At some point in our lives we have had the pleasure of wearing one of those sticky name badges that announced to the world, who we are. I have attended many conferences, business meetings, and church functions and have collected several of those badges along the way.
Often times I found myself trying to be creative with my name including changing out the letter O for a heart, adding stars and designs around my name, or coming up with a different name all together. I didn’t just want to be seen as Deborah or Debbie, but I wanted to stand out and have some meaning behind my name. I mean after all, this was how I was introducing myself and we all know that first impressions are lasting.
I wrestled with this thing a lot because I did not understand the importance of my name. Don’t laugh, but I always thought Debbie was what most of my friends called, “a white sounding name,” so I failed to embrace it. As a child, Deborah was way too formal of a name for my friends to call me, and thanks to my awesome daddy, he nicked name, “Debbie Dee.” This was before the overtaking of the hip hop era.
I tried to make Debbie Dee the coolest name ever and would spend hours writing it in graffiti, cursive, and big block letters so it would stand out as unique. Sure enough, that was the name I went by and my family, friends, and even my siblings’ friends knew me by that name.
By the time I reached high school, just Debbie sounded cool to me and I rocked that name proudly. Debbie was the one that got the party started, the one that was cool, the one that got the boys, and the one that turned up way too much in college.
No lie, by the time I left college in 1996, I was so tired of hearing my name associated with the wrong things that I was ashamed. Debbie was so much a part of my wicked past, that I wanted that name to die.
It wasn’t until I sat in a service and heard a sermon on God changing the name of men, including Abram (high father) to Abraham (father of a multitude), Sarai (my princess) to Sarah (mother of nations), and Jacob (supplanter) to Israel (having power with God), as well as a few other individuals, that I realized the importance in a name.
In Genesis 32:28 God reveals why He changed Jacob’s name, “And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” (NKJV) See my problem wasn’t so much that I needed a name change as much as it was me accepting the name that I was given and aligning my actions to that name. I had to be proud to be who God called me to be. The point I was missing was, there is importance in your name.
My mother named me Deborah and for years I knew that meant simply, “Bee.” How in the world was I supposed to embrace the meaning of bee when that is the very thing that I run from every spring when the flowers boom? In fact, bees didn’t become a breakout hit until Lil’ Kim and Beyonce started rocking them with her self-proclaimed bee hives.
I was chosen. My name was selected because of who God created me to be. I studied and learned that Deborah was a Biblical name and she was a Judge, a strategic army General, Prophetess, and a Queen! A Queen Bee! I didn’t need hearts, stars, or fancy lettering to bring attention to my name but I had to realize that people would already be drawn to my name simply because that was what was chosen for me.
I let Debbie go and left it back in my past. In fact, it is a bit endearing to hear that name being called out because I know anyone that uses it is familiar with my past. They see me now, and they celebrate how far God has bought me from.
If you are like I was, and found it hard to embrace your name, just remember that God knew what you were to be called long before you were born. Be encouraged to know that God knows your name just like He knew Jacob’s in Isaiah 43:1, “But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; and thou art mine.” (KJV) He knows your name and you are His!”
Now whenever I go to a conference or anywhere that requires me to introduce myself with one of those sticky square name badges with Hello My Name Is, I proudly write the letters D-E-B-O-R-A-H.
Deborah Woolard is a single mother of three from Raleigh, NC and she currently resides in Charlotte, NC. She is an ordained & licensed minister and she serves as the Youth Director at R5 Church. Her love for writing, especially poetry is one of the many ways God allows her to use her gifts for His glory. Her poetry can be viewed at https://m.facebook.com/gracefullydsignedbydeborah/.