gideon saw himself as less than and definitely not victorious. Even his inherent name meaning– a tree cutter, a hewer, speaks of strength and might.
I, like Gideon didn’t see the importance nor the value in my given name.
I always heard my mother say she wanted to name me something entirely different. My father on the other hand was adamant that I be named Debbie. My mom after conceding that I was to be named Debbie, argued that it should at least be a proper full name and wanted to call me Deborah. Nope, I was just Debbie – no proper full name for me. Funny thing is, growing up everyone just assumed I was a Deborah, and that I shortened my name. Nope.
So why didn’t I like my name?
Well, the inherent meaning of my name is: Bee; Honey bee, and the spiritual meaning is: Leader; Leadership.
First, I never saw myself as a leader. I was more comfortable in the background than in the front. Mostly because I got into trouble, for being a loud mouth, or the oldest one, or you name it, it didn’t even matter if I did it, I was in trouble. So, there was no way I wanted to be a leader.
Then there is the whole honey bee thing. I mean, seriously, my name means honey bee. I never cared for bees, my dad is deathly allergic to them, and honestly no one chooses a bee to be their favorite animal… Do they? Being compared to a honey bee in my opinion was so not cool.
Now, don’t get all upset with me, I was only a kid after all, and I didn’t understand the importance nor the significance of a honey bee. Even when I went to the Women of Faith Conferences and Thelma Wells would talk about bees, and their significance, I would somehow tune her out. I didn’t want anything to do with the inherent meaning or the spiritual meaning of my name.
Finally, there was the whole Biblical counterpart – Deborah. The Judge – The Prophetess – she was a strong, determined, and skilled woman. Appointed by God at a time when women didn’t have much value or great position. Nope, didn’t want to be compared to her at all.
Why oh why couldn’t my mom have been able to name me something else?
Because God had a hand in naming me. Oh, my earthly father may have been adamant about my name, but the God of the universe, my Heavenly Father knew me before the foundations of the world were even laid. He saw my unformed body and created me in my mothers womb. I am pretty certain that he had a hand in naming me too.
People’s names are very significant in the Scriptures. God often changed people’s names to line up with their destiny. We read in Scripture where Abraham (Abram- Genesis 17:5), Sarah (Sarai – Genesis 17:15), Jacob (Israel – Genesis 32:28), Peter (Simon – John 1:42). Sometimes God may need to give us a new name just as He did in Scripture.
My name, and yours, has significant meaning to who we are and how God sees us.
Occasionally, when I minister at women’s conferences, I will bring along my copies of The Name Book by Dorothy Astoria, and have the ladies look up the meaning of their name.
Why would I do that?
So they can get a glimpse of the destiny God has for them, and they can understand the true treasure they are. Sometimes the treasure is hidden inside them, they are not even aware it exists. I sure didn’t understand the importance of my name and the destiny God had on my life.
That is until one day, when a young women and I were serving at a kids event. We were using The Name Book, to look up what the children’s names meant and the Scriptures that went with them. The kids were creating pictures with their names and it’s meaning. We then would pray and speak life over them in accordance with their names.
My name as printed in Dorothy’s Name Book:
Deborah, Deb, Debb, Debbi, Debbie, Debbora, Debborah,Debby, Debi, Debora, Deborrah, Debra:
Language/Culture of Origin: Hebrew
Inherent Meaning: Honey Bee
Spiritual Connotation: New Era of Leadership
Scripture: Isaiah 65:17 NKJV For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
This young girl lady came to me and said she felt like God wanted her to tell me what my name meant. I laughed and said I already knew, but she insisted I read what she wrote. As I read what she wrote, I was expecting to read the same ole thing. Instead, she had written that God had called me to be a leader of new things and I needed to see myself the way God sees me.
Wow I was blown away. Those simple words rocked me to the core. I had been running from leadership my whole life. Those simply, profound, yet powerful words got me to see myself differently. Just like the angel did with Gideon. Gideon was a Mighty Man – A Warrior – A Victorious one. However, his current life circumstances and days leading up to the angel appearing were causing Gideon to feel defeated, less than, weak, and a victim at the mercy of his enemies.
The day the Angel called out to Gideon, he was awakened to his destiny. He still felt fearful and had his moments, but the truth of who God saw and needed him to be had been spoken. The same was true for me that day. God just used a young woman to open my eyes and cause me to stop running from my destiny.
So what’s in a name? Everything!
Do you know what your name means?
Can you see how, your name plays a part in the role God has for you?
 The Name Book – Dorothy Astoria
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