What is your namesake? Have you ever really thought about your name or looked up what it means? I am named after my grandfathers. My maternal grandfather's middle name was Whitfield and my paternal grandfather's name was Robert. My parents took those masculine names and gave them a feminine twist with Whitney Robin (although Whitney is considered a unisex name). I have always liked my name, for the most part. I was the first grandchild on both sides of the family and my grandfathers were special people. Plus, Whitney was pretty unique at the time I was born and did not become popular until the 1980's with Whitney Houston's arrival on the pop culture scene. So, I was the only Whitney in my grade. My name has served me well over the years. While my name means "white island" (which I never really understood) it did get me nicknamed "Whitey" in high school (yes, I know I am pale, that is not a newsflash folks!). So, back to my point...what is your namesake? Are you named for a person or place? Have you ever really thought about what is in a name and how it defines who you are and what you do in this life?
As a mom, I recall the great responsibility of finding just the right name for our son. I remember telling my husband that we were going to have to see our child to make sure that the name we selected matched his face before we labeled him forever. But, sometimes we get it wrong don't we? I have had plenty of friends over the years who were not as pleased with their names as their parents were. Do you ever wish you could just start over and receive a new name that could give new meaning to who you are in this life? That very thing happened to Abram and Sarai and many others in the Bible and we can learn much from these examples.
I'm pretty fascinated with names. But, I have not been nearly as fascinated until now. I had the privilege to be part of the audience and play the role of "attentive listener" for the video portion of the new "Namesake" Bible study by Jessica LaGrone from Abingdon Press. Jessica has studied names of those in the Bible for more than a decade and has written a women's Bible Study that will be released in February 2013. I am so excited to journey with Jessica into each of these individual's stories. Their own personal spiritual formation was shaped by what they were called, what they called themselves and what God called them. Their lives were transformed by a name.
Do you like your namesake? What do others call you and what do you call yourself? Most importantly, are you ready to hear what God may be longing to call you? I think He may have some pretty amazing names just for you! And if you want some help diving in deeper, you may just want to make sure you get your hands on Jessica's study when it releases in February. She is a great teacher who will help walk you down this road of transformation.
Every time I start to get overwhelmed, I am reminded to rest. And yet, my initial response is that I have too much to do to rest. You know the drill. The kids, the job, the house, the family, the friends, the church, the place you volunteer down the road, or even the shelter downtown - they ALL need you!
Guess what? They do need you! Without you, there will be no one to fold the laundry, help with homework, kiss the boo-boos, build friendships, give to the church, or volunteer in the community. But, here is the big news flash! You don't have to do it all at once and you aren't expected to do it all when you are exhausted.
We need rest. God designed us to rest. He even rested. He tells us that he will give us rest! So, why do we think that we are special and we do not need to rest? If you are guilty of forgetting to rest and take care of yourself, you are not alone. This has been a skill set I have been working on for quite some time. What is interesting is that many of us simply don't know where to start. Most of us have not been modeled rest or taught well how to rest by our society.
So, I'm sharing some small changes I've made to incorporate rest in my life and hope that by sharing my list it may help you to expand your list. Read it through, get some ideas and get some rest!
You may think that it is impossible to get away with God and find rest in today's society with all that is resting on your shoulders. But, it really is possible. And, in the long run, you may just find you are more productive. Or, you may find that the less important things in life just fall right off your list. What gives you rest?
I'm signing off to go stretch and then sleep while the dishes await! Happy rest!
Whitney R. Simpson
• author • yoga & meditation teacher • spiritual director • creating soul care resources for exploring the gift of God's peace with breath, body & spirit •
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Whitney R. Simpson,
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