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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

What's Your Name?
Date Posted: October 16, 2004

You don't have to go to a foreign country or even a big city to find unusual names. Everyone wants to be unique! Some change their names from the mundane one they were given at birth to the fabulous one they always wanted. Others live with the conservative name they were given and saddle their kids with outrageous names.

One of the hardest things to figure out is the spellings. In the small grade school my son attends there are at least five different spellings of the names Cheyenne and Brittany. (Apparently the parents like the popular name, but still want their child to be unique.)

Celebrities have led the way recently in creative and weird baby names. Some from this past year include Seven (a girl) and Banjo (a boy). I once worked with a woman whose husband was a district manager for a major soft drink company. He insisted they name their daughter Pepsi Niccola. (Her mother called her Nicki.)

I always thought my name was unimaginative and old-fashioned, but at least everyone could spell S-U-S-A-N. I wanted my kids to have strong, recognizable names, but I didn't want them to have to share their names with three other kids in class. They are named for family members, but because the names were interesting and made us think of something or someone positive.

I refused to use family names just to keep them in the family! My family has done that for many decades and some names, in my opinion, need to be put to rest with great-aunt Gertrude! (Just for the record, I don't really have a great-aunt Gertrude, but I know better than to the names of my own aunts!)

Many old-fashioned names are very popular again, including biblical ones. I love Noah, David, Adam, Timothy, Tabitha, Sarah, Hannah and others, but I draw the line at a daughter named Oholibamah or a son named Mahalalel.

We dwell of the meaning of names. My name means graceful lily -- which I've never felt I resemble. So does a name make the person? Some scientists who have studied such things (no doubt with large amounts of federal grant money from the taxpayers) say they do.

Children are sometimes reminded to live up to their name, or not to do anything to harm the family name. What about teaching our children to live above their names? Perhaps by giving them another name to aspire to, such as "child of God" or "Christ-follower".

The bible gives us many names for God and Christ. These don't change who He is, they only show us the different characteristics He has and help us to see that He can be the Creator of the universe, the Savior or our souls and the Friend of our hearts all at the same time.

What can we be for Him? Christians, as they were first called in the church at Antioch; encouragers as Barnabas was; salt and light to the world. So many names for us to try to be worthy of . . . .

During your study time this week, flip through several different books in your bible and see how many names describe a faithful Christ-follower. Then focus on one or two and try to live up to them all week.

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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