Hello, My Name Is…
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?
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18 comments found
Calling a person by their given name is especially important to me, too, Bobi Ann. Something handed down to me by my Papaw. In East Texas I’m known as a Bostick – a descendant of the Carl Bostick family. When I go home to Tyler, total strangers walk up to me and state, “You must be a Bostick. You look just like a Bostick. I went to school with the Bostick’s. Whose are you? Donald’s? Edith’s, Dolores’s? Roger’s?” When I respond, “Edith’s,” I am provided an anecdote of events which occurred when my mama or aunt or uncles were in school. I might hear a story of a good deed my Papaw committed as he went through his day plumbing. This stranger may relate his or her experience during a troubled time when my Mamaw (a fierce prayer warrior) held them up with the strength provided to her through her relationship with Jesus. Ultimately, almost every single story ends in a statement proclaiming the godly reputation and legacy held within the Bostick name. I intend, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and through Jesus Christ and by the mercy and grace of God, to continue that legacy.
It is really a privilege to carry a name with honor. Not everyone has such a luxury but to have a heritage of godly ancestors is a blessing, indeed!
Good stuff, Bobi Ann. I noticed you called me by name this morning. 🙂
I’ve probably ruined myself with this post if I address someone by “hey, girl!” in the future…they’ll definitely think I don’t know their name! Ha!
Bobi Ann, I feel the same way not only about calling people by the correct name, but also spelling their name correctly. You see, my given name is Tere; not Terri or Terry or Teri, etc. You can imagine the problems I’ve had!! :-! I’m very proud of the spelling and that my parents were so “hip” in the 50s to spell it that way…I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I taught school for 29 years and I always made a special point of learning my students’ names and the spelling ASAP.
Thank you for pointing out so eloquently the real importance of who knows our name and loves us the best!!
Tere, I so feel your pain…Who spells Bobby “Bobi”? Only my parents. Made it easy to get my name as a domain on my website though! I have a good friend named Kem…with an “e” We should probably start a support group.
Don’t we all like to hear the sound of our name? With a name like mine, as a child, I always felt belittled when someone called me by the wrong name. But, when they got it right, I felt like a million bucks. (Don’t get me started about spelling. Yeah, I’ll join your support group!) 😉
At a recent visit to a place that I met many new people, I made an effort to learn each person’s name. They needed to feel important and that was one simple thing I could do to make them feel that way. After all, He calls us by name, the least I can do is follow His lead.
At the same time, I am over everyone else knowing my name, God knows it, John makes it sound oh so sweet and “Momma” is quite a blessed name. I’ll take those over the sound of others saying my name any day.
I love that! The people that are important know our name & know it well! Good word.
When I was little my southern family called me DeeDee. I hated it. They liked to shorten and double names. Richard was RickRick. Susan was SuSu etc.
My given name is Deanna. Because it was uncommon it was often confused for Diana or rhymed with banana. Names are identity and I did not like mine.
When I was in the 10th grade our only high school got a new football coach who also taught geometry. He was sort of cute and many of us girls had a minor crush. On the first day of class Coach called roll and for some reason he shortened my name to Dee. Well that was it. A new identity was formed. My friends thought it was funny. I liked it and used Dee at my waitress job and when I went to college. My family still calls me Deanna. My husband met me as Dee but calls me Deanna.
I am Ok with who I am now. Dee is my public name, Deanna is my family name, and daughter if the risen King is my identity in Christ!
I guess we all have several names, huh? Usually because those we are closest to call us something special and unique!
I’m currently in college doing the right thing to do for planning my very future. I would like to share some of my experiences. It was when I was walking the alley when this guy called my name. “Laurence!”, he shouted. At first, I gave him some of my weird looks. I didn’t know him actually when he called me by name. Curiosity came along. He insisted to talk for a while and he introduced himself. Oh, God! He’s my elementary classmate! I should’ve known him and remembered him like how he still knew me. I felt shy at first not knowing the person in front of me who was once one of my closest friends in my elem days. But this gave me more indication and realization. I thought to myself, I SHOULD BE THANKFUL THAT EVEN THOUGH I WAS ATTACHED TO SOME PEOPLE A LONG TIME AGO, THEY STILL KNEW AND REMEMBERED ME. I mean, I am one lucky person because there are still people who gets to recognize me. Whether we’re not seeing each other for the last several years. I also just thought that THESE PEOPLE LOVE ME, as they become more eager to bring back the friendship that once cooled off. I was just very happy that I still got the part of them and they still have the part of me.
It is fun to meet people that remember you and your name when you certainly didn’t expect it!
I have a VERY common name, especially for those in their late 20s to early 30s. So growing up I was one of usually 3 or 4 other “Heather”s in my class. I would often ignore it when I would hear it, assuming someone else was the one wanted. But I do love when somebody I’ve just met remembers my name as it does make me feel like they care. It opens up more doors for conversation as if you “know” each other.
Bobi Ann, YOU remembered my name and called me by it only after I had met you 1 or 2 times. I was so impressed by that and really began to feel at “home” on Thursday mornings because of that.
I love your name. I used to pretend my name was Heather!
Names are so important to God that he even changed some in the bible. And so that impression was made on me when time to name my own children. All of them bearing bible blessed meaning names. I always make it a point to greet check out store workers by their name tag names. They usually smile and look surprised that I knew their name, especially if I’m out of town.
I like to always call my server at a restaurant by their name. I want them to know they are more than just someone who takes my order but a person. I think I’ll start making a point with the cashier at the store too. Good idea. Thanks for the comment.
I never get offended if someone misses my name because I have been called Stacy or Theresa all my life. My elderly neighbor use to call me Suzy and I gave up correcting him. Working as an editor for a newspaper I made a few folks upset when I got the wrong name or misspelled it. One lady chewed me out over it, telling me her elderly mother was sick and how could I do get it wrong??
I was nice, apologetic…and hung up the phone and cried!!!
After all, it is just a name.
I really don’t get too offended anymore either but I am grateful that I was taught how important a name is and how important it is to live up to who I am.