#hashtag

“I’ve had a hard time wearing my name tag to church.  Our church recently had formal, real-deal, magnet-backed name tags made for every member.  It was done in an effort to increase comfort as our church family grows, and we need to know more names.  It’s just nice not to have to say, “Hey…..you,” so much.  I haven’t worn mine but once.  Name tags make me feel funny.  I’m so proud of my given name.  No problem with Cari Lyn Trotter….nothing at all wrong with that name.  The problem is that the life behind it seems to mess it up on the regular.  I have all sorts of labels and roles posted on my forehead.  If you could see me from the inside out, I might look more like a sticky not mummy rather than a 5’3” blond with blue eyes.  I’m afraid of the name tag, because the lies of the Enemy tell me others will read more than my name; they will read every sharp thorn I have ever grown, even those I have trimmed back and cleared up after moving forward healed and whole.  I nervously anticipate they will rise above who I am becoming.  As I put my name tag on, there is always this looming fear that a new introduction will read a label, make a fast judgment, define and dismiss me, read my label, and not my name.

With the whole world dropping Twitter bombs from the sky, hash tagging seems to be the newest pastime.  They usually involve the emotion from the most recent circumstance or experience.  It is a quick #getoutofgrammarjailfree card run on sentence of how the tagger feels about the moment.  It’s a way to label moments and, at times, people.  When I think about labels, it is such a great way to understand how, we as women; we have actually been doing hash tagging in our heads for years.  Now we just have an outlet for it.  For me, when I think about wearing the “name tag” that reads more like the longest hash tag ever, it’s a little disturbing how many labels I can put on myself.

#momthatgetsmaxedoutmorethanshelikestoadmit

#wifethatisntalwaysavailableforherhusband

#emotionalrollercoaster

#sadaboutbrokenrelationshipsIdlovemendedbutinsistonstayingbroken

#acceptanceaddictworkingontrustissues

#compulsiveworrier

#doubtingThomas

#insistentprocrastinator

#highlyinsecureatanygivenmoment

The press of negative labels can threaten to belittle the power of your name and your position as a daughter of God.  Life labels can threaten to “kill, steal and destroy” (John 10:10) the beauty of Christ.  Fixating so much on what I can’t be, what I’m not, or what my life is not instead of believing and agreeing with all that God says I am in Him is dangerous terrain.  If I give those labels too many inches, they will take more than a mile of heart territory.  In an effort to become all glorious within, we have to first pronounce our name and give it the proper authority and place in our lives.  We are daughters of God.  Everything should flow from that place, from that name, from that position.

God cares about your name.  He cares that you understand the importance of your position as His daughter.  The genealogies of the Bible can be a chronological beat down to read through.  At times, you can feel you need a PhD in Hebrew languages to have any hope of pronouncing them properly.  You end up just opting for a first initial naming, especially if you are called on to read a set of genealogy scriptures aloud in Bible study.  At other times, you could be tempted to skip over that name mess recognize.  What about Ruth?  Ruth had to overcome the negative connotation labeling her whole life.  Hash tag it out:  #looserfromNotownMoab.  She was from a bad town that did so many things wrong the entire citizenry was labeled “bad news.”  “No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of their descendants, even to tenth generation, shall ever enter the assembly of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 23:3)

Her only hope was to marry out of the mess of her people.  She did that.  “And they took for themselves Moabite women as wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth.  And they lived there about ten years, and both Mahlon and Chilion died.” (Ruth 1:4-5)  Then he died.  She was married ten years and then he died.  She was alone and labeled again.  She was a widow: #tooyoungtobeawidow.

In the wake of so much grief, one would completely understand going back to what seemed comfortable, even if it was messed up.  Her mother-in-law, Naomi, gave her the blessing to leave and go back to Moab and their gods almost out of pity.  She wanted Ruth to be comfortable and maybe find rest.  But Ruth refused to go back.  “But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you to turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge.  Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God’” (Ruth 1:16).  Ruth stayed to serve.  Now she was a widow living with her mother-in-law:  #helpingoutasadmotherinlaw, #ihavenolife.

Ruth longed to be loved again.  She still believed and lived beyond every label circumstance threw her way.  She served, loved, and gave.  And she found her kinsman redeemer.  She found Boaz.  “Moreover, I have acquired Ruth the Moabites, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased may not be cut off from his brothers of from the court of his birth place; you are witnesses today” (Ruth 4:10). : #overcomingeverylabeltoleavealegacy.

Ruth left a legacy.   God cared about Ruth’s name.  He cared about it so much that He decided to rewrite Levitical law and list her name in His genealogy list of ancestors:  “and to Salmon was born Boaz by Rahab; and to Boaz was born Obed by Ruth….Therefore all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the time of Christ fourteen generations” (Matthew 1:17).

There were generations after generations of people before Jesus’ soft cries were heard in that Bethlehem stable, and yes Ruth’s name got a mention.  Ruth’s name was remembered.  Not Ruth the widow or Ruth the Moab.  Not her label.  What was remembered was her name, written out to signify her position in the family of God.

Life will happen, and labels will shoot out and splatter all over you like an out of control paint gun if you are not clothed in the protective nature of your position in Christ. When the war starts, you don’t want to be a nameless citizen caught in the crossfire of a life of unredeemed labels.  You want to be the intentionally protected, rightly labeled, and perfectly positioned daughter of the Most High King.”

-Excerpt from the book, A Glorious Becoming by Cari Trotter

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