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.
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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