Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Resisting Your True Name

A friend of mine recently took me through a values-clarification process that had me dig way down to the foundation of who I really am and what I value most in the world. It was not an analytical exercise, but rather purposefully had me lean into my own intuition and God's Spirit to guide me in answering the questions presented to me.

At the very end, I was left with three very core ideas that drive my life: Freedom, Rest and Risk, and my friend (whom you can learn more about here, by the way) asked me if there was an image or word or phrase that encapsulated those three core aspects of who I am. Funny thing is, an image immediately came to mind. It was the one on the right. But I couldn't accept it. It seems too grandiose to me. Too big.

I hesitated a bit, then finally mumbled out the word "warrior," but then quickly added that it wasn't quite right, and I would have to think about it some more. But then (it's so good to have friends who really know you), another friend of mine who was present said, "When Gary asked you that question, what came to me was the name Aragorn."

And I thought, "Holy crap. That's it." Not just any warrior. Aragorn.

My True Name is Aragorn.

It's a difficult thing to accept your True Name, even if that name comes to you directly from God. That's because your True Name is always bigger than you think you are, or can be. It's always a scary business, this living out your unique God-given identity. You can't live small and be your true self. You can't hide in the shadows. You can't pretend. It's a vulnerable, naked thing. As Eldredge writes in Waking the Dead:

The deeper reason we fear our own glory is that once we let others see it, they will have seen the truest us, and that is nakedness indeed. We can repent of our sin. We can work on our “issues.” But there is nothing to be “done” about our glory. It’s so naked. It’s just there—the truest us. It is an awkward thing to shimmer when everyone else around you is not, to walk in your glory with an unveiled face when everyone else is veiling his...

Finally, our deepest fear of all . . . we will need to live from it. To admit we do have a new heart and a glory from God, to begin to let it be unveiled and embrace it as true—that means the next thing God will do is ask us to live from it. Come out of the boat. Take the throne. Be what he meant us to be. And that feels risky . . . really risky. But it is also exciting. It is coming fully alive. My friend Morgan declared, “It’s a risk worth taking.”

Vulnerable? You bet. But definitely a risk worth taking.

--Aragorn

12 comments:

deepwaterscoach said...

Funny, I was just dwelling today on the power of a name, of labeling what's truest in our hearts. We resist labels. Labels have been used so negatively in many arenas. They divide us. But when we truly hear our name spoken by others--spoken by the only Other who truly matters--I believe we feel an immense joy. Then, in a nanosecond, the enemy snatches away the joy and replaces it w/ the fear of which Eldredge speaks.

I look forward to reading what you have to write as you continue to fully express your true name, Aragorn!

firefly said...

I'm partway through the first chapter of Desire, by John Eldredge...I've been stuck there for weeks. Every sentence strikes at some deep-set fear. Like many other people, I suspect, I used to view the 'significance statement' with more than a little hesitancy, but the closer I get to the true meaning of desire and the genuinity (is that a word?) or living transparent. I don't think you can live transparent unless you are willing to accept yourself the way God sees you. I think that learning about the divine intention for desire is taking a journey into the deepest places of our own hearts and seeing what is truly there. I wonder if other people are as afraid of what they'll find there as I was?

Michael D. Warden said...

Firefly said, "I don't think you can live transparent unless you are willing to accept yourself the way God sees you."

Well said, Firefly. I couldn't agree more!

lady2beetle said...

I fear that I must has something that will make me sound stupid...

How do you go about discovering your true name?

lady2beetle said...

(If this comes through twice, I'm sorry. I'm computer incompetent sometimes).

I'm afraid I must ask a question that will make me sound stupid...

How does one go about discovering their true name?

Michael D. Warden said...

lady2beetle -- Now THAT is a powerful question! If more people had the courage to ask that question (and really seek the answer), the world would be a radically different place.

The Destiny Project course is an 8-week spiritual expedition to find the answer to that very question, and some other equally powerful questions too. I highly recommend it!

You can learn more here:

www.ascentcoachinggroup.com/destinyproject.htm

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about this post since I first read it; prayerfully contemplating how to hear my own True Name and what it means to live that out.

While on some level it feels as though, upon learning one's True Name, it's up to us to make ourselves become that person, I don't see that's really the case.

God has given you the True Name of Aragorn. Looking at all of the qualities that make Aragorn more than "Strider" - fierce loyalty, integrity, honor, deep capacity for loving selflessly and well, determined and fearless in the face of the enemy, the romantic heart of a poet, the ability to bring healing to others, etc... - those qualities are placed within by God Himself and He will call them forth. HE will speak them into being. HE will draw them out, so they become an experiential reality in your life, and in the lives of those who experience life with you. The Lord will do it, as you walk with Him. More is up to Him than you. You accept what He says, receiving it as true, and trust Him to do the heavy lifting.

The same is true for the rest of us. As we learn our True Names, as we seek Him to be enabled, empowered to live that out, HE makes it happen. Then we can look back and say, "Wow!! How AWESOME!! Look what the LORD has done!!"

msb

Michael D. Warden said...

True that, msb. "Through God we shall do valiantly" Psalm 60:12.

thecreatingspace said...

One way to truly claim your name is to make it known. Way to go in publishing your name for all of WWW to see! A huge step!

Michael D. Warden said...

Thanks creatingspace!

Gunnar said...

Is it any coincidence that Aragorn also resisted his True Name?

Michael D. Warden said...

BAM! That hit, Gunnar. Deep. Thanks for that.