We’ve all done it. You see an acquaintance and confidently greet them by name. You see them a week or so later in a different situation and you proudly address them by name, but you notice they wince just a bit each time you say their name. And then a theoretical light bulb appears above your head and you realize you’ve called them the wrong name. Oh, the horror. And then what are you supposed to do? Do you go to them and apologize? Do you avoid them at all costs from here on out, running the other direction each time you see them? Or do you pretend it never happened? Of course you know their name and obviously, there must be something wrong with their hearing.
It happened Thursday morning at Bible Study. She’s a precious woman and always so sweet and positive when I talk to her. And then I realized that I had called her by the wrong name. In that moment, I felt myself stop breathing and I couldn’t hear anything that was being said to me. I was being asked a question and I couldn’t formulate an answer. When it dawned on me, I was appalled. I’m not even sure what happened next because all I could think of was my humiliation and her potentially hurt feelings.
I guess with a name like Bobi Ann, I’m particularly sensitive to using people’s correct name. I can’t tell you how many people have butchered my name. I’ve been “Robby”, “Bobby”, “Barbie”, “Barbara”, “Bobi Jo” and the list could go on. So, I aim to know people’s name and address them by it. I’ve long been taught and believed a person’s name is important. Because of that conviction, I want those I’m around to know they are of value to me, that I consider them significant. However, when I fail, I’m not only embarrassed but disappointed with myself that I might have caused them to feel anything less than meaningful.
Have you really thought about it, the importance of a name? Maybe you haven’t considered it much not until someone you respect and didn’t expect to know your name, does. It means something, it’s even humbling. They know your name.
Isaiah 43:1 says, “…I have called you by name, you are mine.”
When you think of God, I mean BIG God, not the little God that we put in the corner and call on when its convenient. I’m talking BIG God that holds the universe in His hand and breathed life into each of us. Have you considered that He has called you by name? He looks upon you with affection and calls you by name.
He didn’t use the wrong name. He called you by your name. I find that significant because it seems that I sometimes call myself the wrong name. I label myself with names like Regret, Defeat, Discouraged, and Overwhelmed. And then the whisper of my sweet Jesus reminds me that I’ve called myself the wrong name. Oh, the horror. What I do now? Run, apologize, pretend it didn’t happen. How about just call myself by the name I’ve been given.
Hello, my name is Bobi Ann, child of the One True King. Chosen. Enough.
Question: Do you have a story of someone you respect call you by name when you had no idea they even knew who you were? How about a story of calling someone the wrong name? How’d you feel?
Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win an AUTHOGRAPHED copy of Mandisa’s new CD “Overcomer.” Contest ends October 9, 2014.